There were 10 games in the NHL last night, and if you were a fan of offense, it was the night to watch. Just when you began to thing that goals were at a premium, 7 games had 5 or more goals, and the other 3 ended in shutouts, including Ottawa’s 3-0 win over the Rangers. Buckle up, this tour is going to be a little longer than usual.
- Toronto scored 4 times in the last 5 and a half minutes to run away with a 6-3 win over Carolina. Toronto took an early 2-0 lead on goals from Tyler Bozak and Cody Franson before Carolina actually came back to take the lead. Eric Staal shorthanded, Alexander Semin on the power play and Jordan Staal at even strength gave the Canes the advantage 7 minutes into the third. However Dion Phaneuf and Joffrey Lupul scored just over 2 minutes apart and then Jay McClement and Nikolai Kulemin scored empty netters in the final minute to make the score a little more lopsided than it really was. Lupul’s game winner was a highlight reel end-to-ender that he tucked around Justin Peters.
- Josh Bailey had the shootout winner as the Islanders moved into an 8th place tie with the Rangers on the strength of their 4-3 win over the Flyers. The Flyers had taken a 2-0 lead on goals from Scott Hartnell and Mike Knuble in the first period, but then the Isles took over. John Tavares scored in the second to bring New York within one, then Colin McDonald scored twice in the third to put the Islanders ahead. Hartnell scored his second of the game with just 30 seconds left to force extra time and get the Flyers a point, but at this part of the season single points are not enough as they sit 6 point back of the 8th playoff spot with 6 teams to pass.
- The Penguins won their 14th straight game with a dominant 4-0 shutout over the Jets. Pascal Dupuis had a pair in the second period, after Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin had put the Pens up 2-0 in the first. Jarome Iginla had not arrived in time to play in this one, so he will suit up on Saturday night to make his debut. Tomas Vokoun made 20 stops for the shutout.
- Mike Santorelli had the shootout winner as Florida beat Buffalo 5-4. Shawn Matthias had a pair, with Tomas Fleischmann and Jonathan Huberdeau adding singles for the Panthers. Nathan Gerbe, Andrej Sekera, Drew Stafford and Marcus Foligno replied for the Sabres in the losing effort.
- Vladimir Tarasenko had both goals for the Blues, but the Kings scored two late goals to take the game 4-2. Dustin Brown and Trevor Lewis score the first two for the Kings, and then Mike Richards scored the winner with under 3 minutes left and Justin Williams iced it with the empty netter.
- It was nothing short of an amazing first period in Nashville. Phoenix took a 5-0 lead in the first eight and a half minutes, before Nashville responded with a couple then they exchanged goals again. When the dust settled, the Coyotes had a 6-3 lead after 20 minutes en route to a 7-4 win. Rostislav Klesla had 4 assists for the Coyotes while Radim Vrbata had 2 goals and an assist and Martin Hanzal had a goal and two assists to lead Phoenix. David Legwand and Gabriel Bourque had a goal and an assist each for the Predators.
- The Oilers came from behind a couple of times and then scored 3 unanswered in the third to beat the Blue Jackets 6-4. Cam Atkinson had 2 goals and an assist while Artem Anisimov had a goal and two helpers for the losing side. Sam Gagner led the way with a goal and two assists while Magnus Paajarvi had a goal and an assist and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a pair of assists in the win.
- The Cancuks scored 2 empty netters to turn a close 2-1 game into a 4-1 laugher against the Avalanche. Alexandre Burrows, Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Chris Higgins scored for the Canucks, while Matt Duchene scored the lone goal for Colorado. Vancouver made seemingly nightly flip-flop with the Wild, re-taking first place in the Northwest Division with their 6th straight win.
- Antti Niemi had his second straight shutout, a 27 save performance against the Red Wings. Joe Pavelski scored late in the first with what would turn out to be the game winner, and Brent Burns scored early in the third to provide some insurance. With the win, San Jose gets themselves into 7th place in the West, 4 points clear of 9th.
That concludes a tour around a crazy night in the NHL. Most teams can take a deep breath as there are only 4 games on the schedule. Check back tomorrow for a full recap.