There were 10 games other than Ottawa’s hugely disappointing 4-0 loss to the Leafs on a busy Saturday night. Four other goalies were perfect and posted blanks and there was a lot of news coming out of Pittsburgh. Here is a tour around the league:
- The Flyers playoff hopes were kept at least flickering as the beat the Bruins 3-1. The Flyers sit 14th in the East, but still only 4 points back of 8th. Not likely but still a glimmer of hope. Mike Knuble, Matt Read and Ruslan Fedotenko scored for Philly, while Nathan Horton replied for Boston.
- The Penguins extended their league-high winning streak to 15, and they did so without their top two scorers for a majority of the game. Sidney Crosby took a slapshot in the mouth and left the game before the 2 minute mark, and Chris Kunitz was kicked out for checking from behind early in the second. However, third period goals from Matt Cooke and James Neal combined with 35 saves from Tomas Vokoun gave the Penguins a 2-0 win over the Islanders. It was Jarome Iginla‘s debut for the Penguins, finishing with a +1 rating in just over 17 minutes after arriving in Pittsburgh just 12 hours before the game and not having any practice time with his new club.
- Carolina gained two points in the race for 8th and also moved within 4 of Winnipeg with a big 3-1 win over the Jets. Alexander Semin, Jussi Jokinen and Eric Staal bulged the twine for the Hurricanes, while only Olli Jokinen could beat Justin Peters, who made 34 stops to snap the Canes’ 7 game losing streak. The Canes now sit just 1 point back of the Islanders and Rangers for 8th.
- Two teams trying to climb back into the playoff picture squared off and when the dust settled each team earned points in Washington’s 4-3 shootout win over the Sabres. Washington scored twice in the third period to overcome a 3-1 deficit with goals from Mike Green and Troy Brouwer to force the extra time. Alex Ovechkin had scored earlier for the Caps and also had the shootout clincher. Ville Leino had 2 for Buffalo while Christian Ehrhoff had the other. Washigton climbed within 2 points of the playoffs while Buffalo’s single point moved them within 3 points of 8th.
- The reason those teams moved closer to 8th was because Carey Price made 34 saves to help the Canadiens shut out the Rangers 3-0. P.K. Subban assisted on all three Montreal goals that came off the sticks of Michael Ryder, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher. Montreal moved 3 points up on Boston in the Northeast, but now Boston has only 1 game in hand.
- Shawn Matthias had both Florida goals in regulation, including the game tying goal with just 27 seconds left, and then Dmitry Kulikov scored the winner in OT to give the lowly Panthers a 3-2 win. Steve Bernier had both goals for the Devils, who moved 4 points up on the Rangers and Islanders in 7th place in the West.
- Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves and Pekka Rinne was equal to the task through 60 minutes as the Avalanche and Predators played 60 scoreless minutes. The Avs took the win when Tyson Barrie beat Rinne 50 seconds into the extra frame. The missed point kept the Predators one point back of 8th place St. Louis.
- Dustin Brown, Jeff Carter and Justin Williams paced the Kings to a 3-1 lead just past the midway point of the game, but the Wild chipped back and got goals from Charlie Coyle and then Zach Parise in the third period to force overtime and the a shootout. All three Wild shooters beat Jonathan Quick to give Minnesota the win and in doing so retaking the 3rd seed in the West.
- Taylor Hall scored 3 times in the first 8 minutes with a Ladislav Smid goal mixed in to pace the Oilers to an early and relatively easy 4-0 win over the Canucks. Cory Schneider was pulled after allowing 2 goals on the first two shots in just over 2 minutes, and was replaced by Roberto Luongo, who wasn’t much better giving up two more quick ones. Devan Dubnyk made 23 saves for the shutout.
- Logan Couture had the lone shootout goal as the Sharks downed the Coyotes 3-2. Joe Pavelski and Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored in regulation for the Sharks while Boyd Gordon and Radim Vrbata replied for the Coyotes. San Jose’s 4th win in a row gives them some breathing space in the West, moving them 5 points up on the 9th-12th logjam.
That concludes our tour around the NHL for a busy and eventful Saturday night. Sunday brings about 5 games including Chicago visiting Detroit and Washington visiting Philadelphia. Check back tomorrow for a full recap.