Let’s take a look at the first five of Friday’s nine games. The rest of the contests will be summarized tomorrow morning.
Since this is just a regular season game, I don’t expect a ton of controversy to come from the league (or the game’s officials) decision to allow Chris Kunitz’s goal. Thankfully, the game didn’t rest on that choice, as Jussi Jokinen tied the game up 4-4 before the Penguins won the shootout thanks to goals by Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang.
Crosby had one goal and three assists plus the shorthanded tally, Jokinen scored two goals and two assists, Kunitz had two goals and Evgeni Malkin assisted on three goals in that game.
Things came full circle for Ondrej Pavelec tonight, as he shut out the team he played against during that crazy collapsing incident. It was an important win for the collective psyche of the Thrashers, too, after coach Craig Ramsay called out the team after a recent loss.
It seems like the Sabres are starting to put things together a bit now, while the Kings are now on a troubling three game losing streak. Ryan Miller seems like he’s rounding back into form after coming back from injury. Miller stopped 34 out of 36 shots to help Buffalo beat Los Angeles tonight, as the Sabres scored three unanswered goals to come back from a 2-1 deficit.
The Minnesota Wild are on a bit of a hot streak now – winning six out of their last eight games – but beating the Red Wings in Detroit (they’re now 8-1-2 at home) might be the highlight of their season so far. Jose Theodore had a great night, stopping 41 out of 44 shots while John Madden scored the game winner with 42 seconds left in overtime.
Things were going pretty badly for the Blues, but the struggling Senators were just the right tonic. The Blues went back to what made them a surprise elite team in October: great defense (backup goalie Ty Conklin faced only 20 shots, stopping 18) and scoring by committee (five different players scored their goals). Really, St. Louis won the game in an 86 second span in which they scored three times.