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Riding the Zamboni – Sunday, January 2nd

Philadelphia 3 – Detroit 2

It had been 22 years since the Flyers last won in Detroit. The last time the Flyers won in Detroit, Ron Hextall was the main man in goal and Tim Kerr was an offensive force to be reckoned with back in November 1988. This time around it was Brian Boucher getting it done in goal while James van Riemsdyk, Dan Carcillo, and Scott Hartnell added the offense to beat Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings. The Wings mounted a threat in the third thanks to sitting Howard in favor of Chris Osgood and goals from Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg but couldn’t finish the job.

Atlanta 4 – Montreal 3 (F/OT)

Vancouver 2 – Colorado 1

Vancouver jumped to the top of the standings in the NHL by taking out a less-than edgy Colorado team. Alexandre Bolduc scored his first career goal and Mason Raymond added the eventual game-winner. Roberto Luongo held strong in goal stopping 31 shots. Paul Stastny scored late in the third to give the Avs some hope but it wouldn’t pan out.

Anaheim 2 – Chicago 1

A game without captains sees Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller steal the show. Hiller stopped 39 shots on his way to victory and kept the mostly punchless Ducks offense in position to win with just a couple of goals. Andreas Lilja scored his first goal while Corey Perry scored his 21st of the year.

Florida 3 – NY Rangers 0

It was just one of those nights for the Rangers and when you go up against Tomas Vokoun when he’s hot it makes for a long night. Vokoun stopped all 32 shots he saw in earning his fifth shutout of the season. David Booth, Chris Higgins, and Stephen Weiss each had a goal for Florida. Meanwhile, the Rangers offense has evaporated in Florida scoring just one goal against the Lightning and Panthers on this road trip.

Dallas 4 – St. Louis 2

The Stars used a big third period to take out the Blues. A three goal third period was kicked off by Brenden Morrow scoring his second goal of the game followed by Brad Richards and James Neal capping it off to give Dallas the win. Kari Lehtonen bounced back nicely stopping 28 shots in the win. Jaroslav Halak was a bit unlike himself stopping just 23 shots.

Nashville 4 – Columbus 1

Sometimes all it takes is the captain to step up and that’s what Shea Weber did tonight. Weber had a goal and two assists to lead the Predators to their second straight win. After going through such a slump before dropping five games in a row, back-to-back 4-1 wins is the kind of confidence boost the Preds needed, especially against a divisional foe.

Minnesota 6 – Phoenix 5 (F/OT)

A crazy, back and forth game ends with the Wild pulling out a rather improbable victory. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored with 26 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. In overtime, Cam Barker would win it for Minnesota just 46 seconds into the extra session. Mikko Koivu topped the game with four assists while Andrew Brunette had two goals and an assist while Brent Burns had a goal and two assists. With each team having dueling meltdowns, it’s a gut-punch of a loss for Phoenix who stormed back into the game to tie it at 3-3 in the third and then lunged ahead 5-4 later in the period after trading goals with the Wild.

Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

VANCOUVER, BC - NOVEMBER 15: Goalie Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers shares a laugh with teammate Antti Raanta #32 after defeating the Vancouver Canucks 7-2 in NHL action on November 15, 2016 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
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If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.

Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 01:  Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by his teammates after scoring the go ahead goal against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on December 1, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.

For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.

They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.

Columbus is now at 16-5-4, giving them 36 standings points. They’re once again in breathing distance of leading the Metro Division when you consider games in hand.

Update: Here’s how the standings look after the Rangers beat the Blackhawks 1-0 in overtime:

1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

That’s a stout division, and the Blue Jackets remain shockingly effective. Then again, with results like these over and over again, it might be time to merely expect such impressive work.

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For Detroit, it was a rough night. Jonathan Ericsson couldn’t play, Mike Green was a little banged up and Petr Mrazek was pulled for Jimmy Howard. This goal summarized some of their struggles:

Blues blaze through Devils, even in New Jersey

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 09: (L-R) Brad Hunt #77, Robby Fabbri #15 and Vladimir Tarasenko #91 of the St. Louis Blues celebrate Fabri's first period goal against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 9, 2016 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.

On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.

It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.

This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.

That’s impressive stuff.

This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:

The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”

Oh yeah, don’t forget about Jake Allen, either.

Leon Draisaitl continues hot streak with silky smooth goal (Video)

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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”

Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).

Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.

Read more about his rise here.

Update: The Wild were able to shake off that goal, ultimately beating the Oilers 3-2 via a shootout.