<span class="vcard">Ryan Dadoun</span>

AP Photo

Without Jones or Martin, Sharks can’t contain Isles


Who knows if San Jose would have won tonight with defenseman Paul Martin and goaltender Martin Jones in the game. What we can say is that the Sharks are now 4-0 with them and 0-1 when they don’t play.

Although San Jose took three one-goal leads over the course of the game, New York blew the contest open in the third period en route to a 6-3 victory.

Martin has been Brent Burns‘ defensive partner this season, but the 34-year-old blueliner wasn’t available tonight due to a lower-body injury. That led to Brenden Dillon playing alongside Burns instead and the two finished the game with a minus-two and minus-three rating respectively.

That change was particularly noteworthy during the turning point of tonight’s contest as Islanders forward Josh Bailey created a turnover off of Burns’ attempted pass and fed the puck to Kyle Okposo, who then beat Dillon one-on-one before besting goalie Alex Stalock up close:

Stalock finished with 28 saves on 33 shots. Johnny Boychuk, Anders Lee, Bailey, and Brock Nelson were the other Islanders to get the puck past him while Frans Nielsen collected the empty-netter.

Jones has a 0.49 GAA and .982 save percentage this season, but he had already played on Friday. After tonight’s contest, he’ll likely be called upon to start against the New York Rangers on Monday.

Habs best Wings, extending historic opening win streak to six

The Canadian Press via AP

The Montreal Canadiens set a franchise record on Thursday with their 5-0-0 start. Now they’re running up the score.

Although Detroit became the first team to secure a lead against Montreal when rookie Dylan Larkin scored the opening goal of the game, the Canadiens bounced back quickly en route to a 4-1 victory.

Coming off of his Vezina and Hart Trophy-winning campaign, Carey Price continued to dominate tonight by turning aside 21 of 22 shots. He’s been a major part of Montreal’s early success with his 1.20 GAA and .957 save percentage.

Montreal’s depth has been another big factor as 10 of its forwards have already found the back of the net. Brendan Gallagher and Brian Flynn each scored tonight to become the newest members of that club. That leaves Alexander Semin and Devante Smith-Pelly as the only two Canadiens forwards still searching for their first goal of 2015-16.

Montreal will try to keep this streak alive Tuesday against St. Louis. Detroit, which has now lost two games in as many days, will get a breather before facing Edmonton Wednesday night.

Crosby’s slump matches career-worst, but Pens win Kessel’s reunion vs. Leafs

Malkin goal

Phil Kessel was held off the scoresheet in his first game against Toronto since being traded Pittsburgh and Sidney Crosby has now tied his career-worst with his five-game point slump.

That wasn’t enough for the Maple Leafs though as they still suffered a 2-1 loss to the Penguins.

Evgeni Malkin played a big role in the Penguins’ victory when he collected the puck in the Maple Leafs’ zone early in the first period and carried it all the way to the other end of the ice before firing it past goalie Jonathan Bernier:

Olli Maatta made it 2-0 less than a minute later, making it look like Bernier might be yanked quickly from this start after lasting just 20:20 minutes in his last game. Tonight’s story proved to be different as Bernier calmed down and went on to make 31 saves.

The Maple Leafs were never able to reverse the damage though. This is the third time in their five-game old season that they have been held to one goal or less. In addition to no longer having Kessel’s services, Toronto was also without his former linemate Tyler Bozak (lower body) tonight.

Despite the star power its roster features, Pittsburgh has been struggling offensively as well. The Penguins haven’t scored more than two goals in a single game, but they have still managed to win their last two contests.

Pittsburgh will look to extend that streak on Tuesday against Florida while Crosby tries to avoid setting a career-low with his slump.

Nicklas Backstrom’s return adds to Canes’ woes

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 13:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates wiith teammate John Carlson #74 and Nicklas Backstrom #19 after scoring a goal in the first peroid against the New York Rangers in Game Seven of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 13, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Nicklas Backstrom missed the first three games of the regular season as he recovered from hip surgery, but he’s making up for lost time now that he’s back.

The 27-year-old forward had two points in his season debut, including the game-winning goal as the Washington Capitals cruised to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes got their first win of the season on Friday against Detroit, but they weren’t able to build off of that momentum. T.J. Oshie netted a power-play goal late in the first period and Carolina was never able to even the score after that.

This one stayed close for most of the night though. It wasn’t until Backstrom’s marker early in the third period that Washington had any breathing room.

Jeff Skinner brought Carolina back within one, but John Carlson and Alex Ovechkin responded with a pair of unanswered goals. That also extended Ovechkin’s season-opening goal scoring streak to three games.

The Hurricanes have fallen to 1-4-0 and things might only get worse from here as they still have five contests remaining in their seven-game road trip. Washington is now 3-1-0 going into Tuesday’s contest in Calgary.

Trying to stop the play? Stalock knocks off his mask before goal


Was San Jose Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock trying to readjust his mask and accidentally knocked it off or was he looking for a way to get out of a pressure situation?

Whatever his motivation, New York Islanders forward Anders Lee netted a power-play goal while Stalock’s helmet was off. The reason why it counted was because the netminder was the one to remove his mask.

That’s sparked varied reactions and you can hear one of them in the replay below:

This is Stalock’s first start of the season after Martin Jones led San Jose to a 4-0-0 start with his 0.49 GAA and .982 save percentage.