It was an interesting evening at Staples Center, as two Pacific Division rivals proved how much they dislike each other. Dallas came out with the victory on the evening thanks to a Loui Eriksson shootout winner, but not before the Stars tied it up late on the latter end of a double minor penalty to Mike Richards, who dropped the gloves with Brendan Morrow after a clean-but-scary hit on Anze Kopitar.
Richards picked up the instigator on the fight, and was unavailable for the remainder of the game as a result. In overtime, Sheldon Souray got mixed up with Drew Doughty and Justin Williams around the Dallas net, and Jonathan Quick failed to pick up a penalty despite coming out to the opposing blue line as things tensed up.
Defending Big D was happy with the overall effort the Stars put forth, especially following the team's last game against Anaheim.
Sergei Bobrovsky made 33 saves and Philadelphia stole two points away from the Islanders, who thoroughly outplayed the visitors for the majority of the hockey game, yet came out with nothing to show for it. Lighthouse Hockey applauded the young Flyers netminder for his performance:
You can blame Evgeni Nabokov for setting up the second goal through poor puckhandling (and ceding a bad-angle shot), but he was quite good otherwise. Perhaps gripe with the officials for enabling the first goal, but in truth the difference was "Bob," the little goalie that could, standing on his head as his defense helped prevent second opportunities by boxing out and protecting well as the Islanders swarmed the net.
Flames 1, Ducks 0 (OT)
Yes, the Flames played a game on Thursday night, despite the news focusing on the Mike Cammalleri trade. Miikka Kiprusoff pitched a shutout and Calgary won their eighth-straight game on home ice thanks to a Blair Jones goal 1:51 into the extra session.
Despite the loss, Anaheim Calling thought Jonas Hiller was a star for Anaheim:
It's such a shame the Ducks lost this game in overtime. For 60 minutes Jonas Hiller was...wait for it...incredible. Yeah! That came from me. From the very beginning of the game he was tested. While he wasn't overly pummeled with shots, he definitely saw quality scoring opportunities.
Sharks 2, Jets 0
Fear The Fin thinks San Jose played their most complete effort of the year in their victory over the Winnipeg Jets, who failed to capitalize on a chance to jump over Washington and Pittsburgh into playoff position in the Eastern Conference.
Although the game remained scoreless until the second period, battles were fought, positions were won and the anger of coaches and fans was quelled, at least for an evening. The Sharks played what I consider one of their best games all season, and while it came against one of the league's weaker teams, the effort level was undeniable.
Senators 3, Rangers 0
The Ottawa Senators aren't supposed to be this good, but they're red hot, and they were somehow able to shutout another red hot team, the East-leading New York Rangers, on Thursday night at Madison Square Garden. Silver Seven knew it was over as soon as the second period came to an end.
The Senators entered the third period with a 1-0 lead, meaning it was all but over for the Rangers. How could they compete with the NHL's best third period scoring team? They couldn't. The Senators scored two more goals before the end of the game, the first coming from Milan Michalek while the second was another Jason Spezza goal, this time on the powerplay.
Meanwhile, the Rangers' win streak ended at five, and Blueshirt Banter sees a struggling power play as part of the reason why.
The Rangers had a couple power play opportunities through two periods, but were unsuccessful. This has been a glaring issue for a while, and it is finally starting to hurt the Rangers. They need to get their power play going, otherwise it could cost them games just like this one.
Hurricanes 5, Lightning 2
It was a critical game for Tampa Bay, writes Raw Charge, and they completely failed to show up. The scoreboard is a pretty solid indicator there.
Style points may be pretty to look at, but you run the risk of getting distracted admiring them. Following a valiant comeback effort against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday (earning a point after overcoming a two goal deficit before losing in a shootout), the Lightning followed up with one of their worst efforts of the season.
This was a somewhat pivotal game in that a win could have brought the Lightning to within six points of the conference's final playoff spot while the loss narrows the gap between Tampa Bay and the last place Hurricanes to a single point.
Red Wings 2, Coyotes 1 (SO)
Mike Smith made 40 saves, but despite the magnificent effort, Detroit pulled away the extra point with a shootout victory. Nevertheless, Five For Howling was proud of the game played by the Coyotes.
For the second consecutive game, the Phoenix Coyotes went into a hostile environment against one of the top teams in the NHL and played a fairly spectacular game, only to fall short in the shoot out. Full credit to the Coyotes, playing their 22nd road game in the past 32 games and starting the first of a back-to-back at Joe Louis Arena tonight, because they played one hell of a game.
Colorado fell to the Preds thanks to a David Legwand overtime winner, but that had nothing to do with the efforts of goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who was phenomenal according to Mile High Hockey:
The Avs continued to tempt fate as the period was winding down and required several huge saves from Giguere to keep the game tied. Probably the most spectacular was as Giguere was forced to dive back to his right and get his paddle on a shot as it was fired from just outside the crease. Thankfully it was enough to get the game to overtime and get the Avs at least one point in the standings.