Chicago goaltender Ray Emery took advantage of his opportunity to get a start and made the most of it by turning away 27 San Jose shots as part of a 4-1 win. Dave Bolland, Marcus Krueger, Andrew Shaw and Niklas Hjalmarsson all scored for Chicago. Duncan Keith and Jamal Meyers each racked up two assists.
SPIN: San Jose has now lost seven in a row (0-4-3) after opening up 7-0-0. It makes you want to scream “WHAT THE HECK IS GOING ON HERE?” if you have Sharks on your roster. Their offense is completely beyond kaput at this point. With just eight goals in their last seven games, the Sharks are in big trouble. The Sharks have three players who have been in at least 10 games with no goals this season in Ryane Clowe, Adam Burish and Scott Gomez are the offenders at the forward spot. After Patrick Marleau (10 goals) , Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture (6 goals each) this team is bordering on Nashville like numbers on the offensive side of the outfit. With road games at St. Louis, Chicago (again) and Dallas I’m keeping my Sharks on the bench until they get back home to take on Colorado on the 26th. If this team still looks as pathetic against the lowly Avalanche as they have the rest of this month, I’m looking to move my Sharks in trades.
On the other side of the puck, Chicago at 11-0-3 looks like a well-oiled machine and have their next five games at home. Nothing seems to get in their way and they continue to win the close games. They’ve also started to pick up wins by two and three goals so they can beat you in the tight games or just blow you out. The Hawks are the team to beat.
Buffalo dealt Boston its second regulation loss this season with a 4-2 win. The Sabres scored three times in the third period to get the win with Christian Ehrhoff getting the game-winner at 9:02 of the third. Buffalo goaltender Ryan Miller made 30 saves for the win. Dougie Hamilton had a goal and an assist for Boston in the loss.
SPIN: I wonder what it is about Buffalo that makes them the Kryptonite to the Superman known as the Bruins. It’s hard to say right off what it is but we’ll find the answer. Miller has done a nice job turning it around in goal for Buffalo. He had a run of giving up four goals a night in five straight games. Since then, he’s only given up eight goals in his last four games but has a 2-2 record to show for it since the offense wasn’t there on a couple nights. Miller has finally morphed back into the goaltender you expected when you drafted him and can be deployed as usual. I don’t want to cause a Thomas Vanek Panic (I like that term–coined it) but the superstar for Buffalo hasn’t picked up a point in his last three games. It’s just part of the ebb and flow to the season in my opinion.
The Flyers scored three first-period goals but the Devils picked up four scores in the final 40 minutes to wipe out a 3-1 deficit and post a 5-3 win. David Clarkson picked up his 10th goal of the season for New Jersey. Patrick Elias had a goal and two assists while Ilya Kovalchuk added three assists for the 9-2-3 Devils.
SPIN: The Flyers are starting to remind me of Icarus. They keep trying to fly up to the .500 mark after an 0-3 start to the season and every time they get close to it, their wings fall apart and they crash back down to a couple games under. This loss was the third time this season they could have gotten back to.500 but lost. It looks like it’s time to give Ilya Bryzgalov some quality time on the end of the bench. He’s started every game this season for the Flyers except for one and might be getting worn out. The shot totals he’s facing are average as he’s seen 26 or fewer shots in five of his last six starts. The good news for the Flyers is that they could be a week away from getting Scott Hartnell back. He skated early in the day but will still be a few more games before he gets back in the lineup after suffering a broken foot on January 22.
New Jersey continues to find ways to get it done. They’re ninth in goals per game and power play conversion in addition to being the fifth stingiest defense. The Devils have found the right formula and Martin Brodeur is playing quite well. The Devils have also properly managed his workload where he’s playing no more than four games in a row before having Johan Hedberg give him a night off. Hedberg (2-0-1; 0.65; .973) is quickly becoming one of the few backup goaltenders to have on a roster even more so if you want to handcuff Brodeur.
Pittsburgh picked up its 10th win of the season when they downed the Jets 3-1. Craig Adams scored his first two goals of the season and James Neal tallied his 11th goal on a third-period power play. Andrew Ladd broke the shutout bid of Marc-Andre Fleury when he scored with 1:35 to play in the third.
SPIN: It’s nice to see some of the other Pens step up and make a dent on the score sheet. It’s not always going to be Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Neal carrying the team on offense though all three of them contributed on the power goal that Neal scored. Kris Letang’s assist on Adams’ first-period goal has him riding a six-game point streak. The Pittsburgh power play has connected in seven straight games and has 10 goals on the man advantage in that span.
Winnipeg defenseman Tobias Enstrom left the game about three minutes in when he got checked into the boards by Pascal Dupuis and didn’t return. He suffered an arm or shoulder injury on the play and will be evaluated further today. Enstrom’s loss takes a away a point-per-game defender from the Jets who have the most productive defensemen in the league. This is also going to force Dustin Byfuglien to take on a bigger role if Enstrom is out for an extended period of time, namely on the power play. Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec has been putting up solid efforts for the Jets but isn’t getting consistent support offensively which is why he’s 3-7-1 this season and is a matchup play at best.
