Nightly recap – October 14

Let’s take a look at the five “earlier” games that took place today. We’ll cover the Florida-Calgary contest tomorrow morning.

Ottawa 3, Carolina 2

The Senators managed to win this one despite being shaken up by the injury of their starting goalie, Pascal Leclaire. Then again, Ottawa may secretly benefit from Leclaire’s departure, as I discussed here.

Mike “Mr. Underwood” Fisher scored two goals for Ottawa, including the game-winner on the power-play. Eric Staal scored one goal and assisted on returning forward Sergei Samsonov’s power-play tally and Cam Ward put up a great performance, but it wasn’t enough to keep Ottawa from earning their first win of the season.

Tampa Bay 3, Philadelphia 2

Sure, it absolutely is early, but the Lightning look like they might justify some of the “most improved in hockey” hype they received this summer. They survived being out-shot 15-4 in the first period (leaving it tied 1-1) and Steve Stamkos scored yet again to prove that last season was far from a fluke.

Nashville 4, St. Louis 3

Despite being out-shot 35-22, Anders Lindback and the Predators managed to beat another Central Division foe in regulation. Steve Sullivan is hot so far this season (four goals in only three games) while Cal O’Reilly put up an impressive three assists to help Nashville win this one.

Dallas 4, Detroit 1

What was supposed to be a stomach-turning night in Dallas turned into a feel-good evening. Stars fans cheered for returning hero Mike Modano despite his presence in a Red Wings jersey then cheered an impressive win for their team, as Brad Richards scored one goal and two assists while Mike Ribeiro and Brenden Morrow seem like they’ve found a time machine to the 2008-09 season. Sadly, Chris Osgood appears to be in his “regular season form,” allowing four goals on only 15 shots.

Minnesota 4, Edmonton 2

Niklas Backstrom is now 13-0 against the Oilers in Minnesota, as he stopped 24 out of 26 shots to help the Wild win. Mikko Koivu continued his strong start to the season with a dominant performance, scoring two goals and one assist – all on the man advantage. The Wild powerplay was the real star of the show, though, going 4-for-6 on the night.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.