Riding the Zamboni – Saturday, February 5th

If you’d like a rundown of the shutout-packed early games, click here. To read about the Hurricanes’ key win over the Thrashers, check out this post.

Columbus 4, Edmonton 3

R.J. Umberger factored into all four Blue Jackets goals (two goals and two assists) while Kristian Huselius avenged a healthy scratch with two of those tallies as Columbus squeaked by the Oilers in this action-packed game. Magnus Paajarvi scored two goals in a losing cause for a pesky Edmonton team that had a 3-2 lead before the Jackets stormed back.

NY Islanders 5, Ottawa 3

Robin Lehner made a bonehead move by elbowing Islanders goalie Kevin Poulin as the two netminders passed each other at the end of the second period and the Isles made him pay to begin the third. Rob Schremp scored his second goal of the game on that ensuing power play, continuing the misery that is the Senators’ free-fall from playoff hopefuls to cellar dwellers.

Philadelphia 3, Dallas 1

Brian Boucher made 30 saves while three different Flyers scored goals to help Philly best the Stars. Kari Lehtonen was very strong for Dallas in his own right, making 29 out of 32 saves in a losing effort.

Buffalo 6, Toronto 2

The Sabres (along with the Florida Panthers) are a rung below the Canes and Thrashers in the race for the last playoff spot, but they’re picking up steam with five wins in their last seven games. Drew Stafford scored two goals and one assist as Buffalo out-shot Toronto 43-25 in a dominating home win.

Nashville 3, Detroit 0

The super-talented Red Wings have had a rough weekend. Detroit has been shut out in consecutive games, as division foes from Nashville and Columbus beat them 3-0 each. Pekka Rinne was the main reason the Wings had so much trouble Saturday night, as he made 35 saves to blank Detroit.

Phoenix 1, Minnesota 0

The Coyotes went back to the basics with this game, grinding out a 1-0 win on the strength of a Taylor Pyatt goal, 41 shots and Ilya Bryzgalov’s fourth shutout of the season.

Los Angeles 4, Calgary 3

Justin Williams had a goal, two assists and the shootout winner to help the Kings win a match between two of the hotter teams in the league. Alex Tanguay scored two goals to help Calgary get to overtime, but the Flames’ six-game winning streak dissolved after Los Angeles won the skills contest. The Kings now find themselves in eighth place in the West with 60 points while the Flames aren’t far behind in 10th with 59.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.