A night after taking the penalty that allowed Montreal to beat his team, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored a bombastic overtime game-winning goal to give his team a crucial two points. Toews and the Blackhawks came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the St. Louis Blues, an eliminated team that nonetheless would have loved nothing more than to hurt their division rivals’ playoff chances.
Instead, they received an empty charity point while bolstering Toews’ Hart Trophy argument. This win doesn’t clinch a playoff spot, but it does give them some space in front of the 10th-place Dallas Stars while eliminating the Calgary Flames from the playoff picture.
Chicago 4, St. Louis 3 (OT)
The 2-0 game was turned on its head when officials allowed a controversial Marian Hossa goal to stand. Hossa kicked the puck toward the net, but it was a tough call to say whether or not he touched the puck before it (seemingly?) crossed the red line. The Stars were able to survive against the Anaheim Ducks thanks to disallowed goals, so it would be interesting if they die by the video review too.
David Backes and T.J. Oshie (who also had an assist) started the scoring off for St. Louis, but that Hossa goal ignited Chicago. Tomas Kopecky and Nick Leddy (also with an assist in the game) ended up scoring in the second period as well.
The Blues wouldn’t just roll over, though, as Chris Stewart scored a highlight reel goal by powering through the Hawks’ defense to send the game to OT. Toews wouldn’t be denied on his breakaway goal, though.
The race between the Blackhawks and Stars isn’t over yet, although Chicago is now in seventh place with 95 points and two games left. Still, this win was a big one for the defending Stanley Cup champions and it shouldn’t be surprising that Toews ended up being the hero.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.