Alexander Semin, Chris Mason

Nightly recap – Saturday, October 23rd

A busy night around the NHL and we’ll take you around faster than Doc Brown’s DeLorean can get you to the year 2015. Either guys were lighting it up with hat tricks, or shutting it down via shutout in goal. It was just one of those nights.

Washington 4 – Atlanta 3 (F/OT)

An up and down game for both teams saw the Caps come out on top in overtime. Alex Semin scored a natural hat trick for the Caps, meanwhile Tomas Fleischmann scored the game-winner in OT. Evander Kane did everything in his power to lead Atlanta scoring a pair of goals of his own.

NY Rangers 3 – Boston 2

Tuukka Rask got his first start in two weeks and… It looked like he hadn’t played in two weeks, something the Rangers were happy to take advantage of getting goals from Artem Anisimov, Alex Frolov, and Marc Staal. Henrik Lundqvist was stellar stopping 35 in the win. Zdeno Chara and Nathan Horton had the goals for Boston.

Montreal 3 – Ottawa 0

Andrei Kostitsyn carried the offense for the Habs netting two goals, meanwhile it wasn’t a bad night to be Carey Price as he lead the way for Montreal with a 19-save shutout.  Brian Elliott stopped 31 shots in the loss for Ottawa who continues to struggle.

Buffalo 6 – New Jersey 1

It was just a bad night for New Jersey who saw their horrible on-ice performance overshadowed by Ilya Kovalchuk being scratched from the lineup by head coach John MacLean. Meanwhile, the Sabres on a roll getting two goals from Thomas Vanek and goals each from Patrick Kaleta, Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, and Tyler Ennis. Devils starter Johan Hedberg was chased in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots.

Philadelphia 5 – Toronto 2

Another tough game for the Maple Leafs in what could be a breakout game for the Flyers. Five different scorers got on the board for Philly while the Leafs own inability to handle the puck kept them from getting things going. Mike Richards broke out of his goalless slump for Philly, meanwhile Clarke MacArthur scored his sixth goal of the year for Toronto.

Florida 4 – NY Islanders 3

The Islanders got everything they could ask for out of John Tavares as he had a hat trick, but the Panthers stayed strong despite his best efforts to foil them. Four different Panthers got on the board but it was Radek Dvorak who netted the game-winner late in the third.

Detroit 5 – Anaheim 4

A wild, back-and-forth game in Detroit saw the Wings come out on top thanks to Pavel Datsyuk’s late third period snipe with 12 seconds left to play to decide the game. Expect there to be some talk about another big hit from Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall who leveled Teemu Selanne early in the game with a hit being looked at as questionable. Selanne wasn’t hurt on the play and Kronwall wasn’t penalized, but Anaheim players aren’t happy with the play. Henrik Zetterberg had two goals for Detroit in the win.

St. Louis 1 – Pittsburgh 0 (F/OT)

Jaroslav Halak was the hero of the night for St. Louis pitching a 31-save shutout to beat the Penguins. Pittsburgh has had about their fill of Halak after it was Halak and the Canadiens who knocked them out of the playoffs in the second round in seven games. We’re sure they’re happy he’s taking up residence in the Western Conference now. Erik Johnson scored the game-winning goal 50 seconds into overtime to win it for the Blues. Brent Johnson did his part in goal for Pittsburgh stopping 23 in the loss.

Nashville 1 – Dallas 0

Cal O’Reilly scored 42 seconds into the game and that’s all the Predators would need to beat Dallas. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, was outstanding stopping 30 shots in earning the shutout. Kari Lehtonen stopped 23 shots in the loss for Dallas.

Columbus 3 – Chicago 2

The Blue Jackets were able to overcome an early 2-0 Chicago lead to take out the Blackhawks. The Jackets saw the game turn when Troy Brouwer took a five-minute major for boarding late in the second period. The penalty came just seven seconds after Derick Brassard got Columbus on the board for the first time. Early in the third with the man advantage, R.J. Umberger tipped home a shot to tie the game at 2-2 and Columbus turned that momentum into victory when Antoine Vermette scored his first goal of the year. Steve Mason stopped 30 shots in the win while Corey Crawford stopped 37 in the loss.

