Kevin van Steendelaar of Habs Eyes On The Prize gives credit where credit is due -- and calls out the home team for lack of effort:
It was easier for the Sabres that the Canadiens players, with the exception of a small group, seemed to be doing a lot of watching, and not as much skating as the game wore on.
The Sabres dominated the game for 60 minutes, with the Canadiens relying on Carey Price to keep it close. The Habs goaltender, back from the All-Star break, began a bit shaky but finished the night with 37 saves.
In a situation where the Canadiens need every point available to even consider a playoff spot, a win tonight against the Sabres was a must win. They didn't get it.
As the Lightning return from the all-star break and resume the task of attempting to climb back into contention, their first task was to face off against the Southeast division-leading Washington Capitals. The game represented a key four point swing as the outcome would find the Lightning anywhere from seven to eleven points out of first place at the conclusion.
Bruins 3, Senators 2
The Ottawa Senators may have lost 4-3 to the Boston Bruins, but by no means were they outplayed by the champions. Despite many things going against them, they were in the game right to the end. The play had been spotty on the west coast trip, but after a week off, the Senators came to play and dominated Boston for stretches.
Islanders 5, Hurricanes 2
With four points tonight (and 53 in 49 games), John Tavares keyed the game's two most important goals: a now-routine sweet assist to open scoring, and a timely finish on the game-winner. He then added two more points on empty net goals, getting the puck up to Kyle Okposo for the first, accepting it from Okposo on the second.
Islanders special teams work was again critical as it provided them with two powerplay goals and one nail-biter penalty kill as the Hurricanes tried to tie it 3-3 midway through the third. Truth be told, the two powerplay goals sandwiched some ugly powerplay work, and the successful PK followed one in which they ran around and conceded the goal that fully erased their 2-0 lead.
Kyle Brodziak's goal just 16 seconds into the third period gave the Wild a comfortable 4-1 lead. Game over, right? Not so fast. Somewhat incredibly, the Predators adjusted on the fly in the third period, scoring four times over the final 10 minutes for a come from behind victory. From Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck:
• Kudos to Brandon Yip for his first goal as a Predator there in the 3rd period. That really seemed to ignite things, as...
• ...that three-minute segment towards the end was one of the silliest things I've ever seen. The Hornqvist goal was nice, then to see Fisher slam home the tying goal 21 seconds later was like found money. The winner, though, was like a winning lottery ticket. Fish had been knocked to the ice earlier, and was all the way up against the boards when he let loose that winning shot. It had no business going in, but it did.
The first game after the All-Star break is like rekindling an old romance; there's some awkwardness in the beginning as you become familiar with each other, and as time passes, you remember what it was that made your relationship great.
The Wings came on strong like a guy who just got out of prison, but after being told to cool it by the Flames, in the end Calgary gave it up and the Wings got what they wanted, which was 2 valuable road points. It wasn't the most stylish game, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.
After an incredibly slow first period that harkened back to all of the miserable hockey the Ducks played in November and December, the Ducks finally found their footing in the second en route to an eventual 4-1 victory. The third line of Andrew Cogliano, Nick Bonino, and Matt Beleskey hustled their tails off and created the first Ducks goal of the game after Mike Smith forgot that he should defend the area in front of the net, rather than the area behind it. Cogs used his speed to create the second goal of the game (with a healthy assist from Smith yet again) and a great touch pass from Bonino just minutes later gave Cogliano his third goal of the period and the first hat trick of his career.
The Edmonton Oilers went up 2-0 in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, and they never looked back. The Avs dropped their third straight game with a 3-2 loss to the Oilers at Rexall Place. The loss drops Colorado to 26-24-2, while Edmonton improves to 19-26-5.
Colorado out-shot the Oilers 33-23, but Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk was up for the task. Colorado also out-hit Edmonton 30-19, though the Oilers won the faceoff battle 29-21.
Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog scored his 11th goal of the season in the third period to cut the score to 2-3. That's as close as the Avalanche would get, as Dubnyk made several key saves late to secure the win.
Sharks 6, Blue Jackets 0
The San Jose Sharks went into the All-Star break winners in just three of their previous 10, but two of those wins were in their last two outings. Now, as the team with the least amount of games played in the NHL, they've got to hustle during the second half of the season, with a lot of games to play in a short amount of time. They wrapped up January in a big way though, as they played host to the Columbus Blue Jackets, and dominated from start to finish to win 6-0.