Joe probably said it best when he tabbed tonight’s game as a possible “trap game” for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The hapless New York Islanders gave them a serious scare, managing to gain a brief 3-2 lead and pushing the red-hot Blue Jackets to overtime. Ultimately, though, the story remained the same: Columbus stayed hot while the Long Island gang remains without a precious “W.”
The Islanders are now dangerously close to that 17 game losing streak we discussed before, as they’ve gone 14 games without a win.
Columbus 4, NY Islanders 3 (OT)
Once again, Rick DiPietro kept his team in the game but couldn’t win it in overtime. He stopped 34 out of 38 shots, but couldn’t nab that final Jakub Voracek attempt in extra time.
Mathieu Garon continued to be the best backup this side of Brent Johnson, improving his 2010-11 record to 6-1 while allowing three goals, tied for the most he allowed all season long.
The best sign for the Blue Jackets might be that they won without a great performance by Rick Nash, who was held off the scoreboard and had a -2 rating. Instead, they scored by committee, with R.J. Umberger and Antoine Vermette leading the way with a goal and an assist each. Trent Hunter was arguably the best skater for the Islanders, also earning a goal and an assist.
The Red Wings still hold a marginal lead (really just a game in hand) on the Blue Jackets, but they are absolutely nipping at Detroit’s heels. The Central Division leaders dropped a 5-1 game to the Atlanta Thrashers, so their lead is razor thin as the two teams ready for a big (at least, at this point in this season) home-and-home series.
Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?
Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.
Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.
Official update on the really important story of the evening:
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.
Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.
The Dallas Stars grabbed the all-important first goal in Game 1 against the St. Louis Blues on Friday. And it was agitating forward Antoine Roussel who capitalized in the second period.
Roussel buried a rebound at the end of a pretty passing play from the Stars. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was furious, as defenseman Jay Bouwmeester slid into the crease in an attempt to block the shot.
After stunning the Anaheim Ducks with a Game 7 win in the first round, the Nashville Predators remain in California to take on the San Jose Sharks in the second round. You can catch Game 1 on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Sharks have some ‘pent up energy,’ eager to start series with Preds
Game 7 win is ‘a big step’ for Predators