NHL Scores And More: Dustin Jeffrey Paces Penguins, Power Play Helps Canucks Beat Stars (Again)

The Canucks' power play was the difference in Vancouver's third win against Dallas this season. Elsewhere, It's evident that Dustin Jeffrey wants to stay in Pittsburgh.

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Penguins Vs. Rangers: Dustin Jeffrey Wants To Stay, Scores Winner As Pittsburgh Beats Rival New York

I'm starting to feel bad for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The top affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins sits high atop the AHL standings, but with every passing game the parent club plays, the worries increase about top players being plucked from their roster.

With Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin still out of the Pens' lineup, Dustin Jeffrey is already up with the big club, and just as he did two months ago when HBO was around, he's trying to make an impact with Pittsburgh. Last night as the team faced off against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden, Jeffrey did just that. 

We'll let Pensburgh take it from here.

Injuries have provided Dustin Jeffrey with a solid chance to prove his value on the NHL level.  Five points over eights games is a nice way to do it, as he registered his third goal of the season on the Penguins power play early in the second period to cut the Rangers' lead in half at 2-1.  

[...]

Overtime came and went before it finally extended to a shootout where both Fleury and Lundqvist remained perfect through seven rounds.  That is, until Jeffrey, the first Penguins' scorer of the night, sealed the deal when he snapped one past HEN-RIK, HEN-RIK to put the game on Gaborik's stick.  Fleury shut the door and the Pens skated away with two big points on the road.

The goal sealed the 4-3 win for the Penguins, pushing them within three points of the division-and-conference leading Philadelphia Flyers. 

You've probably heard the other storyline in this one already, too. If not, we'll just give you the quick video. 

Yes, that's Jordan Staal (of all people..) sucker punching Brandon Prust in the face.

A lot of Penguins fans contended last night that Prust went down harder than the plane in LOST, while a lot of Rangers fans acted as if it were some affront against God. Staal picked up a match penalty on the play, which comes complete with an automatic suspension. The NHL will review that and decide whether or not it's proper. 

Wait, suspension? Sitting out games? Eeek, don't tell the fans in Wilkes-Barre.

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Canucks Vs. Stars: Vancouver Power Play Beats Dallas For Third Time This Season

The Vancouver Canucks and the Dallas Stars are two of the best teams in the Western Conference (and the NHL), but on Tuesday night, as the Canucks beat the Stars 4-1, there was one glaring difference.

Defending Big D, you mind fillin' us in?

Every so often, Occam's Razor rears it's ugly head. It certainly has for the Dallas Stars who were thumped, once again, by the Vancouver Canucks. That's the third time this season Vancouver has asserted it's will on our beloved team.

Quite simply, the difference between the Canucks and Stars is blatantly clear for all to see. They have dominant special teams units. The Stars don't. At least in this matchup.

It's true. Just look at the overall numbers of the three games in this season series to understand the disparity. The Canucks have eight power play goals in those three games, with a total of 15 chances with the extra man. The Stars were 0-for-5 last night, and in those three games, they have just one power play goal in 13 opportunities.

If you want to understand why the Canucks have bested the Stars by a combined score of 15-3 this season, you really don't have to look any further than that.

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Capitals Vs. Canadiens: Brian Gionta Does Everything While Washington Sits, Watches

The Washington Capitals came out flying on Tuesday night, taking just under eight minutes to open a 2-0 lead over the team that eliminated them from the postseason a year ago, the Montreal Canadiens. After that, though, the Canadiens completely took over while the Capitals just stood around and watched. 

The Habs eliminated that 2-0 deficit with two goals from Brian Gionta in the second period. A quiet third period saw overtime come into focus, and following a scoreless extra session, it was Gionta again who scored the lone shootout goal to give Montreal the come-from-behind 3-2 win

Japers' Rink seems worried about the Capitals. 

Given the opportunity to start the post-break portion of the schedule with a statement, the Caps responded... with a statement. They're the same team they've been all year - inconsistent, uneven and unable to simply show up for twenty minutes to take home two points, as they were able to do a season ago. In the long-run, learning the lesson of that last point might be the best thing to happen to this team. But they still have to learn it. And time is running out.    

