It was a busy Hockey Day in Canada, with originally 11 other games (besides Ottawa’s loss to Winnipeg) on the schedule, but the Boston/Tampa game was postponed due to the snowstorm that his the American Northeast. Here is a tour around the league, that featured 5 shutouts in 4 games.
- The Devils used 2 third period power play goals to break a 1-1 tie against the Penguins to win the game 3-1 and take over the lead in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference. Stefan Matteau (his first NHL goal), Adam Henrique and former Senator Bobby Butler did the damage after Brandon Sutter had given the Penguins a 1-0 first period lead. Martin Brodeur made 24 saves for the win.
- Danny Briere scored the winner 1:47 into overtime to lift the Flyers over the Hurricanes 4-3. Former Senator Joe Corvo had forced the extra frame and earned his team a point after a see-saw battle that saw each team have the lead at least once. Jiri Tlusty and Jeff Skinner also scored for Carolina, while the Flyers got goals from Brayden Schenn, Matt Read and Jakob Voracek before Briere’s OT heorics. Schenn also added 2 assists for a three point night.
- All the scoring was done on the power play in Detroit as the Wings outlasted the Oilers 2-1. Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Kronwall provided the offense for the Wings, while Justin Schultz was the only Oiler to beat Jimmy Howard. Henrik Zetterberg assisted on both Detroit goals.
- Mike Smith (33 saves) and Antti Niemi (21 stops) were both perfect through 65 minutes in earning shutouts for Phoenix and San Jose respectively. Eventually someone had to walk away with a win, and it was the Coyotes’ Mikkel Boedker and Radim Vrbata scoring in the shootout to secure the victory when neither Michal Handzus or James Sheppard could beat Smith.
- A crazy end to the Montreal – Toronto game saw 96 minutes in penalties issued in the third period in separate incidents involving accusations of running smaller players, biting and all around jack-assedness. On the scoreboard, Toronto got goals from 6 different players including Leo Komarov‘s first NHL goal, and 37 saves from James Reimer to win 6-0. James van Riemsdyk, Phil Kessel, Korbinan Holzer, Tyler Bozak and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Toronto.
- Thomas Vanek had another goal and an assist in Buffalo’s 3-2 win over the Islanders. Alexander Sulzer had the winner in the third period but Ryan Miller was the story, making 40 saves as the Sabres were victorious despite being outshot 42-15 by the Isles. John Tavares and Colin McDonald had the Islanders goal. Tavares had the opportunity to tie the game with less than 4 minutes left when he was awarded a penalty shot, but he missed.
- Braden Holtby made 27 saves for the shutout and Washington provided him with 5 goals of offense and they chased Jose Theodore from the Florida net. Troy Brouwer had the first two for the Capitals, while Joel Ward, Alex Ovechkin and Mathieu Perreault added singles.
- Brian Elliott allowed 5 goals on 23 shots in St. Louis’ 6-5 shootout loss to the Ducks. Viktor Fasth improved to 5-0 on the season but he won’t be putting this in his scrapbook as he also allowed 5 goals on 31 shots. But a win is a win and the Ducks will take it. Nine different goal scorers were featured, with Anaheim being led by Bobby Ryan‘s 2 goal, 2 assist effort and Teemu Selanne‘s 1 goal, 3 assist performance. St. Louis was paced by Alex Steen and Chris Stewart, who each counted a goal and 2 assists. Even the shootout went 6 rounds, with Nick Bonino scoring the winner on Elliott, who has quickly moved into Ken Hitchcock’s doghouse.
- Hate to say I told you so, but the new worst rule in hockey cost Paul Gaustad a penalty in overtime and the Nashville Predators a point in the standings when a bouncing puck on a draw was called a faceoff violation because it hit his glove on the bounce. Devin Setoguchi scored the winner on the ensuing power play to give the Minnesota Wild the win. Gaustad had scored the Nashville goal in the first period and Cal Clutterbuck had evened the score in the second.
- Vancouver and Calgary closed out Hockey Day In Canada with Jordan Schroeder scoring his first two career goals as part of the Canucks’ 5 unanswered goals in a 5-1 win. Lee Stempniak had given the Flames a 1-0 lead late in the first, but it was all Canucks after that. Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Higgins also scored for the Canucks, who got Cory Schneider the win in his second straight start as Vancouver keeps trying to figure out their goaltending situation. Not that it is a bad thing to have 2 all-star calibre netminders, but there is only 1 net.
That concludes a tour around a very entertaining day of hockey with storylines everywhere. There are 6 games on Sunday, including a rematch of Saturday’s New Jersey-Pittsburgh game and the league leading Blackhawks paying a visit to Nashville to try and remain the only team without a regulation loss.