The top game on Monday night was in Pittsburgh, where one of the best teams in the Western Conference (the Ducks) was taking on one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference (the Penguins).
For 40 minutes it wouldn't have been unfair to call the game a letdown as neither team seemed capable of generating any sort of offense. It took the Penguins 18 minutes to record a shot on goal, and scoring chances seemed few and far between for both teams.
Then, early in the third period, everything started to happen as the teams combined for four goals over a five-minute stretch, with three of them going to Pittsburgh as the Penguins regained the top spot in the Metropolitan Division after a 3-1 win.
Elsewhere, Cam Ward's return to the lineup wasn't enough for Carolina as it lost to Boston, 4-1, while the Flames were 5-4 shootout winners over the Winnipeg Jets.
All the NHL Scores
Bruins 4, Hurricanes 1
Penguins 3, Ducks 1
Flames 5, Jets 4
On Monday, we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. How will Cam Ward fare in his return?
Ward allowed three goals on 29 shots in a 4-1 loss (Boston's fourth goal was an empty net goal), but he didn't get much help from his defense. There were breakdowns and confusion, and it just wasn't a strong showing by the Hurricanes. They really missed Alexander Semin and Jeff Skinner (as should have been expected) in this one and struggled to create anything offensively.
2. Will the Boston Bruins pull to .500 against the Metropolitan Division?
Yes, and they received contributions from a few unlikely sources getting goals from Johnny Boychuk, Carl Soderberg and Reilly Smith. Tuukka Rask wasn't challenged all that much and was only beaten by a fluky goal from Tuomo Ruutu at the end of the first period.
3. Will the Anaheim Ducks record a point against the Pittsburgh Penguins?
No, and it ends a rather disappointing road trip for the Ducks, who went 0-3-1 and scored just six goals against Florida, Tampa Bay, Carolina and Pittsburgh.
4. Will the Pittsburgh Penguins regain the Metropolitan Division lead?
They did, and perhaps even more important for the Penguins they remembered how to score goals. After being limited to just one goal in four of the past five games they had a bit of an offensive explosion in the third period to regain the top spot in the division, jumping back ahead of the Washington Capitals.
5. Will the Calgary Flames end their losing streak?
They made it interesting, but yes. They allowed a game-tying goal to Bryan Little with six seconds remaining in regulation but were able to outlast the Jets in a shootout to end what had been a six-game losing streak.
The one play or moment from Monday that is going to make headlines over the next couple of days.
Evgeni Malkin's goal drought extended to 14 games in the Penguins' 3-1 win, but that should not overshadow the fact that he's still playing quality hockey. He's probably been Pittsburgh's best player over the past three or four games; and even though he isn't shooting as often as he normally does, he's still creating offense and getting quality looks. The goals will come, but in the meantime he's going to continue to set up his teammates as he did on Monday night. Even without a goal he's still assisted on 10 of the Penguins' past 18 goals. He's not the problem with the offense.
Stat of the Night
The Anaheim Ducks signed Viktor Fasth to a two-year, $5.6 million contract extension after he appeared in just nine NHL games. At the time, he looked unbeatable and had posted a .933 save percentage. In the 22 regular season games since he signed that contract extension, including Monday: He has just a .907 save percentage.
Post to Post
- It's been a tale of two teams for the Nashville Predators so far this season.
- Should Carolina consider trading Tim Gleason for Erik Cole?
- The paralyzing fear of opportunity cost.
- Is Douglas Murray the worst defenseman in the NHL right now?