Hockey is back! As the Fantasy Gods tease us with this shortened week, hopefully Santa left a Tarasenko or Kane in your stocking. More than that, I hope your holidays were happy, healthy, and did not include Chinese food with your grandmother wearing a floor-length hot pink mink fur coat like mine did.
Ducks 3, Coyotes 2 (OT): The Monarchs of Pond Beasts continue their dominance, winning their 10th straight to bring their record to a rather absurd 28-7-5. In fact, they are the only team who hasn't lost at home this season, going 14-0-2. Saku Koivu led the Flying Vee attack, scoring two goals, his second coming just 51 seconds into overtime. Daniel Winnik had two assists in the win; if you are desperate for help, Winnik has nine points in the last nine games (18 on the season) and could be a decent short-term option. The Coyotes turned it on late, but it was not enough; Martin Hanzal scored with less than five minutes left and the underrated and always productive Keith Yandle scored with 44 seconds left, after Thomas Greiss had been pulled. Andrew Cogliano, who had a goal, +3 rating, one blocked shot, five shots on goal, and one hit, was a highlight for the otherwise lackluster Coyotes, losers of six of their past seven.
Predators 3, Kings 2: Talk about a crazy ending. With 3:18 left in the game, Mike Fisher put Nashville up 2-1 with a low slap shot that beat Ben Scrivens. As the clock ticked down, Jeff Carter tied it at 2-2 with 36.7 seconds left to play. Then, only 10 seconds later, with 26.4 seconds left in regulation, Fisher hit the game-winner on a goal that just squeaked past the line. Patric Hornqvist, who gets a ton of shots if you need them (110 on the season), had a nice night with a goal, an assist, and five shots on goal, while Anze Kopitar had the other goal for the Kings. Quite frankly, the only thing more entertaining than the final 3:18 of this game was "Do It on My Twin Bed," from last week's SNL (courtesy of NBC):
Senators 4, Bruins 3: After allowing three goals on 12 shots, Tuukka Rask got yanked and the Senators got revenge after being spanked 5-0 by the Bruins Friday night. This is the second time in the past six games that Rask has been pulled and things do not look to improve with Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg injured. Up-and-down defenseman Patrick Wiercioch, super disappointing sophomore Cory Conacher, and not-relevant-enough-for-an-adjective Zack Smith scored for Ottawa, with Bobby Ryan forcing a turnover and scoring the game-winner on a breakaway early in the third. Jarome Iginla, David Warsofsky, and Daniel Paille scored for Boston. Warsofsky got called up yesterday morning as an emergency replacement; he put together an all-around nice game and could be worth monitoring. Iginla almost had two, but one goal was reversed because he kicked it in. Cody Ceci, while far off the fantasy radar, chipped in with two assists, a +3 rating, three shots, and one hit in nearly 20 minutes on the ice.
Devils 2, Islanders 1: Battling with the ancient Brodeur for playing time, Cory Schneider held the Isles scoreless until halfway through the third, when the surprisingly productive, but streaky, Frans Nielsen tied it and put New York on the board. Only minutes later, Travis Zajac deflected a goal past Evgeni Nabokov for the game-winner. The Islanders last won at home on November 12th, which is a longer streak than most Kardashian marriages.
Red Wings 4, Panthers 3: After missing 11 games with a herniated disk in his back, Henrik Zetterberg returned with a flourish, scoring in the first period for Detroit. Tony Romo was watching on TV and eating jello after his own surgery. Gustav Nyquist scored and continues to impress, Pavel Datsyuk had two assists, and Daniel Alfredsson scored a goal after celebrating his 411th birthday (or 41st, whatever) a few days ago. With nine goals and 19 assists, he is still only owned in 60% of Yahoo leagues. Pick him up before he breaks a hip. Sean Bergenheim and Nick Bjugstad scored for Florida. A tight match throughout, the Red Wings scored two quick goals in the first 1:20 of the third period to put away the game.
Canadiens 2, Lightning 1 (SO): Carey Price was stellar between the pipes, with 44 saves and a flawless shootout. Tomas Plekanec and Martin St. Louis scored in regulation, but it was a crafty move by Lars Eller in the shootout who won it for Montreal. America's Hat 1, Hanging Chads 0.
Blues 6, Blackhawks 5 (SO): A fun, high-scoring game between two of the NHL's most entertaining teams. Vladimir Tarasenko, Patrik Berglund, Kevin Shattenkirk led the way for St. Louis, and Patrick Kane continued his magic with a goal and two assists for Chicago. This was his 14th straight game with a point. I am not bitter I drafted Phil Kessel over him at all, I swear. Patrick Sharp, Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, and Brent Seabrook, who sounds like he would make a wonderful tugboat captain or Disney prince, also scored for Chicago. Antti Raanta, however, had a very rough night. I traded Tarasenko for Chris Kunitz a few weeks ago, so I can't really complain, but god did the little Sputnik Speedster burn me yesterday.
Flyers 4, Oilers 3 (SO): Taylor Hall, David Perron, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, who sounds like a delicious candy bar, lit the lamp for Edmonton, who has lost seven of their past nine. It was Perron's 16th of the season and 100th of his career. But Wayne Simmonds, with two goals for the third straight game, both on the power play, continues to act like the only member of his boy band with any talent. The Justin Timberlake of the Flyers, if you will. Scott Hartnell also scored in regulation and has really flourished in his Lance Bass role over the past few weeks, while Claude Giroux had an assist and extended his point-streak to eight games.
Blue Jackets' Practice: In the illustrious history of fighting, battles in the NHL far outrank my current war with Time Warner Cable. Nevertheless, according to the Columbus Dispatch, at Saturday's practice, Brandon Dubinsky and Blake Comeau began arguing about the true meaning of Katy Perry's "Roar" during a penalty-kill drill, which then led to gloves being dropped and punches being thrown. Even though Coach Todd Richards ordered them to stop, the children continued to throw a tantrum until Assistant Coach Dan Hinote was like, "Are you f-ing kidding me with this malarky?" For what it is worth, their sorority sisters in the locker room seemed to enjoy the drama, the two agreed to continue their Go Fish games on plane rides, and no one was injured. This is the most exciting thing to happen to the Blue Jackets all season.