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Riding the Zamboni – Tuesday, January 18th

Boston 3 – Carolina 2

It wasn’t the 7-0 blowout they had on Monday, but it was still Tim Thomas’ show to behold. This time around it wouldn’t be a shutout but rather a 43-save effort to make sure the Bruins came away with two points. Thomas’ ridiculous night in goal might be a one-game highlight reel why he’ll have a shot at being the runaway winner of the Vezina Trophy this year. While the Hurricanes played much better than they did yesterday, Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose’s goals wouldn’t be enough. Johnny Boychuk earned his first goal of the season for Boston while Milan Lucic got his first goal in 13 games. Lucic’s power play goal in the third proved to be the game winner.

Buffalo 2 – Montreal 1 (F/OT)

An overly physical and chippy game between these two saw the Habs lose Mike Cammalleri and Max Pacioretty to separate injuries in the first period and play on and off shorthanded with other guys getting banged up. In the end, Carey Price’s 37 saves weren’t good enough to get the win for the Habs as Jason Pominville’s relatively easy goal in overtime won it for Buffalo. Tyler Ennis also scored for Buffalo while David Desharnais had Montreal’s lone goal. Ryan Miller played strong for Buffalo stopping 29 shots in the win.

Philadelphia 3 – Washington 2 (F/OT)

In a tight game between two of the East’s best teams, it would be an unlikely hero coming away in overtime for Philly. Andrej Meszaros’ snipe in the extra session propelled the Flyers to victory. Philly jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux, but the Caps stormed back in the third thanks to quick goals from Mike Knuble and Alex Ovechkin. Sergei Bobrovsky was the difference maker for Philly stopping 23 shots in the win. Semyon Varlamov replaced Michal Neuvirth after the first period due to an injury and made 20 saves taking the loss. Neuvirth stopped seven of eight shots he saw.

Pittsburgh 4 – Detroit 1

With an extreme lack of star power, what has become one of the marquee games on the calendar seemed much less thrilling. The Penguins were able to take advantage of Wings de facto starter due to injury Joey MacDonald getting goals from Jordan Staal, Chris Conner, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke to take out the Wings. Marc-Andre Fleury was strong in net stopping 36 shots and keeping a injury-laden but active Detroit team at bay. Johan Franzen had Detroit’s lone goal, his 19th on the season.

Colorado 4 – Vancouver 3 (F/OT)

What once looked like it would be a shootout kind of game (the high-scoring variety, not the skills competition kind) with the teams tied 3-3 after two periods, turned into one thrilling yet still sloppy third period and overtime. In overtime though it would be an uncharacteristic penalty from Henrik Sedin that led to David Jones scoring his second goal of the game to give the Avs the win. Craig Anderson was a stud for Colorado stopping 40 shots to get the win over the West leading Canucks.

St. Louis 2 – Los Angeles 1

The Kings can’t seem to solve the Blues this year and this time around it might cause a shakeup in L.A. Erik Johnson’s third period goal snapped a 1-1 tie and Jaroslav Halak made it stand up making 26 saves. Jon Quick was the hard-luck loser saving 24 shots while Kyle Clifford got the Kings only goal. The loss makes the Kings 2-9-0 in their last 11 games and have sent them to the bottom of the Pacific Division standings.

Nashville 5 – Phoenix 2

It was J.P. Dumont’s world in Phoenix. Dumont netted a hat trick to lead the way for the Predators while Patric Hornqvist had a pair of goals. The offensive output was huge for the Preds and something Pekka Rinne didn’t really needed as he made 32 saves in the win. For Phoenix, they fail to gain ground on Dallas and Ilya Bryzgalov made just 16 saves in the loss.

Tampa Bay 3 – Columbus 2 (F/SO)

Steve Stamkos proves that, yes, he’s still around. Stamkos had two goals in leading the Lightning into the shootout where Ryan Malone would net the winner for Tampa Bay. For Stamkos, that gives him 35 goals this season and he extends his league lead while Sidney Crosby is out. Dwayne Roloson did well to earn the win stopping 28 shots in regulation and keeping Columbus off the board in the shootout. R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard had Columbus’ goals. Mathieu Garon stopped 20 shots in the loss.

Anaheim 2 – Ottawa 1 (F/SO)

A mostly boring game saw three Ducks standout above all. Corey Perry’s highlight goal was their only one in regulation, while Bobby Ryan’s was the game-winner in the shootout. The star, as always of late, was goalie Jonas Hiller. Hiller made 39 saves and shut things down in the shootout to preserve the win for Anaheim. Mike Fisher had Ottawa’s lone goal while Brian Elliott made 26 saves in the tough loss.

Minnesota 4 – Edmonton 1

Another win for Anton Khudobin in goal. Khudobin made 31 saves to beat Edmonton but had his shutout bid spoiled late thanks to an Oilers power play goal. Yes, they scored one tonight breaking a streak of 44 straight power plays without a goal. The Oilers got the power play thanks to Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz getting an instigator penalty with under five minutes to play.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.