NHL Scores: Avalanche outgun Canadiens, Predators survive in Los Angeles

Doug Pensinger

It was all about the goaltenders on a busy Saturday night in the NHL.

Fun fact: Goaltending is important in the NHL.

If that sounds obvious, it is. But, take a look at two winning teams from Saturday night and you'll begin to see just how much their goaltending situations are defining their season.

The Predators are without Pekka Rinne for at least a month and they missed him in Los Angeles on Saturday. The Preds saw a 3-0 lead evaporate in the third period thanks to some sloppy mental mistakes from rookie goalie Carter Hutton. Sure, they eventually eked out a 4-3 win, but Nashville will be playing on the edge until it gets Rinne back.

Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche can plug in any goalie they want right now and still find success. The NHL's best team so far this season got another outstanding performance from Jean-Sebastien Giguere en route to a 4-1 win over Montreal. The Habs presented Colorado with its toughest challenge: a speedy team that could keep pace with the young, quick Avs forwards. And yet, Colorado's net was as impenetrable as it has been all season.

Colorado shouldn't take those kinds of goaltending performances for granted. Just ask the Predators.

All the NHL Scores

Blackhawks 5, Jets 1

Ducks 6, Sabres 3

Lightning 4, Blues 2

Flyers 1, Devils 0

Islanders 3, Bruins 1

Rangers 5, Hurricanes 1

Capitals 3, Panthers 2 (SO)

Penguins 3, Blue Jackets 0

Canucks 4, Maple Leafs 0

Avalanche 4, Canadiens 1

Red Wings 5, Oilers 0

Predators 4, Kings 3

Coyotes 3, Sharks 2 (SO)

Five Questions

On Saturday, we asked you five burning questions about the day's games. These are your cool, soothing answers

1. How do the Flyers fare after Friday's debacle?

Better. The Flyers earned a 1-0 win over New Jersey on Saturday on the back of Ray Emery. To the surprise of many, the Flyers gave Emery the start after giving up four goals and playing a huge part in the line brawl with the Capitals. But Emery stood tall, stopping all 14 shots he faced.

2. Will Captain Serious impress his hometown fans?

Jonathan Toews didn't factor on the scoresheet, but the rest of his Blackhawks teammates certainly showed up against the Jets. Five different Hawks scored in Chicago's 5-1 romp over Winnipeg.

3. Can Toronto's goalie (whoever it is) extend the Leafs' win streak to four games?

James Reimer tried his best, but the Leafs were too sloppy in a 4-0 loss to Vancouver. Reimer stopped 43 of 47 shots against in a terrific effort against the Canucks. Toronto coach Randy Carlyle called it the worst game his team played all year.

4. Will Sergei Bobrovsky bounce back?

"Bob" didn't play on Saturday, but his teammates didn't do much bouncing back themselves. The Blue Jackets struggled to get any kind of offensive momentum going, and Penguins rookie Jeff Zatkoff skated away with his first win and shutout of his career.

5. The Coyotes are riding high, but can they beat the Sharks?

Phoenix is off to a 9-3-2 start, somewhat surprising after such a disappointing 2013 season. They've been winning because of their offense, which is scoring at a 3.36 goals per game clip so far. To win on Saturday they'll have to solve Antii Niemi, one of the best goaltenders so far this season.

Impact Moment

The one play or moment from Friday's games that will be making headlines over the next couple of days


Remember how scary Erik Karlsson's injury was last season? Well, the same thing happened again on Saturday. Send your good thoughts this Sunday morning to Dave Bolland.

Stat of the Night

The Flyers need to focus on silver linings right now. Like the fact that they didn't turn the puck over in a game for the first time since 2009. Progress!

Post to Post

More from SB Nation NHL:

How to burn out an NHL goalie

The Sabres could be historically bad

When Ovi shoots, good things happen

The Goal: The rivalry between two high schools where hockey is life

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