The Anaheim Ducks are going to lose a home game in regulation at some point this season, but it certainly wasn't going to be on Wednesday as they absolutely steamrolled the Vancouver Canucks, 9-1, to improve their record on home ice to an unbelievable 20-0-2 for the season.
Anaheim chased Vancouver starter Eddie Lack in the first period and then welcomed Joacim Eriksson to the NHL by scoring six goals against him in his NHL debut.
It didn't help that the Canucks made him face a seven-minute five-on-three late in the third period (and yes, Tom Sestito was in the middle of that again), a sequence that may have finally pushed coach John Tortorella over the edge.
And as long as we're on the subject of impressive home winning streaks, the Penguins extended their current run to 13 straight at the Consol Energy Center with a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals in an exciting -- but at times sloppy -- game. Olli Maatta scored the winner late in the third period, but don't overlook the play Evgeni Malkin made to set him up as he controlled the puck in the offensive zone for about 10 seconds on his own, dekeing in and out of Capitals defenders, before dishing the puck off to Maatta.
The play of the night may have been the goal that didn't get scored.
In Buffalo, the Maple Leafs needed yet another shootout to extend their current winning streak to three games.
All the NHL Scores
Maple Leafs 4, Sabres 3
Penguins 4, Capitals 3
Ducks 9, Canucks 1
On Wednesday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will Tyler Bozak record a point for the Maple Leafs?
He did not. It was just the second time in his past 14 games that Bozak did not find his way onto the scoresheet, as the Maple Leafs center has been riding an incredible (and probably lucky) hot streak that's seen him tally 16 points. He did however score the clinching goal in the shootout to lift the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win over Buffalo. In five games against the Sabres this season Toronto has lost twice, won two games in a shootout, and won once in regulation. If they miss the playoffs by a point or two, they might be looking back on some of those points they left on the table against Buffalo.
2. Will James Neal play for the Penguins, and if so, what will he do?
Neal did not play, sitting out the game with an upper body injury and forced the Penguins to insert yet another call-up into their lineup. It didn't stop them from winning however, even with some makeshift line combinations, thanks to some timely contributions from Jussi Jokinen and Olli Maatta.
3. Will Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin do anything of significance?
Of course they did. Crosby added to his league-leading point total with an assist on Kris Letang's second-period goal, while Alex Ovechkin finished with a game-high six shots on goal (nobody else on either team had more than four) and scored his league-leading 34th goal. He scored after Brooks Orpik knocked his stick out of his hand and had to reach down and pick it up just before the pass came his way.
4. Will the Ducks lose a home game in regulation?
Not a chance. Another home game, another two points in the standings for Anaheim as it runs its home record to 20-0-2 on the season. This might have been their best showing of the season, especially on the power play where they scored five goals. That's a franchise record.
5. Will Tom Sestito's night last more than one second and include fewer than 27 penalty minutes?
It did! But it was still a ridiculous day at the office for him. He played 8:35 in the Canucks' 9-1 loss and still came away with 22 penalty minutes, and for the second straight game was in the middle of a sequence that put his team shorthanded for seven straight minutes. This time it was a two-man advantage. That's some impressive work.
The one play or moment from Wednesday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
Off the ice it was Edmonton's revolving door of goaltenders that saw the Oilers trade Devan Dubnyk to Nashville for Matt Hendricks, and then turn around and bring in Ben Scrivens from Los Angeles for a third-round pick. Is that going to be the answer in net? Coach Dallas Eakins is certainly familiar with Scrivens going back to their days in the Toronto organization, but Edmonton still has to get Scrivens signed as he's an unrestricted free agent after the season.
On the ice it was the play of 19-year-old defenseman Olli Maatta in Pittsburgh, as he had a direct hand in two of the biggest goals of the night, including the game-winner late in the third period. He's playing like a seasoned veteran, not a like the teenager in a league against men that he is.
Stat of the Night
Maybe the Maple Leafs should stop fighting. Just a crazy thought.
Via @camcharron, the Leafs are on pace for 103 pts per 82 games in games they don't fight. When they do fight: 71 pts per 82 games in games.— Steve Dangle Glynn (@Steve_Dangle) January 16, 2014
Post to Post
- The Edmonton Oilers traded for Matt Hendricks for some reason.
- The Nashville reaction to that bizarre transaction.
- The Montreal Canadiens are not getting any better. Seriously, that team might be in some trouble unless it makes some changes.
- Detroit Red Wings forward Pavel Datsyuk is going to be the captain of Russia's Olympic team.