The Toronto Maple Leafs managed to do something on Tuesday that they could not do last spring in the playoffs: protect a two-goal third-period lead in Boston.
Thanks to a three-point night from Tyler Bozak and some big saves from Jonathan Bernier in the third period, the Maple Leafs were able to hold on for a 4-3 win against the Bruins. It was just their third regulation victory in 25 games, and it moved them back into a playoff spot for the time being after they jumped the Detroit Red Wings for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Elsewhere on Tuesday, the Philadelphia Flyers and Buffalo Sabres played a back-and-forth third period that saw the two teams combine for five goals, including four in the final seven minutes. Vincent Lecavalier's goal with just 15 seconds to play proved to be the game-winner for the Flyers. Jhonas Enroth made some spectacular saves for the Sabres to keep them in it, including a sprawling blocker pad save on Claude Giroux in the first period, but the Flyers maintained offensive zone pressure over the final two periods and owned a 27-14 shot edge in the second and third periods. Eventually the floodgates open, and they did for the Flyers.
Jaromir Jagr set another milestone in New Jersey's 4-1 win over the Montreal Canadiens, while Alex Ovechkin added to his league-leading goal total with an impossible angle goal in the Capitals' shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks.
All the NHL Scores
Maple Leafs 4, Bruins 3
Lightning 2, Rangers 1
Sharks 2, Capitals 1
Flyers 4, Sabres 3
Devils 4, Canadiens 1
Panthers 4, Islanders 2
Avalanche 3, Blackhawks 2
Blues 2, Coyotes 1
Predators 4, Flames 2
Senators 3, Wild 0
Stars 5, Oilers 2
On Tuesday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. How will Matt Read perform in his return to the Flyers?
He played 18:42, recorded one shot on goal and added one assist. The assist was a big one as he helped set up Vincent Lecavalier's game-winner in the final seconds. It wasn't an eventful night for him, but he certainly made his one contribution count.
2. Will Henrik Lundqvist hold the Tampa Bay Lightning to less than two goals?
He held them to exactly two goals, and sadly for the New York Rangers that wasn't enough for a win because his teammates only gave him one goal of offensive support. The Tampa Bay goals came just nine seconds apart in the second period. After Victor Hedman tied the game with his 10th goal of the season, the Lightning instantly responded off the ensuing face-off when Radko Gudas (of all people) made a brilliant pass that split the Rangers defense to set up Nikita Kucherov for a breakaway that ended with him scoring the game-winning goal. For 59 minutes and 51 seconds Lundqvist and the Rangers were unbeatable. But man did those nine seconds hurt. That's the type of luck the Rangers have had this year.
3. Will anything of note occur for Martin Brodeur?
It very well could have been Martin Brodeur's final appearance in his hometown of Montreal, and he did not disappoint in in the Devils' 4-1 win, earning first star of the game honors. Brodeur, 41, stopped 29 of the shots he faced and improved his career record to 45-19-6 against the Canadiens.
4. Will the New York Islanders extend their four-game win streak?
Nope, and they really didn't deserve it with the way they started. The Islanders gave up three first-period goals to the Panthers and that was just too much to overcome on their way to a 4-2 loss. Andrew McDonald had a particularly rough game for the Islanders and had some problems with giveaways and turnovers that turned into Panthers goals.
5. Will the Coyotes snap their three-game losing streak?
They did not, and they managed just one goal in St. Louis in a 2-1 loss to the Blues. After starting the season 18-8-5 the Coyotes are now just 3-6-4 in their past 13 games, with only one of those wins (a 6-0 win over the Calgary Flames, one of the worst teams in the league) coming in regulation.
The one play or moment from Tuesday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
How about the job the Tampa Bay Lightning have done without Steven Stamkos? He hasn't played a game since Nov. 11 and the Lightning have still managed to put together a 15-10-4 record without him, and it's been Ben Bishop doing a lot of the heavy lifting. He was a rock once again on Tuesday, stopping 33 of the 34 shots he faced against the Rangers in a 2-1 win. They're in a pretty solid position to earn one of the three automatic playoff spots in the Atlantic Division (they are nine points ahead of fourth-place Toronto) and they owe a lot of that success to Bishop and his league-leading .937 save percentage.
Stat of the Night
Tyler Bozak has scored on five of his past 14 shots. That's a shooting percentage of 36 percent. For the season he's up to 28 percent. Everything he touches is going in the back of the net right now.
Post to Post
- Is Kari Lehtonen one of the NHL's elite goaltenders?
- Ryan Suter is playing a lot of minutes for the Minnesota Wild.
- Dodger Stadium with a hockey rink in the middle of it looks like it is going to be some kind of wild scene.
- Ryane Clowe is starting to turn a corner for the New Jersey Devils since returning from injury.