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Riding the Zamboni – Monday, December 27th

To read about Chris Osgood’s 400th win (and the outstanding performance that allowed him to earn it), click here.

Here are summaries of Monday’s other five games.

NY Rangers 7, NY Islanders 2

Apparently the Rangers wanted to make sure that Dwayne Roloson won’t receive two straight player of the week awards. They scored seven goals by firing an astounding 52 shots at Rolo, scoring six unanswered goals after the Islanders took a 2-1 lead midway through the first period.

Plenty of Rangers pitched in, but Matt Gilroy (two goals), Brian Boyle (one goal and two assists) and Brandon Dubinsky (one goal and one assist) probably had the strongest games.

Boston 3, Florida 2 (SO)

Scott Clemmensen was very good in this game (40 out of 42 saves), but like many other goalies this season, he just couldn’t top Tim Thomas for the win. Blake Wheeler scored a goal in regulation and also earned the only shootout tally of either team with an odd score while David Krejci provided Boston’s two other goals.

David Booth and Mike Santorelli provided Florida’s goals while Michael Frolik had two assists. (Clearly, the team just isn’t the same without Stanley C. Panther at full strength.)

Columbus 4, Minnesota 3 (SO)

Earlier today, I wrote that tonight marked a great opportunity for Steve Mason to earn his starting job back with the Blue Jackets. If it indeed is a chance for him to be the top guy again, then he nailed his audition. Mason stopped 37 shots while Jose Theodore struggled (19 out of 22 saves, 0 for 3 in the shootout) to help Columbus earn a much-needed victory tonight.

Perhaps the team still waxes and wanes with the performances of Mason and Rick Nash, as the talented power forward scored a shootout goal and notched two assists to help his team rise above its “pee wee” status from last week.

Calgary 5, Buffalo 2

The Sabres didn’t start their tough “boomerang” schedule off very well with a loss against the Flames tonight. After Drew Stafford gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead, Calgary scored the game’s next four goals to flatten their unfamiliar opponents. Don’t look now, but widely lampooned center Olli Jokinen is on a hot streak all of a sudden. He has six goals in his last nine games since returning to the team’s top line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay.

Los Angeles 4, San Jose 0

The Kings might not have the Pacific Division lead yet – they’re one point behind the Stars with one game in hand – but tonight’s performance gives them the best goal differential in the West with +28.

Antti Niemi kept Los Angeles off the board for the first two periods by making 30 saves, but the Kings would not be denied in an impressive four goal final frame. Marco Sturm scored his first goal with L.A. against the team that drafted him, Jonathan Quick earned a 24-save shutout, Dustin Brown scored two goals and Anze Kopitar had three helpers as the team beat their cross-state rivals in San Jose.

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.