It seems that all the Winnipeg Jets needed to bring out their best was a change behind the bench. For one night, anyway.
The Jets welcomed Paul Maurice to the team on Monday with what was perhaps the best performance of the season, when they thoroughly outplayed the Phoenix Coyotes, picking up a 5-1 win to snap what had been a five-game losing streak that ultimately led to the dismissal of former coach Claude Noel.
Elsewhere around the league, Calgary shut out Carolina while Lee Stempniak's bad luck continued in the goal-scoring department, Columbus edged the Lightning thanks to a pair of third-period power-play goals, and the Kings and Canucks spent more time fighting with each other than they did actually playing hockey.
Referee Wes McCauley was on the receiving end of the hit of the night in the Carolina-Calgary game.
All the NHL Scores
Blue Jackets 3, Lighting 2
Jets 5, Coyotes 1
Kings 1, Canucks 0
On Monday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will Eric Staal do anything to mark his return?
Quite honestly, nobody did much anything for the Hurricanes, and that includes the oldest of the Staal brothers. He played 21 minutes and recorded two shots on goal for Carolina in a 2-0 loss that probably wasn't as close as the final score. For a team that's trying to fight for a playoff spot these are two tough points to drop at home to one of the worst teams in the league.
2. How will the Winnipeg Jets respond to new coach Paul Maurice?
They played what was perhaps their best game of the season and beat the Coyotes in every phase of the game. The only negative for the Jets in this game was when Zach Bogosian whiffed on a check early in the third period and sent himself flying face first into the boards. He returned to the game, but it still didn't look good.
3. Will the Coyotes continue to struggle on the road?
That would be putting it mildly. The Coyotes managed just 19 shots on goal against the Jets and Mike Smith had a rough night in net highlighted by a couple of brutal giveaways that led to Jets goals. Had it not been for an equally bad play by Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec earlier in the game, the Coyotes may not have scored in this one. After tallying the opening goal the Coyotes allowed the Jets to score five straight goals to end the game.
4. Can the Lightning improve their impressive road record?
After winning seven of their past eight road games, the Lightning couldn't get enough offense to keep rolling away from home, losing 3-2 in Columbus. Tampa Bay carried a lead into the third period but allowed Columbus to score a pair of goals, both on the power play, including a rocket of a shot from Nathan Horton for his second of the season to tie the game. Mark Letestu scored the game-winner with less than three minutes to play in regulation.
5. Will Dustin Brown face any retaliation for injuring Roberto Luongo?
It seemed like everybody was out for blood in this game. The two teams combined for more than 100 penalty minutes (many of them before the third period even started) and played a brutally physical game that included fights, a slew foot, and all sorts of shenanigans. Making the loss even worse for the Canucks? Dustin Brown scored the only goal of the game to beat them.
The one play or moment from Monday that will be making headlines over the next couple of days.
So, about that Kings power play. Los Angeles is a heck of a hockey team, but when you go more than 10 straight minutes with a power play and fail to score a goal, that's probably the sign of a problem. Especially when your team is already in the bottom-third of the league in goal-scoring. The Kings might need to do something about that before the trade deadline.
Stat of the Night
Tom Sestito was credited with one second of ice-time on Monday night for the Vancouver Canucks, and he used that time to record 27 penalty minutes that ultimately led to a seven-minute power play for the Los Angeles Kings.
According to the Hockey-Reference database, Sestito is just the fifth player since 1987 to play fewer than 10 seconds in a game and still record more than 20 penalty minutes. Nobody did it in fewer than two seconds. Earlier this season Zac Rinaldo of the Philadelphia Flyers did it in four seconds.
Funny thing about that list is the game Jim McKenzie had for the New Jersey Devils on Nov. 9, 2001, when he played one shift, logging seven seconds of ice time, and not only recording 27 penalty minutes, but also finishing the game as a minus-one. Sestito's night wasn't quite that bad (if only because the Canucks didn't give up a goal with him on the ice), but it was certainly close.
Post to Post
- The Ottawa Senators signed Bryan Murray to a contract extension and made him president of hockey operations.
- Who is driving the San Jose Sharks' league-leading penalty differential?
- The tricky thing about finding the be-all, end-all stat in hockey.
- The 2015 NHL draft will be held at the home of the Florida Panthers.
- The Winter Classic makes a lot of money. How much? How about $20 million.