Tuesday night was a difficult one for the Detroit Red Wings and generally a pretty good evening for East teams on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. Except the Washington Capitals.
Here’s a look at tonight’s results, keeping in mind that the Toronto Maple Leafs will remain above the wild card fray (for now) even if their upcoming game against the San Jose Sharks ends poorly.
- Earlier today, PHT mentioned that the Detroit Red Wings couldn’t afford to lose in regulation to the Columbus Blue Jackets, yet they fell 4-1 and seem like they’re getting more banged up by the day. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets find themselves at least briefly above the bubble altogether.
- As mentioned moments ago, the New Jersey Devils slipped by the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1. It’s Martin Brodeur’s fourth consecutive win and came in regulation. The Devils couldn’t ask for results that are much better than that.
- The Carolina Hurricanes rank as serious underdogs to climb back up, but they got an important 3-1 win against the New York Rangers, who aren’t that far from falling down to a wild card spot or worse.
- It has to be deflating for the Washington Capitals to land zero points in two games on back-to-back days against the Pittsburgh Penguins, but that’s exactly what happened on Monday and Tuesday. The Pens beat them 2-0 tonight; read more about it here.
Mike Milbury and Keith Jones broke down the playoff picture a bit after the Caps – Pens game:
Here’s a look at the updated standings via NHL.com:
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.