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Sharks Vs. Coyotes: San Jose Rallies From Down Three To Topple Phoenix, 5-3

The demise of the San Jose Sharks is greatly exaggerated. Long live the Sharks. Or something. 

You don't see a shorthanded breakaway goal turn into the game-winner, but Patrick Marleau did just that in the third period as the Sharks rallied from down 3-0 to beat the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-3. 

Remember that time when the Sharks lost five-straight games, dropping them from the Western Conference playoff picture and dropping Bay Area fans into a pool of self-depreciation? Yeah, I don't remember that either. It's long gone now. 

Then again, it could return as quickly as it vanished. The Sharks play 10 of their next 13 on the road, including a seven-game road swing that begins in Anaheim on Wednesday. San Jose will travel East to play Boston and Washington, among others, as part of the trip. 

Happening elsewhere on a busy night in the NHL...

Tampa Bay 4, Philadelphia 0: The Eastern front-runners, the Flyers, apparently still had their heads buried in All-Star-land coming into this one on Tuesday night. The Lightning, who trailed Philly by just four points entering the evening, cut that lead in half with a 4-0 shutout win over the highest-scoring team in hockey.

Two points from ex-Flyer Simon Gagne, both notched in the first 1:21 of the game, paced the Lightning, who used the trap and some great play from Dwayne Roloson to neuter Philadelphia after taking the initial lead. Roli's shutout was his fourth since joining the Bolts. 

Minnesota 1, Los Angeles 0: So this one was absolutely boring throughout, according to Hockey Wilderness, but that was all made up by a thrilling final 10 minutes that saw several brilliant saves, several brilliant chances... and no goals. The goals -- or, should I say, goal -- were saved for the shootout, where Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored the lone tally to give the Wild the victory. 

Toronto 4, Florida 3 (SO: The Panthers were looking to make a playoff push not too long ago, but recently, they've won just one of their last seven games, including last night's shootout mishap to the Maple Leafs. David Booth scored a gorgeous spin-o-rama goal in the penalty shot contest (in addition to his real goal in the second period), but Tyler Bozak and Colby Armstrong beat Scott Clemmensen to give Toronto the victory. 

Calgary 3, Nashville 2 (SO): Don't look now, but the Calgary Flames are just two points out of the Western Conference playoffs. Seriously, go look. Okay, so there are teams ahead of them with fewer games and more points, but the Flames are in the thick of the race. If they keep playing like they did vs. the Predators on Tuesday night, they're going to stay in that race.

Cory Sarich scored the game-tying goal in the third period before Rene Bourque scored the only shootout tally to give the Flames a much-needed two points.

Boston 3, Carolina 2: On Saturday night, Cam Ward edged Tim Thomas in a goalie race at the All-Star Game. On Tuesday night in the very same building, Ward's 33 saves weren't enough to get his Hurricanes past Thomas' Bruins. Patrice Bergeron scored the game-winner for Boston while Carolina's Erik Cole had two assists.

NY Islanders 4, Atlanta 1: Kyle Okposo scored his first two goals of the season in his sixth game back from a lengthy injury while also adding an assists as the Islanders opened the unofficial second-half of the season the same way they opened the first-half -- with a win.

The Thrashers, meanwhile, were called out by their coach for a lack of work ethic, and they should feel lucky that Boston squeaked by Carolina. The ninth-place Hurricanes are just a point behind the Thrashers, who astonishingly led the Southeast Division not that long ago. 

Chicago 7, Columbus 4: When Derick Brassard and Sami Pahlsson each scored 2:22 into the second period to take a 3-2 lead over the Blackhawks last night, they probably thought they were firmly in this one. Oh, silly Jackets. 

Four straight goals from the Blackhawks from Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews and Dave Bolland sent Chicago on their way to a decisive win over their division foe. Toews finished with three points in the win.

New Jersey 2, Ottawa 1: These teams may be at the bottom of the East together, but they're certainly going in opposite directions right now. Dainius Zubrus' game-winning goal gave the Devils their seventh win in their last nine games, while Robin Lehner's 31 saves weren't enough to keep the Senators from dropping their 13th of their last 14. 

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