NHL Scores: Penguins Close In On First, Colorado Beats Calgary In Crucial Game

Mar 20, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby (87) takes the ice against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at the CONSOL Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Pittsburgh Penguins are looking unstoppable now that they're healthy, while the playoff race out west remains tight.

The Pittsburgh Penguins are really good now that their entire team is healthy. Not that the Winnipeg Jets are a great defensive team, but their eight-goal performance on Tuesday would still be impressive against an AHL team. Out west, Colorado defeated Calgary in a big game for playoff positioning.

Edmonton Oilers 6-3 Nashville Predators

Ales Hemsky has been a bit disappointing over the last couple of seasons, but he was excellent for the Oilers on Tuesday. He scored a hat trick in their 6-3 win.

Edmonton's Ales Hemsky celebrated his 550th NHL game in a big way, scoring three times for his first hat trick.

Hemsky scored once in the first period and twice in the second as the Oilers beat the Nashville Predators 6-3 on Tuesday night. He added an assist on the final goal of the game.

"The last time I had a hat trick was as a junior player," Hemsky said. "It was a different type of hockey."

His third goal was on a breakaway against Anders Lindback at 14:03 of the second.

"I was a little nervous on that third goal," Hemsky said. "I kind of panicked a little bit but I got lucky."

Chicago Blackhawks 5-1 Columbus Blue Jackets

In a bid to decrease their chances of advancing in the first round of the playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks are working on moving out of the sixth spot. Don't you WANT the Dallas Stars instead of the Detroit Red Wings? Here's SB Nation Chicago on the beating they handed down.

Just :37 seconds into the third period, Patrick Sharp pushed Chicago's lead to 4-0 when he scored his second goal of the night and 30th goal of the season on a power play. Teammates Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith were credited with assists. Four minutes later, Hossa would score off feeds from Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith. It was Hossa's 900th career point.

Colorado Avalanche 2-1 Calgary Flames

Colorado won in overtime with a goal by David Jones, but the game wasn't without some controversy. Mile High Hockey thinks that the Avs should have had a late power play and an easier route to their second goal.

What's an Avalanche game without a little bit of controversy? Throughout the game, but specifically the third period, there were several key non-calls that went against the Avs. Now I know that there was probably a couple calls that the Avs probably got away with as well, it's part of the game. However, none were of the egregious nature that the non-call on the high stick by Mark Giordano on Ryan O'Reilly. Just by looking at O'Reilly's nose on the bench, there was no doubt in my mind that it was broken, but The Factor is hockey player and he was literally back on the ice in just over a few minutes after it happened. That particular incident seemed to fire up the Avs and they were playing with more of a sense of urgency.

New York Islanders 5-2 Toronto Maple Leafs

The Leafs got off to a good start this season, but they're nowhere near the playoff race at the moment. Lighthouse Hockey isn't quite sure what happened to the Leafs team that has been beating up on them. Toronto wasn't good in this one.

Who knows what the Leafs will look like when Carlyle settles in with his team and his approach. But this was nothing like the Leafs team that got past the Isles three times earlier this season. For some reason Ron Wilson's speedy counterattack approach confounded the Isles, but tonight's opponent was, well, inert. Nothing much to learn about the Leafs here, but credit to the Isles for taking the opportunity put before them.

Pittsburgh Penguins 8-4 Winnipeg Jets

The stats tell the whole story here. How in the world does Sidney Crosby have 21 points in 12 games? Here's PensBurgh on the ridiculous numbers from Tuesday's game.

Evgeni Malkin had FIVE points.

James Neal had FOUR points, but more impressively, THREE goals for the hat trick.

Sidney Crosby had FOUR assists. Goalless through through four games, he still has managed to register NINE assists. He's up to 21 points in 12 games this season.

Pascal Dupuis scored again. He's up to 21 goals. That's a career-high for the soon-to-be 33-year-old winger.

Only seven Penguins didn't register points tonight, 11 did (believe it or not, Kris Letang didn't score a point).

Just FOUR Jets finished the game with an even or better plus-minus rating.

All of those numbers don't equal an 11-game winning streak, but math like that seems like it should do something good. Like overcome some shaky defending and suspect goaltending.

But eight goals? Defense-schmefense. Points are prettier.

See the full NHL scoreboard.

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