Nightly recap – Monday, October 18

Tonight was a night in which individual hot streaks continued while team-based winning streaks hit a few walls. Let’s take a look at the five contests.

Pittsburgh 5, Ottawa 2

It’s hard to ignore Brent Johnson’s hot start to at this point, as he improved his record to 4-0 on the season. Of course, the Penguins made life easier for him by giving him a nice cushion, taking a 3-0 first period lead and finishing the second up 5-1. While it’s not shocking to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin light up the scoreboard, the hottest Pen might just be relatively unknown youngster Mark Letestu, whose one goal, one assist game added to his impressive 2010-11 season totals of four goals and seven points in this young season. If Letestu can even end up being a 20-goal scorer for Pittsburgh, they’ll have the kind of supplemental scoring the winger-weak team needs so badly.

Colorado 3, NY Rangers 1

The Rangers are ailing without key forwards Chris Drury, Vaclav Prospal and (wait for it) Marian Gaborik, but they were playing against an Avalanche team that was wrapping up a challenging road trip. Chris Stewart is one of the hottest scorers in the league right now; he leads Colorado with five goals after scoring two on the powerplay tonight, continuing his three-game goal scoring streak. Craig Anderson out-dueled Henrik Lundqvist in this one as both netminders compiled 31 saves but Anderson only allowed one.

Could it be a long season for the Rangers?

NY Islanders 2, Toronto 1 (OT)

Read all about the Leafs’ first loss of the season here.

Tampa Bay 5, Dallas 4

Discussion of the Stars’ discouraging first loss of 10-11 can be found in this post.

Chicago 3, St. Louis 2 (OT)

This one is going to burn the Blues for a while, yet it shows that you cannot ever count the Blackhawks out of a game. Not when they have skilled players on hot streaks such as Marian Hossa (the NHL leader in goals after scoring his sixth and seventh of the year to get Chicago to OT) and Patrick Sharp (whose tap-in goal in OT gives him three consecutive game-winning goals).

Both goalies were pretty strong, with Marty Turco getting the better of Jaroslav Halak. David Perron scored the game’s two goals and had a few other promising opportunities in this one, too. We’ll see if the Blues regret giving up this 2-0 third period lead later on this season, or if it’s a good lesson for a young team.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.

Kings grab goalie insurance by signing Budaj

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 22: Jhonas Enroth #1 and Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings stretch before a game against the Arizona Coyotes at STAPLES Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NHLI via Getty Images)
via Los Angeles Kings
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In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.

The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.

At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.

As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.

The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.

All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.