The Wild won with a replacement goalie, the Islanders blew out the Lightning, the Blue Jackets squeaked by in a shootout after late-period mistakes, the Hurricanes scored six and managed to lose while the Canucks scored six and coasted.
After the Wild lost starting goalie Josh Harding to a head injury in the opening minutes, rookie Matt Hackett was thrown to the Sharks. He blanked San Jose the rest of the way, making 34 saves in his NHL debut. From BReynolds at Hockey Wilderness:
Matt Hackett came into the game, and the Wild took it to the Sharks. Hackett stoned chance after chances on a four minute power play for the Sharks. Things seemed to be looking up. Then, Mikko Koivu scored on a Dany Heatley rebound, tying the game with just under 2 1/2 minutes to play in the first. The system had worked, and Wild fans saw that the team wasn't going to go down without a fight. That, right there, at that moment, would have been enough for everyone.
Instead, the Wild had other plans. A power play very late in the period would give the Wild room for a pretty passing play (shocking) and a finish from, of all people, Pierre-Marc Bouchard. Twitter says it was Butch's first PPG since 2008, and quite the goal it was. High, far corner snipe.
After struggling early in the season, the Islanders are now unbeaten in regulation in their past five. The Lightning, meanwhile, have lost five in a row. The Islanders jumped to a 3-1 lead in the first period, then found the back of the net two more times in the final frame for good measure -- including David Ullstrom's first career goal. Dominik from Lighthouse Hockey describes the play:
David Ullstrom's 1st NHL Goal: What a fantastic, swift connection between him and Josh Bailey. Ullstrom headman's a carom pass up the left side of the neutral zone to Bailey, who lets the D focus on the 2-on-2 and then ... cleverly drop passes to Ullstrom for the one-timer past Garon. This goal doesn't happen if Wallace isn't streaking up ice to draw the D, either. Bailey immediately grabbed the souvenir puck and, frankly, he could do no wrong on this night.
Blue Jackets 3, Canadiens 2 (SO)
Columbus won in a shootout, but it never really should have gotten to that point. After the Blue Jackets jumped out to a 1-0 lead early in the opening period, Andre Kostitsyn tied the game heading into the second with just with 1.5 seconds left (!). The Blue Jackets regained the lead in the second, but Montreal tied it again with 90 seconds left in the third on Brian Gionta's eighth goal of the year. Dan P. of The Cannon has seen enough:
Late Period Defense - By my count, this is the third time in the last five games (St. Louis, Calgary) where the Jackets have been scored on in the last 20 seconds of a period. 1.5 seconds left was a new low, however. It has to stop.
Flames 7, Hurricanes 6
There's a lot of crazy things about an NHL game that features 13 goals, but what's most insane is how these teams gained momentum as the night wore on. Calgary got things started with a relatively modest two goals in the first period, then each team scored two apiece in the second. The third period, though, was utter chaos, with a total of seven goals, including three -- Jarome Iginla's game-winner on an empty net followed by two straight by Carolina -- in the final 69 seconds.
It's unfortunate that one of these teams had to lose, and it's even more frustrating for Hurricanes fans that six goals wasn't enough to snap what's now become a seven-game losing streak. Bob Wage from CanesCountry describes how the Hurricanes fought back despite finding themselves in a 5-2 hole:
The Canes did not give up. Tuomo Ruutu scored off a nice Jamie McBain move. Eric Staal scored twice and Chad LaRose scored in the final minute. But all in all, regardless of the score, this game was never really close.
The Canes scored twice in the last minute to make it look respectable, after the Flames had scored an empty netter.
The Canucks hung a six-pack of goals on Semyon Varlamov, who stopped just 15 of 21 shots. Daniel Sedin scored a hat trick, Jannik Hansen scored twice and Alexander Edler capped off the flurry with a powerplay goal in the final period.
But despite the final score, the Canucks didn't leave this game unscathed, with goalie Roberto Luongo and winger David Booth leaving early with injury. Luongo was tagged on the neck by a slap shot (Cory Schneider replaced him, making 20 saves), while Booth injured his knee during a collision with Kevin Porter. From NHL.com:
"Just had trouble breathing for a few seconds and felt fine afterwards," said Luongo, still sporting a crimson welt on the right side of his neck. "A little bit lightheaded the rest of the way ... I just didn't feel like myself for a little while. That's why we got the closer in there."
Booth may not be as lucky. He is scheduled to have an MRI Wednesday, and almost certainly won't join the he team to start a five-game road trip in Montreal Thursday.
"We'll know more then," coach Alain Vigneault said of the MRI. "I was told it was knee-in-knee, that he stuck his knee out, but I haven't seen the replay."