While Monday’s two contests were all about the immediate future, it was also an evening for old souls. On the heels of Nicklas Lidstrom hitting the 60-point mark a month before he will turn 41 years old, Teemu Selanne scored three goals and added two assists to help the Anaheim Ducks earn a come-from-behind win against the Colorado Avalanche.
With that, the Ducks are back in front of the Chicago Blackhawks for seventh place in the West in a Finnish Flash.
Anaheim 5, Colorado 4
Selanne factored into all five Ducks goals, pushing his 2010-11 season point total to 75 in 67 games played. Anaheim started the game in a wobbly fashion as the Avalanche stormed to an early 2-0 lead, but Selanne’s penalty shot goal turned the game around a minute into the second period.
He also notched his 700th career assist, by the way.
As if his presence wasn’t already profound enough as he became the oldest NHL player to record a hat trick since 1980, both of his helpers were primary assists.
Ray Emery is now an incredible 5-0 in his remarkable NHL comeback, stopping 31 out of 35 shots after a tough start to the game. Brian Elliott made 37 out of 42 saves in a losing effort.
Matt Duchene scored a goal and an assist while Milan Hejduk provided three assists for the Avalanche, who showed that they can still create goals even if they appear helpless in stopping them.
With this win, the Ducks regained their slim seventh-place lead over the Blackhawks. Anaheim has 91 points in 76 games played with 43 wins while Chicago has 90 points in 75 games played with 41 wins. We’ll keep you informed as the desperate chase for the West’s final spots continues.
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.
Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.
The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.
You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.
At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.
Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.
(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)
As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.
Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.