Injuries were the big story on Thursday as the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning not only lost games (the Capitals bowed to Columbus 5-2, Tampa Bay fell in Ottawa, 5-3) they also lost some key players in the process.
Washington had to play the final two periods of its game without the services of Mike Green after he was hit from behind into the boards by Boone Jenner, while Tampa Bay lost starting goaltender and Vezina frontrunner Ben Bishop after he was accidentally kneed in the back of the head by his teammate.
Along with Bishop, the Lightning also lost forward Valtteri Filppula.
Elsewhere on Thursday, Cory Schneider continued to make his case to get the bulk of the playing time of New Jersey with another strong performance in the Devils' 3-2 overtime win in Dallas, while the Phoenix Coyotes lost to the Buffalo Sabres for the second time this season. When you're fighting for a playoff spot you can't drop points to the worst team in the league.
All the NHL Scores
Blue Jackets 5, Capitals 2
Senators 5, Lightning 3
Devils 3, Stars 2 (OT)
Flames 4, Sharks 1
Sabres 3, Coyotes 2
Avalanche 5, Wild 4
Penguins 4, Kings 1
On Thursday we asked you five burning questions about the day's games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the Blue Jackets end their three-game losing streak?
Oh yes, and it was in a pretty convincing manner. They blew Washington out, 5-2, thanks to a two-goal performance from Ryan Johansen and a 30-save night from Sergei Bobrovsky. Anytime you can beat the team you are in direct competition with for a playoff spot, that's big. It probably feels even better when you dominate them.
2. Will Alex Ovechkin extend his goal scoring streak?
This was not a good night for Ovechkin, as he not only failed to score but he was also on the ice for every Blue Jackets goal to finish with a minus-five for the game. Rough night all around for the Capitals.
3. What will the Sharks do after a tough loss in Edmonton on Wednesday?
Lose for a third straight game, but at least this time they scored a goal. One goal. This just another example as to how even top teams have slumps over an 82-game season. The Sharks have just one goal in their past three games and just lost back-to-back games to Edmonton and Calgary. It's a crazy league sometimes.
4. Will Jonathan Bernier have to face 40 shots for Toronto?
So close. He actually had to face 38 as the Maple Leafs erased an early two-goal deficit to come back and trounce the Panthers, 6-3.
5. Will the Kings score two goals?
For the fifth game in a row, they did not. The Kings were going up against a Pittsburgh team that was without its top defenseman -- Kris Letang -- and was playing a backup goaltender -- Jeff Zatkoff -- and they still only managed to get one goal. This is starting to get ridiculous. The only goal for Los Angeles on Thursday was an Anze Kopitar power play goal that was made possible because Brandon Sutter left his position to go and retrieve his stick that had fallen out of his hands. And that was it for the Kings offensively.
The one play or moment from Thursday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
The Colorado Avalanche went all in with Semyon Varlamov as their No. 1 goaltender for the foreseeable future by signing him to a five-year, $29.5 million contract on Thursday. These deals with goaltenders are always risky, and this is no different. He's had a marvelous season for the Avalanche, but it's also a level far and away anything he's ever done in his career. You never really know how goalies are going to perform from year to the next, and anytime you invest that many years and that many dollars into the position you're rolling the dice. Varlamov gave up four goals on 35 shots in Colorado's 5-4 win on Thursday.
Stat of the Night
Since he didn't score on Thursday in their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jackets, Martin Erat has yet to score a goal in 46 games this season. Dating back to last season he has scored one goal in 55 games as a member of the Capitals. There's bad luck, and then there is falling off of a cliff. For a player that you could pencil in for 20 goals every year that is a stunning -- and sudden -- fall.
Post to Post
- The reaction from the folks at Mile High Hockey on the Semyon Varlamov contract extension.
- Is Tomas Plekanec a Selke Trophy contender this season?
- Outdoor games are still awesome.
- Detroit Red Wings forward Johan Franzen will not be representing team Sweden in the Olympics next month.
- Kimmo Timonen is still pretty good.