Nightly recap – Tuesday, October 19th

Boston 3 – Washington 1

The Bruins and Tim Thomas continue to stay hot after taking out Washington at Verizon Center in D.C. 3-1. Milan Lucic became the NHL’s second player to record a Gordie Howe hat trick, getting a goal, an assist and a fight with John Erskine. Tim Thomas made 35 saves in the win, meanwhile the Caps saw starting goalie Michal Neuvirth leave the game in the first period after feeling ill. Giving up two goals on seven shots couldn’t have helped. Semyon Varlamov replaced him to see his first action of the year, stopping 13 of 14.

Calgary 1 – Nashville 0 (F/OT)

It was one heck of a return to action for Rene Bourque of the Flames as he scored in overtime to give Calgary the win. Bourque had missed the Flames’ previous two games with a concussion. Meanwhile, it appears that early reports of the demise of the Flames were not only incorrect but also hilariously dumb for being written just a few games into the season. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped all 34 shots he saw, earning him his first shutout of the season. Pekka Rinne also made his return to the Preds lineup tonight and saved 34 shots in the hard-luck loss.

Minnesota 6 – Vancouver 2

While this game will get talked about more for Canucks forward Rick Rypien going after a fan, lost in all of it is the Wild continuing their dominance over Roberto Luongo in Minnesota. Six different goal scorers got on the board for the Wild, meanwhile Daniel Sedin had both goals for the Canucks. Marek Zidlicky had a goal and two assists for Minnesota while goalie Niklas Backstrom stopped 25 shots in the win. Luongo, meanwhile, gave up all six goals in just two periods of work while saving just 12 shots. That’s good for a .667 save percentage. Yuck. Cory Schneider stopped six shots in the third period in relief.

Carolina 5 – San Jose 2

While some Carolina players aren’t too happy with their never-ending road trip to start the season, their play on the ice seems to say they’re OK with it. Five different Hurricanes potted goals while Cam Ward was his ho-hum self stopping 41 shots in earning the Canes the win. Antti Niemi looked a bit flustered in stopping just 26 shots in the loss. Chad LaRose had a goal and two assists for Carolina, meanwhile Patrick Marleau scored both goals for San Jose.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

Chicago Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov (15) scores a goal against Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the overtime period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.