Sabres 3, Lightning 1: After missing 45 games with a broken shin, Steven Stamkos is back, bitches. Back with a new "C" on his chest, no points, five shots on goal, and two hits in 21:03 on the ice (and a team-leading 4:11 on the power-play) in a mostly mystifying 3-1 loss to Buffalo. Mystifying only because Stamkos looked fantastic and Sabretooth is the third-best player on Buffalo's roster right now. But let's give them some credit: the Sabres may suck at winning on an annual basis, but they are the champions of rebuilding mode. They have collected draft picks like Lindsay Lohan has collected STDs - five first-round picks, six second-round picks, a conditional sixth-round pick, and a conditional seventh-rounder over the next three years. 2015 is projected to be a particularly deep draft, so there is hope yet, Buffalo fans. Cody Hodgson, Tyler Myers, and Marcus Foligno each had a goal and an assist, while Jhonas Enroth was stellar, nabbing 43 saves. Tyler Johnson scored the lone goal for Tampa Bay with help from Victor Hedman. In his Lightning debut, Ryan Callahan had no points, four shots, and four hits in 16:39 on the ice; he also saw 1:39 on the power play.
Bruins 3, Capitals 0: This was not merely a loss, Washington's fourth in a row, but an utter spanking. They were outshot 43-16. I would like to credit Tuukka Rask with finally beating the Capitals (he was previously 0-3-3), but he did not have to work hard in this one. Gregory Campbell and Loui Eriksson each scored in the second period, Brad Marchland added an empty-netter, and Washington wet the bed.
Kings 3, Jets 1: The Kings continue to roll. Less than a minute after Olli Jokinen scored in the second period, Dustin Brown tied the game, Mike Richards followed three minutes later, and Alec Martinez chipped in a power-play goal to ice the game in the third. On the top line with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams, Marian Gaborik made his first appearance for Los Angeles with three shots on goal and a -1 rating. Dustin Byfuglien had the highlight of the night, however; he crushed Jake Muzzin over the boards, ass over head with skates in the air. Click on the image below:
Avalanche 3, Red Wings 2 (OT): Have I told you how much I love Nathan MacKinnon? Although he has only been able to buy porn and cigarettes for six months, MacKinnon set up Andre Benoit with 31.4 seconds left in overtime for the game-winner, pushing his point streak to 13 games and breaking Wayne Gretzky's record in the process. Colorado and Detroit traded goals in regulation: Niklas Kronwall in the first, Matt Duchene halfway through the second, Tomas Jurco a few minutes later, and P.A. Parenteau in the third. As hot as Johan Franzen has been lately, he basically played for Colorado tonight. He deflected Duchene's wide shot with his skate and knocked it into the net, he accidentally hit Jimmy Howard's stick out of his hands on Parenteau's late goal, and he turned over the puck in OT which led to a (failed) breakaway attempt. David Legwand, who seemingly moonlights as a prefect from Hufflepuff, had two shots on goal and a -2 rating in his Detroit debut.
Blackhawks 6, Blue Jackets 1: 13, thirteen (!) players on the Blackhawks notched at least one point in this blowout. Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews each had two goals, Brandon Bollig and Bryan Bickell tallied one apiece, Brandon Saad had an assist and five shots, and Brent Seabrook added two assists. Sergei Bobrovsky was yanked after allowing three goals in the second period. Ryan Johansen saved Columbus from the shutout with his 25th goal of the season.
Blues 2, Predators 1: Ian Cole had an assist and a goal (set up by Steve Ott, his first point for the Blues), Magnus Paajarvi added the game-winner, and Ryan Miller cruised to his third win in three starts. St. Louis is now a remarkable 16-0-1 against their frenemies from the Central Division. Nick Spaling put Nashville on the board on assists from Patric Hornqvist, the 100th of his career, and Mike Fisher.
Stars 6, Canucks 1: Dallas rolled to its ninth victory in 14 games behind a hat trick from Tyler Seguin, who also had two assists, a +3 rating, and six shots on goal. Jamie Benn had a nice night with a goal, two assists, +3 rating, four shots, two PIMs, and two hits. Alex Goligoski and Ryan Garbutt rounded out the scoring, Rich Peverley added two helpers, and Kari Lehtonen was stellar between the pipes. With Tim Thomas breathing down his neck (and already bitching about playing time), he needs to be sharp. Eddie Lack was pulled in the third period for Jacob Markstrom, who made his Vancouver debut, and Zack Kassian was ejected for boarding and will face a disciplinary hearing from the league.
Oilers 3, Islanders 2 (OT): The first period was all New York - and then the rest of the game happened. Frans Nielsen scored a shorthanded goal midway through the period and promising rookie Anders Lee scored with less than two minutes remaining, his fourth goal in five games, but momentum shifted thereafter; Ryan Smyth put Edmonton on the board with a power-play goal in the third and Philip Larsen tied the game with 3:07 left in regulation. Taylor Hall won the game in overtime on a Sam Gagner assist, his second of the game. David Perron and Jordan Eberle also had assists.
Coyotes 5, Canadiens 2: The last time the Coyotes beat Montreal, "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It" and the theme song from Dawson's Creek were atop the Billboard charts. The year was 1998, Nathan MacKinnon was in first grade, and we had just been introduced to the cigar exploits of a lovely lady named Monica Lewinsky. Nearly 16 years later, behind two goals from Radim Vrbata, Phoenix pulled off the upset. Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and an assist, Lauri Korpikoski and Shane Doan each scored, and Mike Ribeiro and Kyle Chipchura both grabbed a pair of assists for Phoenix. Andrei Markov and Alex Galchenyuk scored for Montreal, along with two helpers from P.K. Subban. Thomas Vanek had a weak debut with one shot on goal and a -1 rating in 15:39 on the ice.
Sharks 5, Penguins 3: After Olli Maatta and Chris Kunitz scored, San Jose gifted Pittsburgh with the largest first-period deficit it had faced all season - and then impressively demonstrated how to climb back from it. Justin Braun scored, followed by a short-handed goal from Patrick Marleau to tie the game. 20 seconds later, Maata then lit the lamp for the second time, but Brett Burns, who is finally heating up again, tied the game again and later added an empty-netter. Joe Thornton finally broke the 3-3 tie with 5:39 left in regulation on a somewhat lucky, rolling shot. Overall, a super entertaining game and a great way to end a packed Thursday night of NHL action.
This is my last post for the next 10 days or so, as I will be floating in the Caribbean, drinking fruity concoctions with little umbrellas and working on my tan. Until then, go Rangers, Blue Devils, my Virgins, and I would say the Knicks, but let's be serious.