It was the busiest night of the NHL season. Fourteen games. Marquee matchups. All but two teams played. And yet, somehow, the lowly Buffalo Sabres stole the headlines. Hockey is weird.
But we'll get to that in a moment. The most important developments on Monday occurred in Washington. On a night when Western Conference teams like Phoenix, Los Angeles and St. Louis showed some cracks in the armor, the Anaheim Ducks won their ninth consecutive game.
After falling behind early, the Ducks rallied with three unanswered goals and a relentless offensive attack. While the West feasts on its own kin, the Ducks are just rolling on anyone they face right now. Don't be surprised if Anaheim is the lone survivor of the Western Conference chaos this season. They play the game with tenacity and effort, two things that Mike Smith will tell you are the difference between winning and, well ...
Smith on effort: "It's an honest game and if you don't play how you're supposed to play... you get it jammed right up your butt."— Joe Yerdon (@JoeYerdonPHT) December 24, 2013
All the NHL Scores
Sabres 2, Coyotes 1 (OT)
Ducks 3, Capitals 2
Senators 5, Penguins 0
Flames 4, Blues 3 (SO)
Oilers 6, Jets 2
Stars 5, Kings 2
On Monday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. How will Bruce Boudreau's return to Washington go?
Splendidly, although early on it looked like his old team would get the best of him. His team fought back with a torrid offensive pace and eventually netted the game-winner in the third. The only way the night would've been better is if the team had honored him. Jerks!
Boudreau on returning to Verizon Center: "They didn’t put me on the board! Oh well. … 4 and 1/2 years — the greatest years of my life."— Chris Gordon (@Chris_Gordon) December 24, 2013
2. How will Brooks Laich fare in his return to the Capitals lineup?
He played fourth line minutes and didn't earn much of a chance to make a difference, but the important thing is that he's back on the ice. It had to be a welcome sight to the fans, staff and his teammates.
3. Will the Penguins extend their seven-game winning streak?
Pittsburgh's hot streak came to a grinding halt on Monday when they ran into a buzz-saw in Ottawa. Marc-Andre Fleury was unspectacular in net and the Penguins never really recovered after Pascal Dupuis and Sidney Crosby were injured early in the game. Oh, and Erik Karlsson did things like this.
4. Will Jay Bouwmeester continue his point streak against the Calgary Flames?
Sure did. The lanky Blues defenseman assisted on Jaden Schwartz's second period tally to give St. Louis the go-ahead goal. But the Flames fought back for a shootout win.
5. Can the Oilers end their six-game losing streak?
The one play or moment from Monday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
How could it be anything other than #ButtGoal? The Buffalo Sabres managed to win in the most ridiculous way possible when the puck dropped into Mike Smith's pants before he carried it over the goal line in overtime.
Stat of the Night
Post to Post
- The Citi Frozen Fenway series came up with an interesting new method for preventing spinal injuries in hockey.
- Are the shallower nets impacting NHL scoring?
- Should Drew Stafford be suspended for this illegal elbow?
- Finally, the Dallas Stars' holiday video is just delightful. #imValNichushkin