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NHL Recap: March 23, 2013 – Leafs Squeak Past Bruins, Sabres Down Habs, Blue Jackets Streak Ends


There were 8 games on NHL ice outside of Ottawa’s win over Tampa that ended up costing coach Guy Boucher his job in Tampa.  The Maple Leafs pulled off a huge win over the Bruins while the Sabres walked into Montreal and defeated the Canadiens, despite both being badly outplayed.  Here is a quick tour around the league.

Mar 23, 2013; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Buffalo Sabres forward Thomas Vanek (26) attempts to get a shot on Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) who is helped by teammate Lars Eller (81) during the first period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

  1. The Leafs only managed 13 shots on goal, but scored once early in each period to get enough offense to withstand a late Boston rally to take the game 3-2. Nazem Kadri opened the scoring before the game was 5 mintues old, Mikhail Grabovski doubled the lead before the 3 minute mark of the second and Frazer McLarens scored what would turn out to be the game winner 1:34 into the third.  McLaren’s goal chased Boston starter Anton Khudobin, who allowed 3 goals on just 11 shots in his rare back to back starts.  Dennis Seidenberg answered quickly after the goalie change and Andrew Ference brought the Bruins within one with 1:16 remaining but the Leafs held on.  James Reimer made 31 saves as the Leafs were badly outplayed but Reimer stole the win.
  2. Thomas Vanek scored two second period goals, and it was enough for the Sabres to escape with the win as they beat the Montreal Canadiens 2-1.  Michael Ryder scored on a power play in the third to make it close, but Ryan Miller turned aside 38 shots for the win.  Buffalo managed only 18 on Carey Price.
  3. New Jersey kept pace with the Senators and Maple Leafs with a 2-1 win over the Panthers.  Patrik Elias and David Clarkson scored for New Jersey, both in the second period to put them up 2-0.  Peter Mueller scored later in the period to make it close, but Florida managed only 6 shots in the third while trying to even the score.
  4. Niklas Backstrom made 33 saves against the Sharks, leading the Wild to a 2-0 win over San Jose.  Zach Parise scored the winner in the second period and Jared Spurgeon got the insurance marker on a third period power play to keep the Wild ahead of the Canucks in the Northwest Division, at least on paper. Ryan Suter and Mikko Koivu each assisted on both Wild goals.
  5. Mason Raymond scored midway through the first period and the Canucks made it hold up as Cory Schneider made 20 saves for the 1-0 shutout against the Kings.  Vancouver managed only 13 shots on Jonathan Quick, but 1 goal was enough on this day.  Vancouver remained tied for the lead in the Northwest Division and moved into the 4th seed in the Western Conference.
  6. Nashville scored 4 times in the first 10:15 to chase Sergei Bobrovsky and ended up ending the Blue Jackets amazing run with a 5-2 win.  Taylor Beck opened the scoring with his first NHL goal just after the 7 minute mark and the floodgates were open.  Shea Weber added to the lead 1:10 later, which R.J. Umberger answered just over a minute later to make it 2-1.  Nashville responded to that goal in force, as David Legwand buried one 17 seconds after Umberger’s, and then Matt Halischuk 29 seconds after that to end a furious offensive outburst of 5 goals in a 4:04 span.  Artem Anisimov scored late in the 2nd period to draw the Blue Jackets closer, but Roman Josi‘s empty netter sealed the deal with 24 seconds remaining.  The loss snaps Columbus’ 12 game streak with at least a point, that lifted them into playoff contention.
  7. Jamie Benn had a goal and three assists in Dallas’ 5-2 win over the Avalance.  Dallas opened up a 4-0 lead in the first 25 minutes, on goals from Derek Roy, Benn, Eric Nystrom and Cody Eakin, forcing Semyon Varlamov from the game.  Colorado got two of those back, with P.A. Parenteau late in the second and Paul Stastny early in the third.  However, Jaromir Jagr scored just under 7 minutes into the third to put the final nail in the coffin for the Stars.
  8. Jaroslav Halak made his first start in almost 2 weeks and made 19 saves for the shutout as the Blues downed the Oilers 3-0.  Alex Steen had a goal and an assist while Chris Stewart and T.J. Oshie also scored for the Blues.

That concludes our tour around the NHL for Saturday night.  There are 7 games on tap for Sunday, including the always eventful and entertaining battle of Pennsylvania, as the Flyers visit the Penguins.  Check back tomorrow for a full recap of all the action.