Preseason quick recaps: September 25th's late games

Last night, we covered the first 10 Saturday games here. There was quite the flurry of activity, with Evgeni Malkin fighting Rick Nash, Carey Price self-destructing (irrelevantly) again and so on. Did the remaining four later games bring some fireworks too? Let’s recap those games right now.

Calgary 5, Tampa Bay 4 (SO)

Plus: Ales Kotalik succeeded in acting like a useful player for once, scoring one goal and two assists in regulation before potting the shootout winner. T.J. Brodie scored two goals and has the kind of name you’d think would be used in “Role Models” while Mark Giordano produced three assists. The Lightning’s big guns showed up big with Vincent Lecavalier (two goals), Martin St. Louis (three assists), Steven Stamkos (one goal, one assist) and Simon Gagne (one goal) all producing something.

Minus: Brodie didn’t get a early SO chance even after scoring two goals. This game won’t exactly heal those Ruslan Fedetenko-created Game 7 Stanley Cup finals wounds.

Vancouver 4, Anaheim 1

Plus: The Sedin twins put out identical efforts (one goal and one assist each), while the Canucks power play was an efficient two for four. Roberto Luongo had a nice game (fueled by his new style?), only allowing one out of 29 shots to go in.

Minus: With Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry getting the night off, the next best Ducks had a bad night; Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and Lubomir Visnovsky combined for a -6 rating.

Phoenix 2, San Jose 1 (part I)

Plus: It was the Radim Vrbata show, with the only-comfortable-in-Phoenix forward scoring both goals on the power play. Newcomer Ray Whitney earned the first assist on both Vrbata goals. Both Thomas Griess (28 for 30 saves) and Ilya Bryzgalov (21 of 22 saves) acquitted themselves nicely last night.

Minus: I just typed “the Radim Vrbata show.”

San Jose 3, Phoenix 1 (part II)

Plus: Both Patrick Marleau and Dany Heatley put one goal and one assist each while Coyotes captain Shane Doan scored a power-play goal. Antti Niemi posted a solid game, stopping 18 out of 19 shots in just under two periods of play.

Minus: These split-scrimmage games will be obnoxious until NHL teams openly label one squad the “junior varsity.” Insert any New York Islanders/Florida Panthers jokes here.

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    Patrick Kane’s streak hits 19 games, setting a new American record

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    When it comes to point streaks for U.S.-born NHL players, Patrick Kane now stands alone.

    With a power-play goal early in Saturday’s Blackhawks – Kings game, Kane extended his streak to 19 games, breaking a tie with Phil Kessel and Eddie Olczyk (who finished with at least a point in 18 straight).

    As of this writing, Kane has 11 goals and 19 assists during this 19-game streak. He also leads the NHL in scoring.

    Bobby Hull’s 21-game point streak stands as the Chicago Blackhawks’ overall team record, by the way.

    So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?


    You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

    Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

    “Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

    Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

    Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

    It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

    Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

    On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

    It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

    * – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

    Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

    Mike Condon, John Moore,
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    If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

    The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

    After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

    If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

    Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

    Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

    Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

    If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

    “Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

    The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

    Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

    With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

    Measuring stick stretch begins

    Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

    This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

    It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

    In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.