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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

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.