Philadelphia 4 – NY Islanders 3 (F/OT)
It was setting up to be a heartbreaker for Philly when Matt Martin scored his second goal of the game with 28 seconds left in the third to tie it up, but Andrej Meszaros’ goal in overtime gave the Flyers the two points they were seeking in their hunt for the best record in the league. Jeff Carter had a goal and an assist while Claude Giroux had two assists to lead the offense for Philly while Sergei Bobrovsky made 32 saves to get the win. Al Montoya was outstanding in defeat for New York making 39 saves.
Dallas 4 – Detroit 1
Dallas snapped their five game losing streak and got themselves back into the heavy mix for the Western playoffs thanks to a huge game from Kari Lehtonen. Lehtonen stopped 38 of 39 shots he saw, only allowing a late goal to Tomas Holmstrom to give Dallas a much needed win. Loui Eriksson scored his 20th goal, a shorthanded tally late in the first period. Mike Ribeiro, Krys Barch, and Jamie Langenbrunner also tallied goals for the Stars as they moved into a five-way logjam for sixth place in the West.
Toronto 5 – Montreal 4
Chicago 3 – Nashville 0
Vancouver 3 – St. Louis 2
Cory Schneider gave Roberto Luongo the night off and made it work out nicely stopping 28 of 30 St. Louis shots while Manny Malhotra scored the go-ahead goal 1:05 into the third period to put the Canucks back on top of the NHL with the best record. Mikael Samuelsson and Sami Salo added the Canucks other two goals while St. Louis got tallies from Alex Pietrangelo and David Backes. Ty Conklin had a rough start to the game allowing the goals to Samuelsson and Salo in the first. The Blues did well to counter by tying it up in the second, but Malhotra’s goal was enough to motivate Vancouver into locking it down the rest of the way to get the win.
Los Angeles 4 – Minnesota 2
Talk about a nice way to come home. After a 10-game road trip, the Kings made their presence felt at home by taking out the Wild and jumping up to fifth in the Western Conference standings. Wayne Simmonds scored a pair of goals while Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty also added tallies to pace the Kings. Doughty’s proved to be the game-winner while Kopitar’s was an impressive slam dunk from 150-feet away on an open net. Eric Nystrom and Brent Burns scored for Minnesota. For Burns, it’s his 15th goal of the year and ties the team record for goals by a defenseman that he set back in 2007-2008.
Brayden Schenn had a big game in Thursday’s 5-4 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.
He scored a goal and had two assists in the defeat, but he also dropped the gloves with rookie Jakob Chychrun.
As you can tell by the video at the top of the page, Chychrun went after Schenn because the Flyers forward flattened Coyotes defenseman Michael Stone (Chychrun got two additional minutes for instigating and a 10-minute misconduct).
The fight occurred just as Martin Hanzal scored to the go-ahead goal in the game.
The officials reviewed it to see if it would stand or not (ultimately it did).
The momentum swung Arizona’s way after that, as they scored 1:39 later to extend their lead to 4-2.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
–How do you decide who gets to be the last player off the ice after warmups? Play rock, paper, scissors of course! (Top)
—Connor McDavid has the city of Edmonton buzzing again. (The New York Times)
–The fight against Alzheimer’s means a lot to Leafs president Brendan Shanahan. (Sports Illustrated)
–Justin Bieber played hockey with a pro team in the UK and pulled off a serious celebration. (BarDown)
–Would Wayne Gretzky have set all those records if he was playing in today’s NHL? Mike Brophy weighs in. (CBC.ca)
–Six forgotten players that are off to fast starts in 2016-17. (USA Today)
How would you describe the Nashville Predators’ Stanley Cup bandwagon at the moment? A few flat tires? One of those abandoned school buses at a dump?
An unlikely occurrence – Peter Budaj winning four straight games for the Los Angeles Kings, all in overtime, all seriously in 2016 – puts a spotlight on an unsightly start for Nashville following a 3-2 OT decision.
In other words, it was another night where the Predators (early or not) didn’t look the part of Stanley Cup contenders.
Pekka Rinne has often been the scapegoat for Nashville’s losses, and his recent numbers justify some of the criticisms. Thursday doesn’t fall into that pattern, however. Instead, the Predators wasted a strong performance from their $7 million man, who stopped 42 out of 45 shots.
Budaj? He only needed to make 24 out of 26 stops to keep his unexpected winning streak going.
For the Kings and Predators, very different patterns continued on Thursday night.
Los Angeles has people wondering “How long can they win with Budaj?” and “Is there a team that can finally hog the puck against the Kings enough to expose him?” Don’t blame Kings fans who never want this strange sequence to end.
Nashville devotees, on the other hand, must wonder if they’re stuck in some sort of sick nightmare.
They’ve been a chic pick to win it all, yet they’re now at 2-4-1 with three away contests remaining on a challenging five-game road trip.
It’s early, but the headaches just keep multiplying for the Preds.
Are the Detroit Red Wings for real or are they headed toward a humbling regression? We might have to wait until their goalies look human before that question can really be answered.
For yet another game, Detroit’s netminder was outstanding, with Petr Mrazek helping the Red Wings beat the St. Louis 2-1 via a shootout (and a pretty stressful shootout in that).
It took eight rounds until Henrik Zetterberg managed Detroit’s second and decisive tally of the “skills competition,” and now Detroit is on a six-game winning streak.
Mrazek made 31 out of 32 games through overtime and was only beaten by Alex Steen in that shootout, stopping seven of eight attempts. He’s faced more than 30 shots on goal in all six of his appearances in 2016-17.
It is not as if there has been a big drop-off when Jimmy Howard has taken the net, either. Howard has only given up one goal in his two games, winning both of them.
Are the Red Wings asking a lot of Mrazek and Howard? Yep. Just take a look a this lopsided possession chart from Natural Stat Trick for another reminder.
You can see why skeptics murmur about this six-game winning streak being fool’s gold, but the Red Wings keep finding a way to win. Usually, it’s their goalies who have been doing the heavy lifting.