Brandon Saad’s third-period shorthanded goal lifted the Chicago Blackhawks to a 2-1 win over San Jose and gave Chicago at least one point in its 17th consecutive game to open the season.
Victor Stalberg had the other Chicago goal while Patrick Marleau hit the net for San Jose.
SPIN: Yeah, the Hawks are hot to start the season. Saad and Stalberg don’t have enough consistency to merit roster considerations except in the deepest of leagues. Ray Emery made 26 saves in the win and is now 7-0-0 this season. Emery was an undervalued player at the start of the season and should be put into lineups every chance you get while Corey Crawford recovers from an injury of his own.
Marleau scored just his second goal in the 11 games since his insane start to the season. That start seems like forever ago, doesn’t it? The San Jose offense continues to flounder in February. In nine games this month, the Sharks have only scored more than two goals once. Let’s face it, the Sharks can’t score home or away. They can’t do it in a box and they can’t do it with a fox. All Dr. Seuss aside, this team can’t score so for tonight, I won’t write about them anymore. Chicago won the season series 3-0.
Roberto Luongo made 23 saves and Vancouver knocked off Nashville 1-0 in a goaltender’s duel. Pekka Rinne made 23 saves for Nashville but allowed one goal to Dale Weise and that turned out to be the difference-maker.
SPIN: Nashville thumped back to the Predators we’ve come to know and hate in fantasy hockey. I’m more inclined to think that the recent outbursts against Colorado and Detroit are the exceptions and not the rule with this team. It’s still not enough to make me want to get Predators into my lineup in anything less than a 12-team league.
Luongo is 5-0-3 this season with strong goals against average and save percentage numbers. He’s reestablished himself as a must-start goaltender yet has started just three of the last eight games between the pipes for Vancouver. Vancouver defenseman Kevin Bieksa left the game in the first period with a groin injury and is day-to-day pending further evaluation.
Pittsburgh knocked off Florida 3-1 but may have lost Evgeni Malkin in the third period. Malkin left the game with an apparent head injury after taking a hit while being off balance near the net. Malkin slammed into the boards back-first but then thumped his head against the wall as well. Malkin stayed down for several moments before skating off.
SPIN: Mike Weaver scored his first of the season for Florida. Chris Kunitz, Matt Niskanen and Dustin Jeffrey all scored for Pittsburgh while Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside 22 shots in the win. A name to look for on the waiver wire is Beau Bennett who started opposite Malkin and James Neal on the second line for the Penguins. Jacob Markstrom made 37 saves for Florida as they are trying to find anyone who can stop the bleeding for the Panthers in net. Both Jose Theodore and especially backup Scott Clemmensen are seeing their fantasy values take hits with Markstrom getting the call in this game and none of those players are injured.
Multiple Goal Scorers
None…for just the third time this season.
Stat of the Night
Chicago is actually on a run of 23 straight regular-season games with at least a point dating back to last season.
Three Stars of the Night
1. Luongo Shutout and still undefeated in regulation
2. Emery Got the Hawks to record-breaking heights
3. Rinne Good effort in the 1-0 loss to the Canucks
Saturday’s Games (all times ET)
New Jersey at Washington 12pm New Jersey is tied for the best record in the East; Washington is last in the league. Looks like a good day to bench the Caps to me too.
Winnipeg at Philadelphia 1pm Can the Jets make it three in a row and get back to .500?
Phoenix at Edmonton 330pm Coyotes have won two straight while Oilers have lost two in a row. Both trends look likely to continue.
Colorado at Los Angeles 4pm The Kings start the critical stretch when they play 13 of their next 16 at home.
NY Islanders at Buffalo 7pm Both teams have negative double-digit goal differentials. This could have all the makings of a shootout.
NY Rangers at Montreal 7pm If the season ended today…this would be a first-round matchup.
Toronto at Ottawa 7pm Ben Bishop takes on James Scrivens in the backup goaltender battle.
Tampa Bay at Carolina 7pm Winner of this one has the lead in a weak Southeast Division.
Nashville at Detroit 8pm Will the Predators make the Red Wings’ losing streak extend to a sixth game?
Columbus at St. Louis 8pm Blues, Blue Jackets. Blue Jackets, Blues. I don’t really have anything else for this one.
San Jose at Dallas 8pm Will the Sharks get their fins screwed on the right way?
Minnesota at Calgary 10pm The Flames try to get closer to catching the team in the eighth and final playoff spot.