The Los Angeles Kings held a 4-0 lead after the first period and thought they were on cruise control at home against the Phoenix Coyotes. Dwight King scored twice in the opening period and so did Anze Kopitar and Jordan Nolan. They managed to chase Coyote netminder Mike Smith after the first period and Phoenix used backup Tomas Griess the rest of the way.
And Griess almost got the win. What?
Martin Hanzal scored twice for Phoenix and Jeff Halpern and Shane Doan added goals for the Coyotes. Radim Vrbata picked up a pair of assists as did defenseman Keith Yandle. Vrbata still finished with a -4 in the game, Yandle was a -3.
And the game was tied 4-4 with 17:10 left in regulation.
Mike Richards and Matt Frattin scored to make it 6-4 before King sealed his hat trick with an empty-netter and the Kings had a wild 7-4 win. Kopitar finished with two assists to go with his goal. Dustin Brown and Justin Williams each added two assists in the win.
It’s becoming evident that the Pacific Division is playing some exciting hockey from a fantasy standpoint and this is one of those games that truly explains the way it is out west. Hanzal and Vrbata have some good scoring punch in Phoenix and it was nice to see Yandle break out a little but in this one.
The rest of the night on ice was quite crazy. There were five one-goal games including two that were decided in overtime. Let’s get to it now and start with the biggest news of the day.
Nashville beat Winnipeg 3-2 in overtime. Carter Hutton got the win in goal for the Predators and Craig Smith potted the winner with 17 seconds left in overtime.
Pekka Rinne won’t be in goal for at least a month. In the offeseason Rinne had surgery to take care of an issue with his left hip. That same hip started giving him trouble in the last couple days. Rinne was examined and it was decided to clean the infection out by going in through an arthroscopic procedure.
That’s why he’s out at least a month. The scope.
Hutton got the start and the win. The other goaltender is Magnus Helberg who was recalled from Milwaukee of the AHL. Head coach Barry Trotz said it’s an open competition for the job and the starter will be decided on a game-by-game basis. My gut says Hutton is the one who gets more of the starts and he would be worth a pickup if you’re in a goaltending crunch. The downside is that Nashville isn’t known for a ton of offensive support. Either goalie will have to find ways to win the 2-1 game or the 3-2 game on a consistent basis to keep the job.
At best Rinne comes back in early December and the Predators hope that happens. Before it does, Nashville has a bitch of a road trip because of the CMA Awards in their home arena. After hosting St. Louis on Saturday, they will visit PHX, LA, COL, WPG, NJ, NYI and PGH before returning home to host Chicago.
(I’d make a joke here about country music fans, hockey players and teeth but it’s a little late and I can’t think of it.)
The point is, this looks like a goaltender by committee happening here. Hopefully one guy can take the reins and I think Hutton is it. He’s worth an add if you’re in a goaltending crunch already this season.
If you thought that was tough, the next one on the list has two injured goalies. Zach Parise had the eventual game winner as Minnesota knocked off Carolina 3-1.
Wild goaltender Josh Harding was pulled after two periods with an undisclosed lower-body injury. Niklas Backstrom had to come off the bench and relieve him, preserving the win. Carolina lost Cam Ward to a lower-body injury of his own and said he will be out about a month. Hopefully it’s not the knee that had ligament damage back in March that shut him down for the remainder of last season. Their top backup, Anton Khudobin, is still out for another week with his own lower-body issue. That left Justin Peters to take the ice and he gave up goals on his first two shots he saw.
It’s doubtful but it’s worth a check of the waiver wire to see if Backstrom is there. I’d be surprised to see him there. Until Ward heals up it would be hard to trust any goaltender for the Hurricanes with anything more than an emergency start to meet positional requirements.
David Krejci scored at the last second, literally, to help Boston send San Jose to its first regular-season loss in regulation with a 2-1 win. The game was an excellent goaltending duel between Antti Niemi and Tuukka Rask, the latter turning aside 38-of-39 shots in the win.
Vancouver 3, New Jersey 2 F/SO Ryan Kesler had a goal and an assist to pace the Canucks whiel Henrik Sedin added two assists and Roberto Luongo turned away 28-of-30 shots in the win.
Philadelphia 2, NY Rangers 1 Matt Read had a goal and an assist to guide the Flyers to a rare win. Cam Talbot got the start in goal over Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers while Lundqvist deals with an undisclosed injury. Each team has a robust total of two wins.
Montreal 4, Anaheim 1 Tomas Plekanec continues his hot play with a goal and two assists to power this Montreal win. He’s picked up five points in his last two games and is 5-4–9 in the first 10 games of the season. While he’s on a heater, see if he can be found on the waiver wire. Michael Bournival and Brian Gionta each chipped in a goal and an assist in the win.
Tampa 6, Chicago 5 (OT) Martin St. Louis scored 1:16 into OT to end a wild game between Chicago and Tampa Bay. Steven Stamkos had a four-point night for the Lightning with two goals and two assists. Victor Hedman (G,A), Valteri Filppula (2A) and St. Louis (G,A) each had two point nights in the win. Patrick Kane and Johnathan Toews led Chicago with a goal and an assist each.
Ben Bishop turned aside 38-of-43 shots in the win while Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 19-of-25 shots in the loss. Clearly, the Bulin Wall has more than a few cracks in it and is best left to rot on waivers.
Dallas 5, Calgary 1 Alex Chiasson and Jamie Benn each scored twice as Dallas doused the Flames. Dallas scored three goals in a 61-second span of the second period to blow the game open. Kari Lehtonen made his first after a two-week stint on injured reserve and stopped 28-of-29 Calgary shots. It looks Lehtonen is healthy again and can be used as you normally would.
Washington 4, Edmonton 1 Alex Ovechkin scored his league-leading 10th goal of the season in this Capitals win. Braden Holtby made 30 saves in the win and Devan Dubnyk continues to struggle. Dubnyk at 2-5-1 with a 4.01 GAA and .878 save percentage is nothing more than an emergency starter to help you fill the required number of starts for goalies.
Friday’s Games (all times ET)
NY Islanders at Pittsburgh 7pm
Toronto at Columbus 7pm
Anaheim at Ottawa 730pm
Buffalo at Florida 730pm
Vancouver at St. Louis 8pm
Carolina at Colorado 9pm