Wild rookie goalie Anton Khudobin, whom Hockey Wilderness affectionately calls “Borat” since he’s from Kazakhstan, stopped all 32 Canucks shots he saw tonight earning his first career NHL shutout. Matt Cullen had a goal and an assist to lead the Wild offense. While Khudobin’s night in goal was a bit of an adventure, he’s clearly the man of the match. The Canucks continue to have issues handling the Wild. Generally it’s Roberto Luongo who can’t solve them, but it was Cory Schneider who couldn’t control them stopping just 21 shots in the loss.
The Rangers might want to stop letting their opponents jump out to big leads before snapping into action. The Flyers got out to a 3-0 lead after two periods thanks to goals from Jeff Carter, Ville Leino, and Mike Richards. Brian Boucher held strong until the middle of the third when Wojtek Wolski and Derek Stepan scored two minutes apart to cut the lead to 3-2, but the Rangers would not even it up. Boucher stopped 34 shots in the win. Rangers forward Marian Gaborik was benched for most of the second period and saw little time late in the game as his goal scoring woes continue. Martin Biron stopped 24 shots in the loss.
It was a banner night for Dave Bolland and Troy Brouwer. Both players had two goals a piece with Bolland having a highlight reel goal of his own to lead the Hawks to victory. Chicago trailed 2-1 after a dreary first period and things got a bit loud in the Hawks locker room between periods to snap out of it. Whatever was said managed to work as Chicago roared to victory the rest of the way. Bryan Bickell added a goal and an assist while Marty Turco made 20 saves to get the win. Anders Lindback stopped 28 shots in the loss while J.P. Dumont had two goals for Nashville.
Teemu Selanne builds on his tremendous NHL legacy. Not only did he score two goals to lead the Ducks to victory over Edmonton, but his first goal was his 1,300th career point. The Finnish superstar is long removed from his days as a 76-goal scoring rookie with the Winnipeg Jets, but his continued ability to contribute at a high level in the NHL past age 40 is amazing. Curtis McElhinney gets the win in goal stopping 25 shots, but had to leave the game in the third period after being cut by a skate. Jonas Hiller made three saves in relief.
The Oilers got goals from Sam Gagner and Magnus Paajarvi but their power play woes continued as they’re haven’t scored in their last 37 opportunities. Their final chance tonight was the most frustrating as they pulled Nikolai Khabibulin late in the game to give them a 6-on-3 advantage which was then a 6-on-2 advantage when Saku Koivu broke his stick. The Oilers managed to not even get a shot away in an attempt to tie the game in the waning seconds.
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
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
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.
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.”
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.