Not wasting any time the Penguins newly acquired Matt Niskanen put Pittsburgh on the board early with a slap shot from Ben Lovejoy. It was a lead they would fight the entire night for. Late in the first Toronto’s Nikolai Kulemin tied the game with a wrist shot and gave both teams that ‘new game’ feel heading into intermission.
Less than a minute into the second the Penguins took a too many men on the ice penalty; however, the Maple Leafs were unable to capitalize on it. A few minutes after the penalty expired Chris Conner (whom sat the bench penalty for the Penguins) scored on the backhand from Niskanen regaining the lead.
It was not until the third period that Toronto’s Phil Kessel came up big for his team by tipping-in a shot and tying the game and eventually forcing it into overtime; however, that did not stop Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin from making waives on Twitter during the game about Kessel.
Less than a minute was needed for Mikhail Grabovski to score the game winner for the Maple Leafs and take the extra point from the Penguins.
Tampa Bay Lightning 1 New Jersey Devils 2
In a hard fought eastern conference battle between one team that is everything but officially seeded for the playoffs and a team that is fighting tooth and nail to try to claim the eight spot after starting the season in the biggest slump the team has seen.
It was not a high shooting game, thus not a high scoring game. Devils Martin Brodeur stopped 15 of the mere 16 shots he faced against the Lightning; Dwayne Roloson took third star of the game honors even with the loss making 25 saves.
It took a delay of game penalty to New Jersey’s Anssi Salmela before there was any scoring. .
Tampa’s Dominic Moore scored the only goal against Brodeur on the man advantage early in the second. Late in the period Henrik Tallinder tied the game back up with a slap shot fed from Ilya Kovalchuk.
With the game tied going into the third it was anyone’s game.
It took half of the third period before Ilya Kovalchuk scored the game winning goal; with a two-point night Kovalchuk took the top star of the game.
The story here is not that the Islanders nearly shut out the Wild to break their losing skid not is it about the play of goaltenders Al Montoya whom blocked 33 of 34 shots the Wild threw at him while his counter part Niklas Backstrom only turned away 16 of 19. No the story is once again the Islanders and hits/penalties/and questionable conduct.
The Islanders were up 2-0 at the end of the first period with a power play goal from Blake Comeau and a late period backhander from Kyle Okposo; then the second period started.
Less than a minute into the second Blake Comeau scored again to give the Islanders a 3-0 lead over the visiting Wild; just minutes later Wild’s Cal Clutterbuck was assessed a boarding call while Islanders Trevor Gillies was given coincidental checking from behind (5 minute major) and a game misconduct for a hit on Clutterbuck. New York’s Zenon Konopka was give a 10 minute misconduct as well.
It was Trevor Gillies first night back after a nine-game suspension from the last incident with the Pittsburgh Penguins; however, he might be back out after this his on Cal Clutterbuck…
The second period had not even reached the three minute mark. In the final five minutes of the period Wild’s Clayton Stoner took a penalty for holding the stick that allowed Andrew MacDonald to score on the power play. In the final minute of play Islanders Zenon Konopka and the Wild’s Brad Staubitz dropped the gloves and saw fellow Wild Cal Clutterbuck receive an instigator penalty.
The second intermission appeared to have allowed cooler heads to prevail as the third period saw only one penalty in the final 30 seconds; to the Wild for board.
Calgary Flames 4 Chicago Blackhawks 6
In a hard fought Western Conference battle the current Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks have claimed 4th place.
In a high scoring battle between conference rivals all after the same points for a playoff spot Chicago saw captain Jonathan Toews and Michael Frolik score in the first while Calgary’s Alex Tanguay scored on the power play to see the teams head to the first intermission with Chicago up 2-1.
The second period was heavy on the penalties. When Calgary took a hooking call late in the period Chicago’s Brian Campbell took advantage and put the team up 3-1; while just over a minute later Toews cemented the lead with a wrist shot.
The Blackhawks were up 4-1 when a fight broke out between their own Viktor Stalberg and the Flames Mark Giordano to end the second period.
The third period started with a fired up Flames as Rene Bourque cut the lead for the Blackhawks in half in the first few minutes of the period. The leading by example Jarome Iginla the Flames captain brought the team within one before the halfway point in the period.
Two minutes after Iginla brought the game within one Chicago’s Dave Bolland increased the goal differencial back to two giving the Blackhawks a 5-3 lead.
Late in the third Bourque scored again; this time a slap shot from Iginla to once again be within one of the current Stanley Cup champs.
In a last minute effort to force the game into overtime for at least a point the Flames pulled goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff only to see Blackhawks Marian Hossa score on the empty net in the final minute of play.
Detroit Red Wings 1 Anaheim Ducks 2 (OT)
Two well known Western Conference rivals met up again last night in a late game in Anaheim and for those that stayed a wake to see the end there were mixed feelings as it was a penalty shot in overtime that decided the outcome.
It took a power play goal in the second period to see the first goal of the game. A shot from Russian sensation Pavel Dastyuk from Swede teammates captain Nicklas Lidstrom and front of the net pest Tomas Holmstrom gave the Red Wings an early lead.
Early in the third Ducks Jason Blake tied the game with a slap shot from Teemu Selanne; while it was Bobby Ryan who scored the game winning goal in overtime on a penalty shot he was awarded after being hooked on a breakaway by former Duck Ruslan Salei.
Ryan earned first star of the game; the other two stars went to Ducks goaltender Dan Ellis (0.966 save percentage) and Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (0.929 save percentage).
Up into the Netting
Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom became the member of yet another elite club. Only four defenseman in NHL history have scored 250 goals with the same club. Congratulations Nicklas Lidstrom as though your place in the Hockey Hall of Fame was not already decided.
ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun discusses how James Neal had a handy insight into Penguins before being traded.
A reporter following NASCAR was fired for clapping at the Daytona 500.
The Hockey Writers morning column co-namesake Justin Abdelkader visited with the students at Hill Elementary School in Troy, Michigan and taught them the fundimentals of hockey:
Johan Franzen and his wife welcomed their first born on Sunday welcome to the world Eddie Bo!
According to College Hockey Inc. there are 247 former collegiate hockey players that have played in the NHL for the 2010-11 season. That is ten more than the previous season.
Random Video Moment:
According to MSNBC there are many NFL players that are living paycheck-to-paycheck.