It was another busy Tuesday night of NHL action. Let's take a look at some of the results from around the league.
Devils 1, Rangers 0
The New Jersey Devils are in fifth place in the stacked Atlantic Division, but are sitting pretty in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. On Tuesday night, they managed to gain ground with a big road win over the New York Rangers, who hold the first place slot in both. John Fischer at In Lou We Trust has this to say:
Martin Brodeur made 30 saves to earn his 117th career shutout and a 1-0 win to extend the team's winning streak to five games. Even his biggest critics have to recognize that he was sensational tonight and critical for the team's win. I just hope in the future, his teammates will give him some offensive support and the coaches and skaters can make a concerted effort to not fall apart in the third period. Brodeur essentially bailed out his team en route to two big points in the standings; but that's not a gameplan for anyone to rely on in the future.
Islanders 1, Flyers 0 (SO)
The New York Islanders, meanwhile, are dead last in the Atlantic and don't harbor many hopes at making the playoffs. Nonetheless, they picked up a huge shootout win over the hometown Philadelphia Flyers. Dominik at Lighthouse Hockey offers this take:
The New York Islanders survived the first game without their best defenseman Travis Hamonic, the mid-game loss of Dylan Reese, and the careful debut of rookie Aaron Ness to hang on for dear life through 65 minutes of scoreless hockey.
That endurance test passed, Evgeni Nabokov made two more stops in the shootout while Ilya Bryzgalov couldn't stop Frans Nielsen and John Tavares, resulting in the Isles' second consecutive win in Philadelphia and a well-earned shutout for Nabokov.
Blue Jackets 3, Wild 1
The Minnesota Wild have certainly cooled off since their extremely hot start to the 2011-12 season. A decisive road loss to the worst team in the NHL is a good example of how badly the team is struggling as of late. John Wagner at The Cannon celebrates the Columbus victory:
The win would be just the second time the Jackets have put together back to back wins, but more than that, it's an encouraging sign that the level of effort from the Los Angeles and Anaheim games can be mustered at home, and not just on the road.
If the Jackets can continue to play like this, there may be no hope for the post-season, but it will at least give fans in Columbus a feeling that they've gotten their money's worth for going down to the arena.
Canadiens 3, Penguins 2 (SO)
The Montreal Canadians hosted the tough Pittsburgh Penguins and took it right to them, managing a shootout win for the upset. SI.com has this to say:
Even though it took a while, Carey Price and the Montreal Canadiens finally got a shootout to go their way.
Tomas Plekanec scored on Montreal's eighth shootout attempt and Price stopped six of eight in the tiebreaker to lead the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night.
Price, who recorded his third shutout in a 3-0 win over Winnipeg on Sunday, denied Jason Williams on Pittsburgh's final shootout attempt after making 32 saves during the game.
Montreal won for just the second time in nine shootouts this season.
Jets 2, Maple Leafs 1
The Winnipeg Jets are putting together a surprisingly solid season and could very well find themselves in the playoffs if the Capitals and Panthers continue to struggle in the Southeast Division. Bower Power at the Toronto Maple Leafs blog Pension Plan Puppets offers up some perspective from the losing end.
The Leafs fell to a team that's closer to being passed by the Islanders than it is to clinching a playoff spot, but Ottawa lost to St Louis, Pittsburgh takes home a loser point (Montreal gets the SO-W), and Florida lost a 2 point game to the Capitals. The Leafs will need to make up three points on the Pens to get to that juicy six seed against Washington/Florida, but staying ahead one of Florida or 3-more-GP Ottawa shouldn't be too bad. If the Leafs are frustrated by tonight's loss, they can head out to the great city of Winnipeg and enjoy its finest traditional nightlife: shanking someone.
Coyotes 4, Stars 1
The Phoenix Coyotes have been chasing the Dallas Stars for third place for some time now. With a lopsided win on Tuesday night, they have effectively leapfrogged them in the Pacific Division and are gunning for the second-place Los Angeles Kings. Carl Pavlock at Five For Howling offers this take:
The Phoenix Coyotes played excellently tonight against the Dallas Stars, winning 4-1, and they are currently on a three game winning streak. It is amazing that this is their third game in four days, and they played the last two games against 2 of the best teams in the league. Games like this really give me hope that we are going to make it into the playoffs, if they can play like this on a back to back they can play like this every game. The Yotes also ended the Stars streak of scoring a power play goal in every game since the All-Star Break.
Avalanche 5, Blackhawks 2
In another big upset on Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche welcomed the Chicago Blackhawks to town and then sent them packing with a loss. The Avalanche are now one point behind the Wild and poised to overtake them for second place in the Northwest Division. SamFels from Blackhawks blog Second City Hockey provides some insight on the game:
I had remained reasonably assured this slide would stop because it hadn't really infected the top of the roster. While Kane hadn't scored, and neither has Hossa, they were still noticeable. Seabrook and Keith were reasonably assured, while the rot was incubating below them. But tonight, Toews had a turnover that led to a goal (though he was given a tough pass by Kane, though if there's one guy you'd trust in traffic...).tripped the light fantastic on a bouncing puck which he probably should have just gloved forward or something. was on birding for Landeskog's winner, though obviously wasn't done any favors by Stalberg's turnover at the blue line. Then again, not every turnover at the blue line should go in the net. If whatever fungal infection has spread to those the Hawks count on and pay most, then it is absolutely panic time and a fight for just a playoff spot very well may be on the cards. However, they'll need to be bad for more than one game before we conclude that.