Riding the Zamboni – February 26; Caps comeback, Wings win in shootout

Washington 3 – NY Islanders 2

It looked like it was going to be another one of those games for the Caps. The Isles jumped out to a 2-0 lead after goals from Kyle Okposo and Travis Hamonic. It would be Brooks Laich that snapped the Caps out of it though scoring midway through the second period to get the Caps on the board. In the third, Mike Knuble and Alex Semin would score to get the Caps ahead 3-2 where they’d stay to the end to avenge their 6-0 loss to the Rangers from last night. Michal Neuvirth made 29 saves to earn the win

Detroit 3 – Buffalo 2 (F/SO)

The Wings were happy to welcome back Valtteri Filppula and Mike Modano to the lineup last night, but it would be Jiri Hudler and Pavel Datsyuk who took care of business for Detroit. Both Hudler and Datsyuk had goals in regulation and again in the shootout to give Detroit the victory. Ryan Miller was again outstanding for Buffalo stopping 35 shots. Miller getting to square off against his brother Drew is a rare treat for the two and Miller did everything he could to try and earn the win. Joey MacDonald got the start and the win for Detroit making 30 saves and stopping all the shots he saw in the shootout. The win snaps a two game skid for Detroit while the loss for Buffalo doesn’t allow them to catch up quicker to Carolina for the eighth spot in the East.

Dallas 3 – Nashville 2

Los Angeles 4 – Colorado 3

Ottawa 4 – Philadelphia 1

After one period, it looked like Philly was going to roll and have a great game ending the period up 1-0 and outshooting Ottawa 15-3. Then the coasting began and after it was all said and done, rookie and Notre Dame alum Erik Condra scored his first two NHL goals and the Senators went on to cruise to victory. Trade target Chris Phillips and Nick Foligno also had goals for the Sens as they shocked the Eastern Conference leaders in Ottawa. The Flyers were playing without a handful of key players in this one, but to lose so handily to Ottawa is still a head-scratcher.

Montreal 4 – Carolina 3

It was a game Carolina should’ve looked at as a way to gain ground on the teams sneaking up behind them in the race for the eighth spot in the East and as a means to sneak up on the Habs. Instead, Andrei Kostitsyn’s late power play goal gave Montreal the victory while surprise starter Alex Auld made 28 saves to get the win. Auld got the start when Carey Price came in this morning feeling under the weather. Kostitsyn and Mike Cammalleri each had a goal and an assist while Roman Hamrlik had two assists. The win keeps Montreal in striking distance of Boston for the Northeast lead while the Hurricanes couldn’t extend their lead on Buffalo for the last playoff spot.

Pittsburgh 6 – Toronto 5 (F/SO)

Boston 3 – Vancouver 1

Capitals defeat Blue Jackets in clash of Metropolitan Division powers

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WASHINGTON (AP) T.J. Oshie scored the shootout winner as the Washington Capitals overcame a stellar performance from Columbus goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky to beat the Blue Jackets 2-1 Thursday night.

Despite 44 saves from Bobrovsky, the Capitals reached 104 points and extended their lead atop the Metropolitan Division and NHL standings. Oshie engendered memories of his Sochi Olympic shootout performance by again beating Bobrovsky, the goalie he scored on four times in six chances that day.

Dmitry Orlov finally cracked Bobrovsky early in the third period on Washington’s 35th shot of the game. Orlov’s goal tied the score after Seth Jones beat Braden Holtby on a wild scramble early in the third for his first goal since Feb. 7.

Holtby had 29 saves in regulation and overtime and three more in the shootout to pick up his 38th victory of the season, one shy of Bobrovsky for the league lead.

A showdown between two of the top three teams in the league jockeying for position atop the Metropolitan Division lacked a playoff feel. But the matchup of two likely Vezina Trophy finalists lived up to that billing as Bobrovsky and Holtby went back and forth with big saves.

Bobrovsky entered the night first in wins, goals-against average and save percentage with Holtby second, second and third in those categories. The 2013 Vezina winner could also be an MVP contender this season given his value to Columbus’ third playoff berth in franchise history.

“When he’s in his game it’s very hard to score on him,” said Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin, who had eight shots stopped by one of his Russian national teammates. “He likes the big moments, he likes pressure. His worth ethic is unbelievable. … In my opinion he’s one of the best goalies in the league right now.”

Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby clash

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The Ottawa Senators lost defenseman Marc Methot for the bulk of Thursday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and it seems he’ll be out for quite a while longer, too.

Methot was injured on a Sidney Crosby slash across the hand in the first period. He didn’t return to the game and there was no penalty called on the Penguins captain.

Footage showed the gruesome aftermath of the slash — Methot’s finger on his left hand bloodied and injured as he skated back to the bench.

“His finger is shattered and he’s out for weeks,” said Senators head coach Guy Boucher, per the Ottawa Sun.

Methot immediately confronted Crosby after the slash, which occurred as the Sens blue liner went to dump the puck into the Pittsburgh zone late in the first period.

The Senators got revenge, scoring a 2-1 shootout victory to move within a point of Montreal for the Atlantic Division lead. Crosby was also denied in the shootout.

NHL to make ‘special announcement’ in China next week

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The National Hockey League has announced it will make a “special announcement” at the LeSports Center in Beijing, China next Thursday.

In January, the league’s deputy commissioner Bill Daly made it clear the NHL has interest in playing games in China — likely starting out with pre-season games before potentially adding in some regular season contests in the future, as well.

Just after the league made its announcement on Thursday, the L.A. Kings tweeted out that they will participate in next week’s event, along with the Vancouver Canucks.

In January, hockey insider Darren Dreger reported that the Canucks and Kings were likely to play NHL pre-season games in China this upcoming September.

Last July, members of the Boston Bruins visited China, specifically Beijing and Shanghai, to host hockey clinics in those cities.

Beijing will also host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Flyers survive early Mason mistake to upset Wild

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Insert the ‘It’s not how you start but how you finish’ cliche right here.

The Philadelphia Flyers fell behind the Minnesota Wild on Thursday, as Zach Parise was the beneficiary of a Steve Mason mistake just 2:07 into the first period.

Mason couldn’t control the deflection into the zone, coughing up a rebound in front. Eric Staal forced a loose puck to Parise and he buried it to open the scoring.

Yeah, not ideal for the Flyers, who are still clinging to the slimmest of playoff hopes.

But they responded with three unanswered goals, including this beauty from Sean Couturier.

Philadelphia took over for a 3-1 victory, with Mason making 24 saves on 25 shots, as Minnesota’s struggles continue. The Wild still sit second in the Central Division but have only two wins in their last 10 games and were unable to secure a playoff spot Thursday.