Lee Stempniak needed to try out to even make the New Jersey Devils. Instead of barely scraping by, he’s becoming one of their biggest difference-makers.
His latest offering came on Thursday night, as he powered a late comeback to help the Devils steal a 5-4 shootout win from Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators.
Stempniak assisted on the 4-3 goal and scored the tying marker with about 30 seconds left (the latter of which you can see in the video above).
Fittingly, he also made the difference with the shootout-winner.
With that, the Devils have now won three straight games, all beyond regulation (Stempniak scored one of the OT-clinchers, naturally). They’ve shown some serious scrappiness in taking this and other contests, including limiting the damage from Ottawa getting a five-minute major power play opportunity.
(Only Mike Hoffman‘s rocketing shot kept it from being a quiet chance for the Sens.)
Cory Schneider kept the Devils in the game, and hit a milestone in the process.
Does this indicate that the Devils might be a tough out at times this season? Maybe, maybe not … but Stempniak certainly seems like a shrewd addition so far.
Remember the big surge of energy the Arizona Coyotes brought into the 2015-16 season? Some of that optimism is already starting to evaporate.
That’s what happens when you drop four in a row (0-3-1), which is the case for the Coyotes after the New York Rangers beat them 4-1 on Thursday.
It wasn’t the only bit of bad news for the Coyotes, either, as they lost Antoine Vermette for the night with a lower-body injury.
There was also a bad gaffe by Mike Smith, who began the season penning some feel-good stories.
(Oh yeah, and former ‘Yote Keith Yandle was one of New York’s goal-scorers. Ouch.)
About the only bit of good news for Arizona is that Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Martin Hanzal continue to create offense at a nice clip.
Speaking of creating offense, Rick Nash finally “scored” his first goal of 2015-16 in an amusing way. See for yourself:
That’s also the 700th point of his career, by the way.
Here’s some good news for the Pittsburgh Penguins on a bit of a momentum-killing night: they won’t face the Dallas Stars again this season.
(Or, if they will, it would be in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.)
The Stars humbled the Penguins 3-0 in Dallas to open the season, and a change of scenery didn’t make much of a difference. This time around, the Stars beat the Pens 4-1 in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh was really starting to pick things up after an 0-3 start to the season, too, winning three in a row before this setback.
The tough night had the Penguins scrambling things up to try to find the right mix.
The Stars, meanwhile, are on a true hot streak.
Tonight’s win marks their fifth in a row, and they have a golden opportunity to collect crucial early points as they begin a four-game homestand on Saturday.
If this game was any indication, the Florida Panthers better ready themselves for a challenge.
Video is not yet available of Stephen Gionta‘s nasty spear on Mark Borowiecki, but it will be added to this post when it is.
It was a pretty ugly moment, as Borowiecki delivered a questionable blow to start things off and Gionta did … not respond kindly.
Interestingly, the Ottawa Senators are set to get a five-minute power play from the exchange, as the New Jersey Devils were the only ones penalized. That could be a real game-changer in a tight contest.
Stephanie (aka “My Regular Face”) provided two angles of the incident in GIF form:
Generally speaking, spearing infractions draw suspensions rather than fines. How would you handle the situation?
The Philadelphia Flyers showed some resiliency in coming back against the Boston Bruins last night, but they’ll need to do the same to overcome the personnel losses from that contest.
Both Michal Neuvirth and Sean Couturier suffered upper-body injuries in that game (see Neuvirth’s possible injury here and Couturier’s painful moment here), and the latest update is vague.
The team announced that each player is considered day-to-day.
That’s basically an organizational shoulder shrug that implies that the issues may not be too bad … although who really knows?
The Flyers begin a three-game homestand by hosting the New York Rangers on Saturday. They have three games in the next week, so perhaps these injuries won’t make that big of an impact.
Again, it’s touch and go, though.