Anaheim got a three-goal third period to break open a 2-2 tie and notch a 5-2 win at Detroit. The Ducks have a 10-2-1 mark and are now running after Chicago for the top spot in the league. Andrew Cogliano and Bobby Ryan scored less than a minute apart early in the third period to break the game open. Cogliano also added an empty-netter. Corey Perry had a goal and an assist for the Ducks while Ryan Getzlaf added a pair of assists.
SPIN: Victor Fasth is taking the lead in the waiver-wire pickup of the year category with his seventh straight win to open the season. It looks like the Ducks are really coming together and getting offense out of all of their lines which makes them very dangerous. From a fantasy standpoint, I’d be looking to diversify my team by dumping some of the lower-performing Sharks and getting some Ducks if I can.
Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar each had a goal and an assist for Detroit but neither make enough of an impact to be worth owning right now. The Wings’ stars had a rough night in this one as Henrik Zetterberg, Damien Brunner and Niklas Kronwall each ended up as a -3 on the night.
St. Louis extinguished the Flames 5-2 thanks to a four-goal first period. Alexander Steen had a goal and two assists while David Perron tallied twice for the Blues. Calgary goaltender Leland Irving was yanked allowing two goals on four shots in the first 4:07 and Joey MacDonald came on in relief.
SPIN: The Flames just can’t get going this season. They’ve meandered around the break-even mark and have problems in goal. Irving had a short night between the pipes and the Flames need to really re-think their goaltending situation. They ride Miikka Kiprusoff until he hurt his knee and now they’ve been saddling up on Irving. I could understand them doing this if they were trying to ride the hot hand but at 4-5-3 neither of your hands are warm, let alone hot. Calgary would be better served going to a goaltender-by-committee approach until someone seizes the job. The other thing that’s disappointing about Calgary is the lack of production from Jarome Iginla who has just one goal this season. Will Iginla catch any sort of fire or will this possibly be a lost season for him?
The Blues look to have a solid Plan C in net in Jake Allen as he’s 2-0 so far since getting called up from the AHL. His stay shouldn’t be much longer as Jaroslav Halak should be back from his injury soon and it would be difficult to see Allen unseat Brian Elliott as the backup. Allen was able to help stop the bleeding from a five-game losing streak and the Blues look to be back to where they were earlier this season. Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk continues to shine as he picked up his 13th assist of the season in the win.
Dallas rallied back and knocked off Vancouver 4-3 with three unanswered goals. Cody Eakin’s second of the season brought Dallas back to within a goal late in the second period. Antoine Roussel and Cody Dillon scored in the third period to improve the Stars to 8-6-1. Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist while Henrik Sedin had a pair of assists.
SPIN: The bigger story was that Kari Lehtonen left the game for Dallas during a television timeout in the first period after stopping seven shots and didn’t return. Lehtonen reportedly suffered a dreaded groin injury. Richard Bachman took over between the pipes and was just good enough to keep Dallas in striking range. Lehtonen’s status is up in the air but if he goes down for an extended period of time, this would be a devastating blow to Dallas.
Cory Schenider melted down late in the game for Vancouver and just added more fuel to the fire that says Roberto Luongo should be the number one goaltender for the Canucks the rest of the way. The Sedins are finally starting to pick it up and put points on the board as they combined for four points in this one and eight points in their last three games.
Los Angeles downed Columbus 2-1 in a pillow fight for the Western Conference cellar. Mike Richards’ power play goal in the third period was the game-winner. Nick Foligno’s goal for Columbus broke up the shutout bid of Johnathan Bernier with less than three minutes left.
SPIN: This game bordered on anesthetic. When you put together two teams with poor offenses this is what’s likely to happen. The Kings put a respectable 22 shots on goal while Columbus was able to fire on net 13 times. The Kings are shockingly at .500 at 5-5-2 but trail behind in the West by a wide margin. That is all.
Multliple Goal Scorers
Cogliano-ANA, Adams-PIT, Perron-STL,
Stat of the Night–The First Ink
Pittsburgh has scored first in 12 games this season including all nine of their road games. The Pens are 9-3 when they get the first goal.
Three Stars of the Night
1. Elias Goal and two assists for the Devils
2. Miller Stopped Boston in regulation for the second time this season
3. Adams Scored his first two of the season for the Pens
Saturday’s Schedule (all times ET)
Tampa Bay at Florida 3pm Will the Lightning get back on track against Jose Theodore and the Panthers?
Ottawa at Toronto 7pm These two teams are battling for spots in the top eight of the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia at Montreal 7pm Montreal looks to make it a three-game winning streak.
New Jersey at NY Islanders 7pm Will John Tarvares continue his hot streak?
Columbus at Phoenix 8pm The Blue Jackets have the worst goal differential in the West at -11.
Anaheim at Nashville 8pm What will happen when Fasth and company take on Pekka Rinne?
Colorado at Edmonton 10pm Can the Oilers crawl above .500 against the Avs?