In a city that reminds the world of what can happen when a people turn against monarch King Hank once again took over his throne with his league leading 8th shutout of the season. Henrik Lundqvist stonewalled all 35 shots by the Capitals to earn the shutout. Capitals’ rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth only stopped 22 of 28 shots for a 0.786 saver percentage.
Probably the biggest story of the game is the sequence of events between Capitals’ Mike Green who returned to the line up tonight and Rangers’ Derek Stepan. Mike Green cross checked Stepan at the start of the play only to end up getting hit by Stepan and leaving the game.
Do not let me sway your opinion on the hit one way or the other…
The Rangers also lost Ruslan Fedotenko whom had also just returned to the line up.
The Staal brothers are having some problems playing one another’s teams as of late. Carolina’s captain Eric Staal but a big hit on his brother Marc from the New York Rangers the other night and Marc is still out injured. Last night Eric faced his brother Jordan and left the game in second with an upper-body injury after a hit from Pittsburgh’s Matt Niskanen.
The Hurricanes got on the score board early as Jay Harrison got past Penguins Marc-Andrea Fleury in the first two minutes of the game. Fleury was eventually pulled after allowing in three goals on eleven shots. Brent Johnson had nine saves – only allowing a third period goal from Jussi Jokinen.
Phoenix Coyotes 3; Columbus Blue Jackets 5
After seeing their winning streak haulted by the Tampa Bay Lightning the Coyotes set out to start a new streak. Within the first eight minutes of the game they were up 2-0 over the Blue Jackets. Only to see the game tied heading into the first intermission.
An early penalty in the second to Coyotes’ Lee Stempniak for tripping saw the Blue Jackets Matt Calvert capitalize on the man advantage and take over the lead – and they never looked back. About five minutes later Matt Calvert scored again and gave Columbus a two goal lead over Phoenix; that was not the end of Calvert as he came out in the third and scored an early goal. His three goals and an assist earned him the first star of the night.
Ottawa Senators 2; Buffalo Sabres 4
The Sabres won their second in a row thanks to the early efforts of Michael Grier and Cody McCormick who gave the the 2-0 lead by the halfway point in the game. Jason Spezza had brought the Senators within one by the end of the second; but they were never able to tie the Sabres.
Jochen Hecht regained the two goal advantage for Buffalo at the 7:35 mark of the third; Milan Michalek then scored late to see the game cut to a one goal game in the final minutes. Ottawa pulled goalie Craig Anderson for the man advantage to attempt to tie the game to take it to over time to gain the much needed extra point; however, Thomas Vanek scored within the final minute of play. Vanek’s goal saw Sabres goalie Ryan Miller earn his first point of the season.
Florida Panthers 2; Atlanta Thrashers 1 (SO)
Shots on Goal for the Panthers – 32
Shots on Goal for the Thrashers – 46
Some times a goalie is hot and there isn’t a thing you can do about it.
The Panthers took the early lead in the first period with a goal from Marty Reasoner; while the Thrashers did not light the lamp until late in the second from Blake Wheeler. And that was it. 1-1 until the shootout. It took six rounds in the shoot out before Steve Bernier scored a second for Florida for the win.
When the Thrashers came back out from the first intermission Ondrej Pavelec was no longer in net and Chris Mason took over. Mason went on to earn second star of the game honors with a personal shutout on the 25 shots he faced over nearly 45 minutes of play.
New Jersey Devils; Tampa Bay Lightning 2
First they snapped the Coyotes winning streak now the Devils‘ streak. So much for Lightning does not strike twice.
After a scoreless first period The Lightning came out fully charged and saw Martin St. Louis and Simon Gagne score within the first 4 minutes of the second to give Tampa the lead over New Jersey and never looked back. It too until nearly halfway though the third for Mark Fayne to get the Devils’ on the scoreboard with a feed from Ilya Kovalcuk and Travis Zajac.
There was some concern early in the game as Devils’ David Clarkson was cut on the wrist by Lightning’s Victor Hedman’s skate; however, Clarkson returned to the game in the third. It was an eerie sight seeing as how freak of an accident it is to have a player slashed by a skate blade, yet Red Wings Mike Modano (set to return today in Buffalo) has been out since November 26th when he had his wrist slashed by a skate blade.
It was a game of tit-for-tat as the teams struggled to gain and keep a lead on one another. Devin Setoguchi scored first for the Sharks only to see Anton Babchuk tie if before intermission. Kyle Wellwood scored his third of the season to give the Sharks the lead again. David Moss and Niklas Hagman scored late in the second to take the lead.
It was Ryane Clowe who tied the game late to see that both teams earned a point in the hard fought western conference. It is only fitting that Clowe was the only one to score for either team in the shootout to secure the extra point for San Jose.
St. Louis Blues 5; Edmonton Oilers 0
Making his mark in St. Louis Chris Stewart scored twice last night; that makes six goals in five games since he was traded to the Blues from the Avalanche.
Stewart set the ton of the game scoring his first just over two minutes into the game. By the end of the first the Patrik Berglund had added a power play goal when the Blues were given a four minute man advantage for a double minor hi-stick on Ales Hemsky.
It took less than five minutes into the second for the Oilers to give the Blues the man advantage again, this time it was Stewart that scored unassisted. From that point the penalties took off more than the goals with roughing calls hi sticking penalties. Oilers Theo Peckham was given a ten minute misconduct midway though the third. While the physical play picked up so did the Blues scoring. In the third period mayhem (that included a fight between Cam Janssen and Jason Strudwick) the Blues put the puck in past Devan Dubnyk twice more. Dubnyk had 17 saves on the night; while Ben Bishop blocked all 39 shots he faced in his third NHL game of the season earning the first star honors as well.
None of the special teams for either team connected, not from lack of play as there were nine penalties called in the game. Dan Ellis made his debut with the Ducks after being traded from the Lightning earlier in the week. Ellis had 28 saves; while Theodore had 46 saves and a 0.958 save percentage for the night.
Three Stars of the game:
Wild – Pierre-Marc Bouchard
Wild – Jose Theodore
Ducks – Francois Beauchemin
Up into the Netting
Sticking with the taxi chatter for a minute – Maple Leaf Joffory Lupul left his iphone in a taxi in Toronto and used Twitter to locate it. Lupul probably didn’t even have to but he put up tickets to five home games and a jersey as a reward for his iphone.
Speaking of hockey players using Twitter… the players Saginaw Spirit of the OHL are using Twitter to reach out and grow their fan base. Who can blame them? It has worked out great for their former captain Paul Bissonnette.
Everyone was talking about the loss of Sidney Crosby to concussion; Even with as long as Crosby has been out he has not been out the longest. Up and comer David Perron with the St. Louis Blues has been out since being hit by San Jose Sharks Joe Thornton back on November 4th ( Thornton was suspended for two games for the hit) and is not even close to returning to the ice. Perron is however making the best out of a bad situation as he waits to get back on the ice he is looking at life from a new angle. What is that angle? Check out Jeremy Rutherford’s piece to find out.
Speaking of concussions. As a player whom has suffered with multiple concussions on and off the ice http://twitter.com/Amateur_hockey Janne Virtanen wrote from first hand experience about dealing with having the worst injury ever.
According to Schuyler Baehman (NHL Senior Manager of Communications) the Heritage Classic is currently the 5th most watched NHL regular season game in Versus history.
It’s time for some Locker Room Rules.
Nashville Predators trade Alexander Sulzer to the Florida Panthers in exchange for a conditional draft pick.