Los Angeles 6 – Colorado 4

A wild and somewhat ugly game that saw Colorado’s Scott Hannan leave the game with a head injury in the second period, L.A.’s Wayne Simmonds get a game misconduct in the third for a butt-ending major penalty, and L.A.’s Brad Richardson netting a hat trick to lead the Kings to victory. Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk had two goals each for Colorado, meanwhile Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored for the Kings.

Carolina 4 – Phoenix 3 (F/OT)

The Hurricanes continue to play the role of road warriors, this time taking out the Coyotes in Glendale. Anton Babchuk’s tip-in goal in overtime gave the Hurricanes the victory. It wasn’t all easy though as the Hurricanes did lead 3-0 at one point. Kyle Turris lead the charge for Phoenix scoring twice and assisting on Scottie Upshall’s goal that made it 3-3. The game made it to overtime thanks to the big play of Phoenix’s Ilya Bryzgalov who saved 37 shots in the loss. Cam Ward was pretty good too stopping 36 shots in the win.

San Jose 6 – Edmonton 1

The Oilers thought they were off to a good start when Jordan Eberle scored shorthanded just 1:22 into the game, but things went downhill fast after that. Dany Heatley scored late in the first to tie it and the Sharks wore down Edmonton from that point on with Joe Pavelski leading the charge with a goal and two assists. Joe Thornton had three assists for San Jose as well.

Penguins keep pace with Rangers on top of Metro

SUNRISE, FL - DECEMBER 08: Bryan Rust #17 of the Pittsburgh Penguins takes a shot on Roberto Luongo #1 of the Florida Panthers during a game  at BB&T Center on December 8, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Sidney Crosby is tied for the NHL goal-scoring lead, and the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins are tied atop the division.

They certainly impressed the struggling Florida Panthers and their new coach.

Sidney Crosby got his 18th goal and added an assist to lead the Penguins over the Panthers 5-1 on Thursday night.

Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl, Matt Cullen and Carl Hagelin also scored for Pittsburgh. Matt Murray made 28 saves.

The Penguins have won four straight, scoring 24 goals in the process. Pittsburgh had a 3-0 lead on five shots less than eight minutes in.

“It was nice to start with the lead. It was kind of weird the way things worked out,” Crosby said. “We didn’t have many shots, but we had a few goals right off the bat.”

Jaromir Jagr scored his 755th career goal, and Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots for the Panthers.

Panthers interim coach Tom Rowe, who replaced Gerard Gallant on Nov. 28, made his home debut. The Panthers have lost five of six under Rowe, but managed a point in three of those losses.

“I thought we showed them way too much respect in the beginning of the game. We were back on our heels a little bit,” Rowe said. “Obviously, they’ve got two of the best players in the world and I think it could have intimidated some of our younger guys a little bit.”

The Panthers have lost six of seven.

“It’s a work in progress, I guess,” Rowe said. “We’ve still got a lot of young guys in the lineup.”

Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead on Crosby’s goal 3:06 in. Crosby snapped a wrist shot from above the right circle that got through several Florida defenders and past Luongo.

Crosby is tied with Boston’s David Pastrnak for the NHL lead in goals.

“With us, we knew that they were going to be motivated,” Crosby said. “They’ve played a lot of close games lately, a lot of overtime games. When you get a new coach, everybody is trying to prove themselves. I think we expected a pretty tough game. It was just nice to get that kind of start.”

The Penguins extended their lead to 2-0 on Sheary’s tally. The initial shot by Sheary missed the net, but the puck came off the end boards and into the crease and was inadvertently kicked across the goal line by Luongo at 4:51. Crosby had an assist on the goal.

“(Crosby) is always the guy that takes the lead,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “His line gets us a couple goals early on and gets us the lead and speaks volumes for the leadership he displays night in and night out.”

Pittsburgh stretched the score to 3-0 when Scott Wilson‘s shot from the right circle deflected off Kuhnhackl and into the net at 7:34. The Panthers unsuccessfully challenged the goal, claiming Kuhnhackl interfered with Luongo.

The Panthers closed to 3-1 on Jagr’s power-play goal. Aleksander Barkov passed from below the right circle to Jagr in the slot, and his one-timer beat Murray at 6:17 of the second.

