There were 8 games besides Ottawa’s loss to the Bruins on Thursday night. Many of the games had playoff implications, while goalies stole the show from beginning to end on the night. Ten netminders held the opposition to 2 goals or less, and one even scored a goal. Here is a quick tour around the league:
- The good goaltending did not find its way to Buffalo, as neither Ryan Miller or James Reimer were particularly good in Buffalo’s 5-4 shootout win over the Maple Leafs. It was an eventful night for the Buffalo power play, as they went 4 for 5 with the man advantage, but also allowed Toronto to score two shorthanded goals. Nazem Kadri continued his torrid pace with another pair of goals, while Tyler Bozak and Mikhail Grabovski had the others. Buffalo got goals from Tyler Ennis, Marcus Foligno, Jason Pominville and Christian Ehrhoff. The shootout took 6 rounds, but eventually Steve Ott netted the winner. The game featured a big dust-up just over 2 minutes in that featured John Scott squaring off with Frazer McLaren and Colton Orr going after Patrick Kaleta at the same time. Orr ended up with 29 PIM, and he wasn’t even wearing a visor.
- P.K. Subban had a pair of goals and Michael Ryder, Brian Gionta and Brendan Gallagher added singles as the Canadiens stayed ahead of the Bruins with a 5-2 win over the Islanders. John Tavares and Lubomir Visnovsky scored for the Islanders, both set up by Matt Moulson.
- The Panthers did the rest of the Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls a favor by downing the Rangers 3-1. Brian Campbell, Scottie Upshall and Tomas Kopecky scored for Florida, while only Marian Gaborik could beat Jacob Markstrom in the Panthers net, despite the Rangers firing 45 shots at the rookie goalie. To make a bad situation even worse for New York, Rick Nash could be hearing from Brendan Shanahan after a big elbow to the back of the head of Kopecky that went undetected by officials, but not the cameras.
- Martin Brodeur scored a power play goal to open the scoring and also kicked aside 17 shots for the win in his return to the net as the Devils beat the Hurricanes 4-1. Brodeur’s goal came on a delayed penalty, as he poked the puck off Jordan Staal‘s stick and then Staal’s pass to an open point banked off the boards and into his own net as Dan Ellis had left for an extra attacker. It was the opening goal of the game, and the third of his career (2 in the regular season and one in the playoffs. The Devils also got goals from Adam Henrique, Peter Harrold and Andrei Loktionov in the win. Jeff Skinner was the only Cane to beat Brodeur.
- Alex Ovechkin had one of his best games of the season, with a goal and two assists to go along with a couple of big hits as the Capitals spoiled Winnipeg’s chance to open up some space in the Southeast Division. Braden Holtby made 20 save to earn the shutout in Washington’s 4-0 win. Troy Brouwer, Marcus Johansson and Nicklas Backstrom had the other Caps goals. The two teams will meet in Winnipeg again Friday for the rare double header in the same city.
- Mike Fisher scored twice as the Predators overcame two Calgary shorthanded goals in the first period to beat the Flames 5-3. Martin Erat, Brandon Yip and Nick Spaling also scored for Nashville. Lee Stempniak and Mark Giordano had the Flames up 2-1 after 20 minutes, each scoring on Nashville power plays. Jarome Iginla added a power play goal late in the game, but it had been decided by that point.
- It was a rough night for Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith as he was bowled over twice and eventually left the game as the Canucks eked out a 2-1 win in the desert. Chris Tanev‘s first period goal looked like it might stand up until Alexander Edler took a major for charging Smith late in the second. Antoine Vermette scored at the tail end of that penalty to even the score, but Jordan Schroeder got the winner on Jason LaBarbera near the midway point of the third. Cory Schneider turned aside 33 shots while Smith and LaBarabera combined for 30 saves.
- Kari Lehtonen made 40 saves for the shutout and the “old goats” did the damage for the Stars in their 2-0 victory over the Kings. Jaromir Jagr broke open a scoreless game 6:34 into the third period and Ray Whitney added the insurance marker just over 4 minutes later to bring Dallas within a point of 8th place in the West.
That concludes our tour around the league. As is customary, it is a pretty light Friday night with just 4 games, including the Washington-Winnipeg rematch and a rested Penguins visiting Long Island to face the Islanders who lost on Thursday night.