Here are the top three stories from the NHL last night:
1. Malkin Magic – With the injury riddled Pittsburgh Penguins on a slippery slope, Evgeni Malkin netted 5 points (3G, 2A) including a natural hat trick in the third period as the Pens defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3. There were 7 third period goals in this one, as Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead less than a minute in. Tampa scored 3 straight to tie it up and then Malkin went to work, scoring the final three goals of the game (two of which were unassisted) to seal the deal. The win give the streaky Penguins back to back wins following a 6 game losing streak.
2. Southeast Shuffle – The Washington Capitals‘ 2-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes put them in first place in the Southeast Division and gives them the 3rd seed in the Conference. The Florida Panters, who have held the spot for much of the season, now sit tied for 7th and are only one point up on 9th place Toronto for a playoff spot. The Caps are 12-8-1 since Dale Hunter took over as coach on Nov 28th and are 7-2 in their last 9 games now that Hunter has his system instilled.
3. Montreal’s “Mad Max” – Max Pacioretty (who to my knowledge doesn’t speak French) almost single-handedly kept the Montreal Canadiens‘ very slim playoff hopes alive this past weekend. His goal on Saturday against Ottawa with 49 seconds left in the third period secured a point for the Habs, and his 2 goal, one assist effort on Sunday against the league leading New York Rangers allowed them to stay within 8 points of 8th place. Also on fire were Pacioretty’s linemates Erik Cole and David Desharnais, who also had 3 points each on Sunday. Peter Budaj stepped in at home for Carey Price and beat the Rangers 4-1 in only his 6th appearance of the season.
Come back tomorrow morning for a quick recap of the important goings-on of the previous night’s action, in case you missed it!