After the chaotic events on Saturday, it was nice of the NHL to let fans breathe a little bit on Sunday. With just three games on the schedule, we all got to sit back, kick our feet up and enjoy a pleasant afternoon and evening of hockey.
But the on-ice product was mostly entertaining, featuring marquee matchups in New York and Chicago that lived up to their top-billing on NBC's networks. Even the lone wolf game in Carolina whet our appetite for high-octane hockey.
Fast-paced, fun hockey without nonsensical face punching. If only Peter Gammons was watching.
Lightning 5, Hurricanes 3
On Sunday we asked you five burning questions about the day's games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Can Boston avenge its Stanley Cup loss?
It really seems like the Bruins and Blackhawks play in shootouts all the time, doesn't it? It happened again on Sunday, with the Bruins falling short yet again. The matchup lived up to the hype, as both squads played like it was Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals all over again. Boston should be proud of their effort.
2. Can Alex Semin keep answering the bell?
You really have to hand it to Semin, who has been outstanding since GM Jim Rutherford called him out on Friday. He scored a goal in the second period with his team down by four, injecting some life into the struggling Hurricanes. He probably could've had at least two more goals considering how many chances he created for himself.
3. Does Tampa Bay have anything left in the tank?
Martin St. Louis took a backseat on Sunday after scoring four times just 24 hours earlier. The Lightning's depth scorers answered the bell instead, as Alex Killorn, Mark Barberio, Ondrej Palat and Nikita Kucherov chipped in with impressive offensive performances. Killorn's no-look backhand assist on Barberio's first goal was particularly inspired.
4. Can King Henrik keep Alex Ovechkin out of the net?
Let's be honest.
5. Will Jason Chimera and Joel Ward remain apart?
The one play or moment from Friday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
Martin Erat took a lot of flak on NBCSN and Twitter on Sunday, and rightfully so. His performance was woeful as he racked up six penalty minutes and generally bogged the Capitals down every time he was on the ice. Oh, and he did this:
For a guy that wants a trade, he's not doing much to help his trade value. But what option do the Capitals have? If they bench him, then they won't get any trade offers for him. But playing him isn't doing any good either, for him or the team. Trading Filip Forsberg away looks worse and worse every day.
Stat of the Night
Pittsburgh is a Captain factory:
Post to Post
- Sidney Crosby is Team Canada's captain, because duh.
- Jamie Benn escaped punishment for his hit on Matt Cooke. But how?
- Matchsticks & Gasoline gives a State of the Flamesion address. And you should follow them on Twitter for things like this:
Really hoping the NHL throws the book at Tortorella. Also hoping someone throws several at Bob Hartley and he's unable to coach— Matchsticks&Gasoline (@Matchsticks20) January 19, 2014