NHL Recap: Jan 31, 2013 – Sharks Stay Perfect, Leafs Win, Vanek Rolls On


There were 9 games on the NHL schedule on a busy Thursday night, including wins by the Toronto Maple Leafs as well as the San Jose Sharks, who remain the lone unbeaten team in the NHL.  Here is a quick tour around the league.

January 31, 2013; Boston, MA USA; Buffalo Sabres right wing Jason Pominville (29) and left wing Thomas Vanek (26) celebrate a goal during the third period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

  1. The Buffalo Sabres scored 4 unanswered goals in the third period to shock the Boston Bruins 7-4.  Thomas Vanek continued his torrid start to the season with three goals and 2 assists, and now sits on top of league scoring.  Cody Hodgson and Jason Pominville each had a goal and two assists for the Sabres while Brad Marchand had a pair for the Bruins.  The first regulation loss for the Bruins means that the Senators are listed as the top team in the Eastern Conference.
  2. Matt Frattin had his second straight game winning goal midway through the third period to lift the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the dismal Washington Capitals.  Alex Ovechkin scored  in the loss, while Phil Kessel remained scoreless despite 6 shots on goal.  Kessel was robbed late in the third period by Michal Neuvirth‘s glove, and then he proceeded to miss the open net with Neuvirth on the bench in the last minute.
  3. The New Jersey Devils battled back 3 timesto even the score, but the New York Islanders used 2 goals and an assist from John Tavares to beat the Devils 5-4 in overtime.  Brad Boyes had the OT winner for the Isles.  Adam Henrique, making his season debut off injury, was among the Devils four different goal scorers.
  4. Tomas Vokoun made 28 saves to lead the Pittsburgh Penguins to a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers.  Evgeni Malkin and Simon Despres each counted a goal and an assist for the Pens, who shut down the Rangers’ top line of Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.
  5. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko scored his 5th of the season as the St. Louis Blues downed the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1.  The game included a feisty second period that featured 4 fights.  Brian Elliott made 24 saves for the win.
  6. The Florida Panthers scored 4 times in the last 9 minutes to defeat the Winnipeg Jets 7-4.  Leading 4-3, the Jets took successive tripping penalties and Florida scored on both man advantages to swing the momentum their way midway through the third period.  Tomas Fleischmann had three assists to set up the Panthers win.
  7. Tied 3-3 after 40 minutes, the Colorado Avalanche struck for 3 goals in the third period to douse the Calgary Flames 6-3.  John Mitchell and P.A. Parenteau each had 3 goals and an assist while Paul Stastny had 2 goals in the third period to pace the Avalanche attack.   Jiri Hudler was in on all three goals, scoring twice and setting up the other.
  8. Sergei Kostitsyn scored the winner in the 8th round of the shootout to give the Nashville Predators a 2-1 decision over the Los Angeles Kings.  Brandon Yip (58 seconds in) and Dustin Brown exchanged first period goals and that was all the offense until the shootout.  The teams combined for only 38 shots in 65 minutes as Jonathan Quick and Pekka Rinne had relatively light nights.
  9. The San Jose Sharks needed a shootout for the second straight game, but remained perfect on the season with a 3-2 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers.  The Sharks held a 2-0 lead midway through the second, but Sam Gagner and Taylor Hall scored to even it up and force the shootout.  Michal Handzus, who won the game for the Sharks on Wednesday night, scored on the first attempt and then Dan Boyle clinched it in the third round, as no Oiler could score on Antti Niemi in the breakaway competition.  Gagner’s goal extended his point streak to 7 games, as he has a point in each contest, as does Joe Pavelski for the Sharks. Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton were both held off the scoresheet for the first time this season.

There are 7 games on tap Friday night, including the Spezza-less Senators heading to Raleigh to face the Carolina Hurricanes. Check here tomorrow morning for the highlights and low-lights of Friday’s action.