The Nashville Predators have now extended their point streak to five games, beating teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators along the way.
On Thursday, they faced their most difficult test so far this month, taking on their Central Division rivals from St. Louis. Despite falling behind by a goal in the first period, the Predators rallied to win 3-1.
After making it within a single win of the Western Conference Final in the 2016 playoffs, and the acquisition of the dynamic P.K. Subban to bolster their offensive attack from the blue line, the Predators started this season slow, despite heightened expectations.
The Avalanche share a spot at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The Senators are in a Wild Card spot in the East.
But the Blues represent a possible Stanley Cup contender in the highly competitive Central. This recent run and victory against St. Louis could signal a turnaround for the Predators after that difficult start, with players maintaining this team can still get better.
“We’re just starting to play the way we know we can play. We’re just playing a lot better,” said Predators captain Mike Fisher, per NHL.com.
“We still feel there’s room to improve in a lot of areas, but there’s definitely good signs. We’re finding ways to get points. It’s nice to get a couple in a row and a big one tonight, and we’ve got to keep rolling because we’ve got some ground to catch up.”
The Predators conclude their four-game home stand on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.
Finding a fit in Minny? Eric Staal leads Wild over Penguins
PITTSBURGH (AP) Eric Staal‘s third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Thursday night.
Staal had two assists, giving him 51 points in 50 career games against Pittsburgh. Charlie Coyle scored his fourth of the season on the power play, while Nino Niederreiter added his third and Jared Spurgeon his second into an empty net for the Wild, who won for the fourth time in six games.
Minnesota, playing its first game since a one-goal loss against Colorado on Saturday, defeated the Penguins for the first time in five games, including four straight in Pittsburgh.
Devan Dubnyk, who made 39 saves, allowed fewer than three goals for the eighth straight game, which includes a streak of three straight shutouts.
Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist both scored power-play goals for Pittsburgh, which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games. It was Pittsburgh’s first regulation home loss this season.
Crosby has nine goals and 11 points in eight games since returning from a concussion that sidelined him for the first six games of the season. Crosby opened the season with a six-game point streak. Phil Kessel had two assists for Pittsburgh, which allowed a season-high 43 shots.
With the Montreal Canadiens leading the L.A. Kings by three goals on Thursday, Price recovered to rob Anze Kopitar with a sprawling save, the Habs goalie deflecting the puck over the net and out of play at the end of a scramble around his crease.
It was a spectacular save, but really, what else would you expect from Price?
He told reporters following Montreal’s 4-1 win over the Kings that he got “lucky” with the save. He’s definitely got a point. Whether it’s luck or skill or at times a combination of the two, Price continues to provide stellar goaltending for the Habs.
It’s no coincidence that the demise of that team’s playoff chances last season accelerated with Price out due to injury.
He certainly provides an X-factor for his team when healthy.
Montreal’s lone regulation loss, a well-documented stinker, this season came last week against Columbus. Price wasn’t in net. With the win Thursday, he improved his record to 9-0-0. He also boasts a save percentage of .953. That’s insane.
He will lose eventually this season. Right? But for now, Price is on another impressive roll. Another level.
As a result, the Habs have opened up an eight-point lead in the Atlantic Division.
After a one-game outburst — five goals for counts as an outburst, right? — against the New York Rangers two days ago, the Canucks lost 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, concluding a six-game road trip with only a single win.
Scoring difficulties persist. Their coach, Willie Desjardins, remains on the hot seat with the Canucks sitting with a record of 5-9-1 following that improbable 4-0 start.
The positives are few and far between for the Canucks.
The play of rookie defenseman Troy Stecher is one of the very few things to be optimistic about. Daniel and Henrik Sedin worked their magic to score a beautiful goal versus the Red Wings.
And Ryan Miller made a spectacular desperation diving save to rob the Red Wings of a fourth goal.
With the Canucks net empty, Henrik Zetterberg fired the puck toward the goal only to have Miller dive back, throw his arm up and snag the puck in his glove.
The Canucks now return to Vancouver to play the Dallas Stars on Sunday.
OK, so it wasn’t a perfect night for the Boston Bruins.
Colin Miller accidentally scored into his own net off a faceoff, but by then the Bruins were comfortably ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and all that own goal did was make the score look a tad bit more respectable for the visitors.
The gaffe didn’t matter. The Bruins won for the fourth time in the past six games, defeating the Blue Jackets 5-2. They erupted for four goals in just over four minutes in the first period, chasing Sergei Bobrovsky from the net.