The Night that Was:
The Buffalo Sabres may not win a lot on the road, but to get their first win in 12 road games it only took them overtime, a shootout, and 14 shots total. Jordan Leopold opened the scoring in the first with his eighth and Patrik Elias tied it up in the second with his 18th. The Sabres and New Jersey Devils moved through a scoreless third and overtime, to a shootout where Ilya Kovalchuk scored in the first round, Jason Pominville scored in the third round to extend things, and Nathan Gerbe won it. Ryan Miller made 27 saves for the win, his first since January 13th.
John Tavares got the New York Islanders out to a quick start last night, scoring his 20th 1:54 into their game with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Isles would add a shorthanded goal from Josh Bailey halfway through the second for a 2-0 lead before Clarke MacArthur made it 2-1. 1:47 into the third, Jake Gardiner’s first NHL goal made it 2-2, and Mikhail Grabovski scored with 3:31 left to give the Leafs a 3-2 lead. But PA Parenteau spoiled the party, scoring his 10th with 13 seconds left. It was all for naught though as MacArthur’s second of the game (14th) won it for the Leafs in OT. Grabovski finished the night with one goal and three assists, while MacArthur had three points and Gardiner and Nikolai Kulemin had two points each.
The New York Rangers will go into the All-Star break first in the Eastern Conference after a 3-0 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Ryan Callahan (17), John Mitchell (5), and Brad Richards (16) all scored in the win as Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves for the shutout. Callahan finished the night with a goal and an assist.
Boston visited Washington last night for a back-and-forth affair. Rich Peverley opened the scoring in the first, before a five goal second. Cody Eakin (4) and Mathieu Perreault (5) scored to give the Caps a 2-1 lead before Tyler Seguin (19) tied it. Perreault would add his second of the period for a 3-2 lead but, you guessed it, Boston would tie. Perreault would put the finishing touches on his first-career hat-trick in the third and Dennis Wideman added an empty-netter for a 5-3 Capitals win. Roman Hamrlik had two assists in the win, while Dennis Seidenberg and Patrice Bergeron each had two assists for Boston.
After Mike Angelidis’ first NHL goal opened the scoring for Tampa Bay and Brett Lebda’s first with the Blue Jackets tied it, the ‘firsts’ were out of the way between Columbus and Tampa. Vincent Lecavalier (19) and Martin St. Louis (12) scored in the second and after Ryan Johansen (9) cut the lead to one, Nate Thompson (5) sealed the 4-2 Bolts win. Mathieu Garon made 22 saves as Lecavlier and St. Louis each finished with two points while RJ Umberger had two assists for Columbus.
After a period in Florida, the Flyers were leading the Panthers 2-1: Mikael Samuelsson opened the scoring before Brayden Schenn and Jakub Voracek gave Philly the lead. Tomas Fleischmann tied it up in the second and after a scoreless third and overtime, Claude Giroux scored the only goal of the shootout for a 3-2 Philadelphia win. Stephen Weiss had two assists as Scott Clemmensen made 35 saves in the loss and Sergei Bobrovsky made 23 saves for the win.
James Neal (27) and Steve Sullivan (9) scored second period goals for Pittsburgh before Patrik Berglund scored one in the second and one in the third to tie the game at two. After overtime, Evgeni Malkin and TJ Oshie exchanged shootout goals before Chris Kunitz won it. Brian Elliott made 37 saves while Marc-Andre Fleury made 32.
Nashville looked for some bragging rights in a Central Division battle with Chicago last night and got it. Craig Smith (11) and Mike Fisher (12) scored in the first, and after a scoreless second, Dave Bolland (15) made it 2-1 before Collin Wilson added his tenth for the 3-1 win. Pekka Rinne made 24 saves for win number 28 on the season.
Fresh off signing his extension, Alex Goligoski scored the only goal of the game, 16:41 into the first, giving Dallas a 1-0 win over Anaheim. The Ducks fired 27 shots at Kari Lehtonen, who earned his first shutout of the season. Jonas Hiller faced just 16 shots, stopping 15.
It was another 1-0 game in Calagry as San Jose got a third period goal out of Benn Ferriero and 25 saves from Antti Niemi. Miikka Kiprusoff made 26 saves in the loss.
Kyle Turris’ return to Phoenix didn’t go so well for the Sens’ new star. Gilbert Brule scored the only goal of the first, giving the Coyotes a 1-0 lead before Shane Doan made it 2-0 in the second. Daniel Alfredsson cut that lead in half before Radim Vrbata scored his 23rd in the third period, 1:30 in. Chris Neill scored 14 seconds later, but the next 18+ minutes passed by scoreless in a 3-2 Coyotes win. Mike Smith made 32 saves for the win, his third 30+ save effort in his last five.
Despite trailing 1-0 early on a goal by TJ Galiardi, the Minnesota Wild rallied against Colorado with goals from Justin Falk (his first NHL goal) and Dany Heatley in the first for a 2-1 lead. Chuck Kobasew’s seventh tied things in the second, but a period later Carson McMillan’s second NHL goal stood as the winner in a 3-2 Wild win. Kyle Brodziak had two assists for the Wild.
Daniel Sedin opened the scoring with his 21st and Shawn Horcoff tied it up in the second. David Booth and Taylor Hall exchanged goals in the third period, and after a scoreless overtime there was a five round shootout. Alex Edler scored in the first round and Ales Hemsky tied it as the last shooter in the third, before Cody Hodgson scored in the fifth and Roberto Luongo stopped Shawn Horcoff. Luongo made 30 saves in the victory but surrendered multi-point nights to Hall and Ales Hemsky.
What’s on Tonight?
The Injury Bug:
-Calgary got Alex Tanguay back last night after the forward missed 15 games with an upper-body injury. He was held pointless in his return.
-Sami Salo returned last night for the Vancouver Canucks, having recovered from his concussion suffered at the hands of Brad Marchand. Salo missed six games and was held pointless in his return.
-Jonathan Toews has been placed on IR by the Chicago Blackhawks with a left wrist injury. Scott Hartnell will replace him at the All-Star game.
News, Notes, and Rumours
-The Toronto Maple Leafs and defenseman John-Michael Liles have agreed to a four-year contract extension. The deal is worth $3.875 million a year.
-San Jose placed goaltender Antero Niittymaki on waivers. Niittymaki is still recovering from injury and is on a conditioning stint in the AHL with Worcester.
-Alexander Ovechkin made the decision to withdraw himself from the All-Star weekend festivities this weekend due to his suspension. The Penguins’ James Neal will replace him.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line(s) of the Night:
Mathieu Perreault’s first-career hat-trick stole headlines last night. All three goals were scored even-strength with each of them giving Washington a lead. He finished with a plus-two rating as well. Toronto’s Mikhail Grabovski also had a night to remember with one goal and three assists. Despite all of his points coming on even-strength time, Grabovski finished with just a plus-one rating.