It was a very busy night in the NHL with a dozen games on tap. Aside from Ottawa’s overtime loss to Carolina , there were some other great stories around the league. Here is a not-so-quick tour around the NHL:
- Thomas Vanek‘s second of the night tied the game with less than 2 seconds remaining to give the Buffalo Sabres a chance to win it in the shootout, which they did. Jason Pominville had the clincher after Vanek (naturally) and Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk had scored earlier on. Ryan White took another costly double minor to let the Sabres back in the game. Leading 4-2, White was sent off and Vanek scored on the first minor to get them within one, setting the stage for the last second rally.
- Tampa coach Guy Boucher took a costly bench minor for abuse of officials to give the Devils a full 2 minute 5-on-3 in the third period. Andy Greene and Patrik Elias scored 14 seconds apart on both ends of the power play to turn a close 2-1 game into a 4-1 romp and they held on for a 4-2 win. Elias added two assists and Ilya Kovalchuk had a shorthanded goal for the Devils
- Rookie callup J.T. Miller had his first career goals (2 of them) in just his second NHL game to lift the Rangers to a 4-1 win over the Islanders. Ryan McDonagh had a goal and an assist, Marc Staal had a pair of helpers and Henrik Lundqvist made 27 saves for the Rangers. John Tavares had the lone Islanders marker.
- Dmitry Kulikov had two assists to help the Florida Panthers win 3-2 in a shootout over the Philadelphia Flyers. Jonathan Huberdeau and Peter Mueller both scored in the extra time, while Jose Theodore stopped both Claude Giroux and Matt Read for the win.
- Sidney Crosby had a goal and an assist, as did Evgeni Malkin as the Penguins trounced the Capitals 5-2. It was the third 3 point game for Crosby in the last 4 outings. Alex Ovechkin and Mike Ribeiro each had a goal and an assist for the Capitals.
- Alex Tanguay scored the overtime winner to complete a see-saw battle that the Flames won 4-3 over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Roman Cervenka scored his first NHL goal to open the scoring. T.J. Brodie and Jiri Hudler each had a two assists for the Flames while Vinny Prospal and Mark Letestu each had a goal and an assist for the Blue Jackets.
- Phil Kessel got a 1,000 lb gorilla off his back, as he finally got a goal. It was the winner in Toronto’s 3-2 win over the Jets. Toronto came from behind twice on goals from Tyler Bozak and Matt Frattin to set up Kessel’s heroics as Randy Carlyle returned to the city he played in for 8 years to a large ovation from Jets and Leafs fans alike.
- Wade Redden played almost 19 minutes in his 1,000th game, but his night was spoiled by another player with Ottawa ties. Former 67’s goalie Petr Mrazek allowed just one goal on 27 shots to win his NHL debut in the Detroit net. Drew Miller (2 assists) and Cory Emmerton (1G, 1A) were the unlikely offensive leaders in the Wings 5-1 win.
- Nashville managed only 14 shots on Conn Smythe Trophy winner Jonathan Quick but put three of them past the Kings netminder, and Pekka Rinne was stellar making 32 saves for the 3-0 shutout. The Kings loss combined with points earned by the Flames and Blue Jackets creates a 4-way tie for the 12-15 spots along with the Avalanche in the Western Conference.
- Cory Schneider finally got back into the Vancouver net, and made it count allowing only one goal on 23 shots in beating the Wild 4-1. Mason Raymond had a goal and an assist for the Canucks, while Zenon Konopka had 32 penalty minutes for the Wild, including 2 fighting majors and two 10-minute misconducts.
- Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist and Patrick Sharp had 3 assists in Chicago’s 6-2 win over the Coyotes. Mike Smith allowed all 6 goals in the first 35 minutes on just 22 shots before he was pulled. Jonathan Toews, Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell each added a goal and an assist for the Hawks, who are still without a regulation loss this season.
After all that action, there is only one game on Friday night, when the Anaheim Ducks pay a visit to the Dallas Stars. Check back here tomorrow for the recap.