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.

Early thoughts – and praise – for Capitals landing Kevin Shattenkirk

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Jaws dropped around the hockey world when news broke that the Washington Capitals landed Kevin Shattenkirk in a blockbuster trade. Heads were then scratched as people tried to make sense of the “conditions” of a conditional second-rounder involved in the move.

With a little time for the smoke to clear and with the assets revealed, here are some scattered thoughts.

PHT will likely cover more of the fallout on Tuesday and beyond, though, so stay tuned.

Brian MacLellan deserves consideration as a top GM

Judging an executive can be really tricky; while a GM of the Year award is easy to justify, it’s also easy to mock. Even the best managers inherit a roster (aside from MacLellan’s predecessor George McPhee, who will build one in Vegas), so you have to credit some successes to the guy who came before.

And, yes, McPhee helped put together a core that includes Alex Ovechkin, Braden Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom.

Even so, MacLellan evokes Stan Bowman in masterfully adding tremendous electrons to a fantastic nucleus.

He added Matt Niskanen (and, admittedly, flubbed it with Brooks Orpik) to beef up a defense to help the shrewd hiring of Barry Trotz as head coach. Trotz seems like he’s ending what was a busy procession of shaky bench bosses.

MacLellan really nailed it the next summer, trading for T.J. Oshie and signing Justin Williams to a bargain deal. A year later, the Capitals added a fantastic third-line center option in Lars Eller via a smart trade.

And now this. It’s not clear where Kevin Shattenkirk will fit in the Capitals’ lineup, but either way, he boosts an already formidable group.

Misc.

Let’s lightning round some other thoughts.

  • Scottie Upshall joked about all the one-timers Shattenkirk is primed to set up for Alex Ovechkin … but he has a point.
  • It’s difficult to imagine the Capitals re-signing Shattenkirk, putting continued emphasis on the talk of Washington being in the last season of a “two-year window” to make their greatest push for a Stanley Cup. At the same time, there aren’t a lot of problem contracts beyond Orpik’s in Washington, so the plus side is that MacLellan can also show how he might be Bowman-like in making the right calls in who to bring back. Make no mistake about it, getting Shattenkirk is about now, not later.
  • Oh yeah the Capitals also got a nice sneaky bonus in landing Pheonix Copley, who better have the nickname “typo.”

All things considered, it’s no surprise that the Capitals are excited.

There’s at least a chance Shattenkirk might be able to suit up for Washington as soon as Tuesday’s game against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden, but either way, this sure looks like a slam dunk.

Wild just wouldn’t stay down, edge Kings in OT

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Don’t blame Ben Bishop if, deep down, he was glad that he didn’t make his Los Angeles Kings debut on Monday.

After seeing the kind of speed, drive and all-around electric play displayed by the Minnesota Wild, you can understand a goalie shuddering at the often wide-open action. Despite falling behind four times against the Kings, the Wild ultimately edged Los Angeles 5-4 in an overtime thriller.

Mikael Granlund‘s 20th goal of the season ended it in OT, and quickly. And it was beautiful:

…. Unless you’re Jonathan Quick and the Kings, that is.

Granlund is absolutely on fire right now.

Ryan White made a great first impression for the Wild, scoring a goal and an assist (while displaying great flow). Martin Hanzal wasn’t able to score, though he did make his presence felt with five hits. And, again, Bishop might have secretly been relieved to put his Kings debut on hold.

Marian Gaborik turned back the clock a bit to his Wild prime, scoring a goal and an assist. He generally made quite a bit happen for Los Angeles.

It was a tough one for Anze Kopitar, meanwhile, who was unable to generate offense and suffered a -3. He wasn’t able to stop Granlund in OT, though who could?

The Wild still must worry as mumps sidelined at least Zach Parise and Jason Pominville, but for now, they’re battling on. Just ask the Kings how resilient this group really is.

Sell this: Kucherov, Lightning put trades behind them, blast Senators

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The Tampa Bay Lightning might be in sell mode, but that doesn’t mean their players are quitting on this season.

After shipping Ben Bishop and Brian Boyle out of town, they could have rolled over against a hungry Ottawa Senators team. Instead, they blew them out, winning 5-1 on Monday.

Nikita Kucherov was the biggest standout, collecting a natural hat trick, which you can watch above. (He also generated an assist.)

Jonathan Drouin had a big night in his own right, assisting on all three of Kucherov’s goals. Victor Hedman and Tyler Johnson generated two assists apiece, as well.

And, yes, Andrei Vasilevskiy inspired at least a few “Ben who?” jokes by making 39 out of 40 saves, including this beauty:

As you can see, Ottawa actually had a 1-0 lead at that point, so it could have been a different game if the agile goalie did do the splits there.

The Lightning are still five points out of the final wild card spot, trailing Boyle’s new team in the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Senators, meanwhile, find themselves slipping a bit out of the race to win the Atlantic Division, especially considering Montreal’s comeback win against New Jersey.

Tampa Bay may may not be done making moves and recognizing painful truth that the odds are against them rallying to a playoff spot. That said, nights like these make you wonder if a run is at least possible.

Canadiens’ big guns trigger comeback OT win against Devils

NEWARK, NJ - FEBRUARY 27:  Max Pacioretty #67 of the Montreal Canadiens celebrates the game winning power play goal by Alex Galchenyuk #27 at 2:54 of overtrime against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on February 27, 2017 in Newark, New Jersey.  The Canadiens defeated the Devils 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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Things were looking a little grim there for the Montreal Canadiens on Monday.

The New Jersey Devils had, at one point, a 2-0 lead. At least in some corners there were murmurs about a bad start for Claude Julien. Then their big guns swung the game.

The comeback started with Alex Radulov, though the drama was just beginning:

Travis Zajac made it 3-1 for the Devils on the power play, only for Radulov to assist on two Max Pacioretty goals to send the game to overtime.

From there, Alex Galchenyuk scored the overtime-winner for Montreal on the man advantage. Radulov got yet another secondary assist – he ended up with four points tonight – while Shea Weber nabbed the primary helpers on the last two tallies.

Long story short, the Canadiens biggest names came through, allowing Julien to maybe utther a sigh of relief.