Let’s take a look at the nine “early” games for tonight. We’ll have a summary of the last two tomorrow.
The Flyers moved themselves one point behind the East (and league) leading Washington Capitals after beating the Panthers 5-2. Both Mike Richards and contract-extended Claude Giroux poured two goals on this one, while Scott Hartnell continued his short-haired scoring streak with another goal.
Obviously this isn’t the rivalry it once was – although the Avalanche are starting to get things together by increments – but surely the Red Wings still feel good to beat their foes from Colorado. The other highlight for Detroit fans: Jiri Hudler scored his first regular season goal since the 2008-09 season since he missed last year for cap reasons.
The Maple Leafs provided a valiant effort, but when you’re on what is now an eight-game losing streak, “almost” is basically a slap in the face too. Ryan Kesler posted his second two-goal game of the week in this one.
For a semi-decent team, the Hurricanes sure get blown out a lot. This time the Habs were handing out the beating on the strength of Tomas Plekanec’s four points and Carey Price’s 28 saves. Conversely, Cam Ward was pulled for the second straight game.
The Senators gained revenge on the Bruins for shutting them out at home by shutting them down at home. It’s the golden rule, hockey edition, as Brian Elliott continued his torrid play with a 31-save shutout.
It was the Finally Game tonight: Ryan Miller (finally) came back from his injury, the Buffalo Sabres (finally) won a home game and someone (finally) beat the hotter-than-Brooklyn Decker Capitals. Expect Thomas Vanek’s goal to be on many highlight reels … and maybe our Goal of the Night/Week.
Two games doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things, but for Penguins fans, these two back-to-back wins must be a godsend. Marc-Andre Fleury now has (gasp) two consecutive wins while the notably struggling Evgeni Malkin was involved in every Pittsburgh goal, scoring a hat trick and adding an assist.
Speaking of huge nights for struggling players, how about Ray Whitney. “The Wizard” was involved in all of the Coyotes goals, with a hat trick and two goals. He almost matched his six point season total in one outstanding night.
It might not heal the wounds from the Blackhawks’ hard-fought playoff series win, but my guess is that the Predators relish every little victory against their division rivals. Pekka Rinne slightly out-dueled Marty Turco in a game that went to the wire via the shootout.