It was business as usual in the NHL on Tuesday night, with nine games being played. A couple of teams made big gains, while one team ran their losing streak to six games.
Tuesday was a moderately slow night in the NHL, but there was still more than enough exciting hockey to go around. Let's take a look at some of the developments from around the league on Tuesday.
Flames 5, Maple Leafs 1
The Calgary Flames kept piling on in this game, as the Toronto Maple Leafs were unable to score after a goal in the first period. The Leafs continue their skid and have now lost four in a row. Chemmy from Pension Plan Puppets comments on the loss.
Tonight was an absolute horror show by Dion Phaneuf, and the easy jokes for radio call ins will be that Calgary is glad to be rid of him. They only see him once a year now and after the game he turned in I'm not sure he did a lot to disprove them. It's only one game for him, though without Carl Gunnarsson who might be the only defensive d-man on the team the Leafs D is in trouble. Toronto had climbed all the way to 19th in shots against per game, a number sure to get worse the longer Gunnarsson is gone.
Islanders 3, Jets 1
The New York Islanders sunk the Winnipeg Jets behind a superb performance by goaltender Evgeni Nabakov, who had 37 saves and only allowed one goal to the home team, which came in the first period. After that, it was all Islanders. Dominik at Islanders blog Lighthouse Hockey offers his take on the win.
A key to holding a third-period lead and hanging on for a 3-1 win: The New York Islanders penalty kill was once again both strong and fortunate, keeping the Winnipeg Jets to just two registered shots on three full powerplays.
Even strength was another story -- the Jets outshooting the Isles 36-24 (including 2-0 on a 4-on-4) to make it another night of playing careful and hoping to hang on as Evgeni Nabokov held the fort.
Fortunately, all wins count the same, except in this case a regulation win almost counts more: The clean two points means the Islanders pull to within two of the Jets in the Eastern Conference standings.
Senators 4, Lightning 0
The Ottawa Senators are still solidly in second place in the Northeast Division, despite being 2-6-2 over their last 10 games. They picked up a big win on Tuesday night with a shutout of the hometown Tampa Bay Lightning. Clark J Brooks at Lighting blog Raw Charge has this to say:
The Lightning have now been held scoreless against Ottawa for the last 71:52. Steven Stamkos was the last Bolt to find the back of the net against the Senators when he scored the lone Tampa Bay goal of the game at 8:48 of the third period in the 4-1 loss at Ottawa on January 5th.
Blue Jackets 2, Blues 1
It's not often when the clear worst team in the league knocks off one of the very best teams in the conference, but the Columbus Blue Jackets pulled off the big upset on Tuesday. Gallagher at St. Louis Game Time has the perspective from the losing end.
Well, they made it close with a goofy scramble at the very end, but the Blues lost a game they didn't deserve to win tonight. They looked strong in the first, but not great in either the second or third and it wasn't until the end when they seemed to realize that the Jackets weren't going to realize that they are terrible and should just quit.
Devils 4, Sabres 1
The New Jersey Devils are technically in fourth place in the Atlantic Division, but are now just one point behind both the Flyers and Penguins for second place with a big win over the last-place Buffalo Sabres. John Fischer at In Lou We Trust offers his take on the win.
In tonight's 4-1 win by the New Jersey Devils over the Buffalo Sabres, two players stood out from everyone else on the ice. Two players didn't bring their "A" games, they each displayed their "A+" work at the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York. Two players made highlights happen and fully deserve to be in all of them on Tuesday morning. Two players were simply sensational and could not be stopped by conventional means. Two players were more than a big reason why the Devils won 4-1 tonight, they were massive. Those two players were Devils forward Ilya Kovalchuk and Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur.
Predators 3, Blackhawks 2
The Chicago Blackhawks continue to slide. They have now lost six straight games and are falling farther behind in the Central Division. They are in fourth place and are now seven points behind the third-place Nashville Predators, who picked up the home win on Tuesday. Dirk Hoag from At The Forecheck comments on the Predators victory.
Ryan Ellis answered the critics tonight...
Ellis led the way offensively tonight, with a goal and an assist as the Nashville Predators topped Chicago 3-2. Besides opening a 7-point gap over the Blackhawks for 5th place in the Western Conference, this game extends Chicago's plummet to 0-8-1 over their last nine games, which will only increase the pressure on players, coaches, and the front office to do something to turn things around.