Tuesday was another loaded night of NHL action, with nearly a dozen games taking place all over the country. Let's take a look at some of the final scores from around the league.
Sabres 2, Islanders 1
The Buffalo Sabres hosted the New York Islanders in a battle of last-place teams, but the Sabres eked out a victory and vaulted themselves out of the cellar in the Northeast Division. Bravo, Buffalo! Dominik at Lighthouse Hockey comments on the loss:
At this point it's bigger news when the Islanders don't allow an early goal or don't get shutout, so tonight they managed the former and came five minutes short of pulling off the latter.
The Islanders were flopping all over the zone early, allowing Tyler Meyers to poke in the final rebound just 1:21 into the game. A few hours or 53 minutes of game time later, Frans Nielsen ripped a short-side slapshot past Ryan Miller to halve a 2-0 Sabres lead that was rarely contested through a very sleepy contest that finished 2-1.
Devils 4, Maple Leafs 3 (OT)
The New Jersey Devils just refuse to cool off. They're 8-1-1 over their last 10 games and now riding a four-game winning streak that puts them in second place in the Atlantic Division. An overtime win against the hometown Toronto Maple Leafs puts a smile on the faces of Devils fans. John Fischer at In Lou We Trust celebrates the win.
The New Jersey Devils edged the Toronto Maple Leafs in overtime for the second time in Toronto this season with a final score of 4-3. I don't know about you, but I feel the player who contributed the most to the Devils win was the Monster, Jonas Gustavsson -- also known as Toronto's starting goaltender for this game.
As long-time readers may have figured out by now, I don't like to blame a lot of goals or games on goaltenders. Generally, a goaltender will get beat because a skater made a mistake, a bounce just didn't go their way, or the opposing attacker just made a better play. I only fault goaltenders when I feel they truly should have done better than they did. Tonight, Gustavsson made three errors that were just shameful.
Flyers 5, Jets 4 (OT)
The Philadelphia Flyers were able to keep pace in the Atlantic Division, still just one point behind the second-place Devils. They matched the hometown Winnipeg Jets goal for goal, but managed the win in overtime. Travis Hughes at Broad Street Hockey offers his take:
The Flyers absolutely dominated at five-on-five play all game long. Every line. Guys from Claude Giroux to Simmonds to Max Talbot to Reemer to ... well, basically every forward had phenomenal games, and this was going to be a cruel, cruel Tuesday night if the Flyers wound up losing. We've faced a lot of those lately, and thank Orange Jesus, this one was different.
With less than a minute left in overtime, Danny Briere and Jaromir Jagr connected for another similar goal -- Briere behind the net, Jags in front, beating the defense and Pavelec with a shot from the slot. The Flyers really owned that area of the ice tonight, and three of their five goals came from winning battles and beating the Jets defense near the crease.
Blue Jackets 6, Sharks 3
The woes of Antti Niemi and the San Jose Sharks continue their undignified slide in the Pacific Division and are now owners of a four-game losing streak. Getting blown out like this by the Columbus Blue Jackets, one of the worst teams in the NHL this season, is an easy low point for San Jose's year. Mike MacLean at The Cannon is thrilled about the win.
Amid all the trade speculation, fans of the Jackets were treated to a big victory of the visiting San Jose Sharks. The team's top players were at their best on this night, with Carter putting up a hattie on his milestone night, and six players having multi-point games. Steve Mason had the chance to set a record tonight (of a positive nature) and came through.
Steve Mason took over the franchise record for wins with tonight's victory. Two of the three goals were redirects, where he had little to no chance of making the save. He faced 40+ shots, but stood tall. Good job, Mase.
Stars 3, Canadiens 0
The Dallas Stars visited the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night and blanked the home team. Montreal is now dead last in the Northeast Division. Brandon Worley at Defending Big D chimed in on the win:
The Dallas Stars traveled to Montreal with the goal of keeping their slim playoff hopes alive. With just three wins in their past 10 games, the Stars have failed to take advantage of a muddled playoff race and the eyes of the fans had already started to look toward the future. What had been most frustrating was the lack of success despite some admirable efforts by the Stars, who have seen their offense completely dry up -- especially with Jamie Benn injured and out.
Lightning 3, Ducks 2
The Tampa Bay Lightning may be in fourth place in the Southeast Division, but they've now put together a nifty little three-game winning streak. On Tuesday, they scratched out a win over the visiting Anaheim Ducks. Clark J Brooks at Raw Charge commented on the win:
This concludes a four-game homestand, during which the Lightning earned six of a possible eight points and find themselves five points behind both the Toronto Maple Leafs for the eight spot in the Eastern Conference and the Florida Panthers for first place in the Southeast Division. They begin a three-game road trip Friday with stops in Winnipeg, Pittsburgh and New Jersey.
Coyotes 5, Kings 4 (SO)
The Phoenix Coyotes just keep on streaking. They're 8-1-1 over their last 10 games and have flown right past the rest of the Pacific Division and into a tie for first place with the plummeting Sharks. The Los Angeles Kings were once threatening to wrestle the top slot away from the Sharks and are now 3-5-2 over their last 10 and in danger of falling to fourth place. The Dude at Five For Howling had this to say:
The Phoenix Coyotes have been called many things this season, some positive some negative, but one thing that they were rarely, if ever, called was a comeback team. Tonight the Yotes were down three goals after the first period against the LA Kings, but they somehow managed to find a way to come back from behind and get the victory over the Kings in the shoot out in a game that featured THREE Phoenix power play goals. I'm not sure which I would have considered more unlikely before this game, crawling back from a three goal deficit or scoring three power play goals.
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