Cullen gave the Penguins a 4-1 lead at 5:48 of the third when he grabbed a rebound in front and put the puck between the pads of Luongo.

Hagelin added an empty-net goal with 32.9 seconds left to make the score 5-1.

Notes: The Penguins have gone 6-0-2 in their past eight games against the Panthers. … The Penguins sent LW Jake Guentzel and D Derrick Pouliot to AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. … Jagr has 1,882 points, putting him six behind Mark Messier for second place on the career list. … Panthers C Jonathan Marchessault missed his third game with a lower-body injury. … Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield attended the game.

UP NEXT:

Penguins: Visit Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday night.

Panthers: Host Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

It’s probably too early for Predators to worry about Rinne, right?

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 26:  Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators looks on during the first period of a game against the Anaheim Ducks  at Honda Center on October 26, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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December hasn’t been kind to November’s player of the month so far.

Pekka Rinne helped hold the Nashville Predators together when they struggled early and then was there for their recent ascent, but coming into this season, many expected him to be a weakness for his team.

Especially worried types might wonder if “that” Rinne is returning after a tough Thursday performance in the Dallas Stars’ eventual 5-2 win against the Predators.

Rinne allowed four goals on 18 shots before being taken out of the game about six minutes into the second period. One of his best moments was this bit of unintentional comedy:

All kidding aside, it’s been a rough run lately, even if the sample size is small enough that it would be silly to panic.

While he did grab a win during this span, Rinne’s now allowed 12 goals in his last four games. That’s happened on 68 shots on goal, so he’d have a .823 save percentage for this span.

During his magnificent month of November, he generated an awe-inspiring .949 save percentage over 12 games.

Such a staggering disparity shows how wildly a goalie’s stats can swing thanks to an off night or two.

It would be foolish to overreact, but it’s a situation to watch as the Predators hope to round into a legitimate contender out West.

Max Pacioretty had a good, painful reason for his goal slump

MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 12:  Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens takes a shot during the warmup prior to the NHL game against the Detroit Red Wings at the Bell Centre on November 12, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Detroit Red Wings 5-0.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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If your reaction to Max Pacioretty‘s relative struggles in November was to call him “soft,” you might want to backtrack right about now.

Sportsnet’s Eric Engels reported and Michel Therrien later confirmed that Pacioretty had been playing through the previous month with a broken foot (hairline fracture to be precise). That foot is healed up, allegedly.

It’s easy to look at his split stats and say, “Yeah, that explains it.”

October: two goals, seven points in nine games
November: three goals, eight points in 14 games
December: three goals, four points in four games, including a tally in Thursday’s 5-2 win against the Devils.

Either way, with Greg Pateryn added to an injury list that includes David Desharnais and Alex Galchenyuk, the Habs have to commend their captain for gritting his teeth through what must have been an agonizing month.

Then again, with his “Wolverine” healing powers, maybe it wasn’t as bad as it sounds …

McDavid accuses ‘classless’ Manning of injuring him on purpose

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Connor McDavid is usually as bland in interviews as he is exhilarating on the ice. Maybe you just need to rattle his cage like Brandon Manning apparently did during Thursday’s eventual Flyers win.

The accusation is serious: McDavid believes that Manning injured him on purpose during that memorable crash into the boards from last season. (You can try to give it the Zapruder treatment in the video above.)

Basically, McDavid claims that Manning essentially said that he intended to hurt the Edmonton Oilers star.

Some key quotes in case you’d rather just read them:

“I did all I could defending him last year in the media,” McDavid said. “Everyone wanted to make a big deal saying he did it on purpose. And he made some comments today about what went on last year and I thought it was one of the most classless things I’ve ever seen on the ice.

” … I guess we can put the whole if he did it on purpose thing to rest because what he said out there kinda confirmed that.”

Wow.

Manning, for his part, denied the accusation:

Could it be trash talk to get under McDavid’s skin? No. 97 certainly looked a little extra motivated during this celebration.

(Apparently McDavid was “chirping” the Flyers all night.)

Whether the truth is on McDavid’s side, Manning’s side or somewhere in between, there’s clearly some bad blood. In case you’re wondering, yes, the two teams play one more time this season (on Feb. 16).

CSN Philly has more.