From Abdelkader to Zuccarello – 5 March 2011

Pittsburgh Penguins 1 New Jersey Devils 2 (OT)
Did the Devils make a deal with the Devil? What else could explain the compete turn around this team has had from the start of the season. Well other than the bringing back of head coach Jacques Lemaire.

One of the last teams to get a home win this season the Devils are now 10-0-1 in their last 11 games at home.

It took awhile but Ilya Kovalchuk finally found his stride. Scoring in the final seconds of overtime gaining that much needed extra point for the Devils was the sixth game winning point in the last month for him.

It was New Jersey’s Travis Zajac and Pittsburgh’s Tyler Kennedy that scored in regulation to force the game into overtime; both in the second period. Zajac was just an assist away of a Gordie Howe hat trick as he was in a fight early in the first with Penguins Kris Letang.

New York Rangers 4 Ottawa Senators 1
The Rangers win over the Senators saw partial name sake of this column score the game winning goal.

After Vinny Prospal got the Rangers on the board in the first it was Mats Zuccarello’s goal early in the second that ended up being all the Rangers would need to beat the Senators.

Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist took the win and the first star honors with a 0.966 save percentage when he stopped 28 of the 29 shots he faced. He only let in a third period power play goal from Sergei Gonchar.

Ottawa’s goaltender Craig Anderson turned aside 23 of the 27 shots he faced.

Carolina Hurricanes 2 Chicago Blackhawks 5
The Blackhawks defeate of the Hurricanes marked the seventh straight win for the team that had struggled to gain their footing on the Western Conference.

Heading into the third period the Blackhawks were up 2-1 as captain Jonathan Toews had started the scoring early in the game – only 55 seconds into the game. It was the Hurricanes captain Eric Staal that tied the game a few minutes later. Bryan Bickell put the home team Chicago back on top.

In the third the Blackhawks increased their goal differential over the Hurricanes from 2-1 to 5-1 less than halfway through the period with goals from Ryan Johnson, Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane. It was Carolina’s rookie sensation Jeff Skinner that made it 5-2 shortly after the halfway point in the third.

A few minutes after (with less than six minutes left in the game) a fight broke out between Hurricanes Bryan Allen and Blackhawks Troy Brouwer.

Columbus Blue Jackets 3 Calgary Flames 4
Putting 40 shots on goal just was not enough for the Blue Jackets to put out the Flames. Flames goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff was the second star of the game with his 0.925 saver percentage from stopping 37 of the Blue Jackets shots.

Columbus went up early with the first goal of the game from Craig Rivet early in the first; but saw Olli Jokinen tie it and Calgary’s captain Jarome Iginla take the lead before the end of the period.

Blue Jackets Antoine Vermette came out and tied the game at two early in the second with a backhand from K Russell. After that the Blue Jackets ran into penalty trouble as Vermette received a double minor for hi-sticking and saw the Flames Rene Bourque and Curtis Glencross score with the man advantage.

It was not until the third period when Jan Hejda scored to being the Blue Jackets within one of the Flames.

Dallas Stars 3 Anaheim Ducks 4 (OT)
After taking an early lead over the Stars with a goal form Lubomir Visnovsky in the first the Ducks sat back in the second and saw Jamie Benn tied the game early then Adam Burish take the lead at the midway point in the period. It was Loui Eriksson’s power play goal late in the second that had the Stars thinking they had won the game.

Only there was another period left to go.

In the third period the Ducks resurfaced and Lubomir Visnovski scored on the power play to bring the Ducks within one of the Stars. It was elder states man Teemu Selanne who scored just shy of the final minute of play to make sure the Ducks gained at least one point and sent the game into extra time.

It was in extra time where Stars Tom Wandall took a hooking penalty in the final 30 seconds that put the Ducks the man advantage and saw Lubomir Visnovski tip-in a shot from Ryan Getzlaf. Visnovski netted the franchises first hat trick by a defenseman, the game winning goal, took first star of the game, and most importantly or the Ducks – he secured the extra point.

Up into the Netting

Reports are coming out that researchers have found a degenerative disease in the brain tissue that was donated by Bob Probert after his death called chronic traumatic encephalopathy.

Florida Panthers Marty Reasoner and his wife welcome their second child – Ryan Martin Reasoner.

New Jersey Devils David Clarkson and his wife Brittany had a baby girl on Friday. Welcome McKinnley!

A great piece from Chris Botta over at Puck Daddy on Yahoo! Sports about what it is like inside the NHL suspension process.

A great read on the current Lord Stanley.

The Hockey Writers own Jim Neveau gives his takes on the Trevor Gillies saga. Gillies was suspended for 10 games yesterday by the NHL and will forfeit $60,975.60 of his $500,000 salary.

The Malik Report take an in-depth look at the Red Wings and Sharks game from Thursday night and has an update on the “Wings moving East”

Mark Napier and the NHL Alumni Travel to Whitehorse for Hockey Day.