John Tortorella did not try to fight anybody on Monday night, but his return to the bench after serving his 15-day suspension did not result in a win for the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks were shutout in Detroit, 2-0, thanks to a combined effort from Jonas Gustavsson and Jimmy Howard (Gustavsson had to leave after one period due to dizziness), extending Vancouver's losing streak to four games and continuing a recent slide that has seen them lose 13 of their past 17 games.
It was a particularly poor showing by the Canucks, especially in the third period where they managed to get just four shots on goal in game they were trying to come from behind in. Even worse, a late power play that should have been an opportunity to tie the game resulted in more quality scoring chances for the Red Wings -- including three great looks for Darren Helm -- than the Canucks. Eddie Lack's general awesomeness in net is the only thing that kept the Canucks in it, but even he wasn't enough as Justin Abdelkader beat him once in the second period and then added an empty netter to wrap up the win.
Elsewhere on Monday, Marc-Andre Fleury made one of the best saves of the season to rob Erik Karlsson and help lead the Penguins to a 2-1 overtime win. Along with the potential save of the year, that game also treated us to perhaps the worst line change of the season.
The Blue Jackets continued their recent hot streak by marching into Anaheim and knocking off the Ducks.
In the battle for the NHL's basement, the Edmonton Oilers were 3-2 winners over the Buffalo Sabres in a game that featured two shorthanded goals, one for each team.
All the NHL Scores
Oilers 3, Sabres 2
Penguins 2, Senators 1
Red Wings 2, Canucks 0
Avalanche 2, Devils 1
Blue Jackets 4, Ducks 2
Blackhawks 5, Kings 3
On Monday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. How will the Vancouver Canucks perform during John Tortorella's return?
As mentioned above, it was not a particularly inspiring effort for the slumping Canucks. The playoffs are far from a lock for this team right now and performances like the one they had on Monday can't be filling fans with much confidence.
2. Will the Ottawa Senators and Pittsburgh Penguins combine for five or more goals?
They did not. They only scored three during Pittsburgh's 2-1 overtime win and that was mainly because both goaltenders were amazing. Fleury made the best save of the night, but Ottawa's Craig Anderson probably had a better game overall, stopping 46 of the 48 shots he faced. He was probably the only reason the Senators managed to get a point out of this one.
3. Will the Buffalo Sabres end their home losing skid?
Not even a game against the Edmonton Oilers could end it. Buffalo has now lost seven straight home games.
4. Will the Colorado Avalanche extend their three-game win streak?
They pushed it to the limit, but the Avalanche kept winning with a 2-1 victory in New Jersey thanks to a late third-period goal to force overtime and Ryan O'Reilly's game-winner on the power play just 28 seconds into the extra period.
5. Will the Los Angeles Kings be involved in a shutout?
Far from it. It was actually an offensive explosion by Kings standards, as they scored three goals against the Chicago Blackhawks. The only problem is they gave up five. When the offense isn't there, the defense and goaltending is. When the offense is there (relatively speaking) the defense and goaltending isn't. That's the way it's going for Los Angeles right now. This team can't buy a win at the moment.
The one play or moment from Monday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
It could have been Fleury's save, but we already talked about that, so let's go with Patrick Roy's decision to pull his goalie extremely early in the third period of a 1-0 game in New Jersey. It was a bit out of the box as far as NHL coaching decisions go, and it worked to perfection: It not only helped Colorado tie the game, the Avalanche would go on to draw a penalty in the final minute that resulted in the game-winning power play goal in overtime.
Stat of the Night
Christian Ehrhoff finished with 10 shots on goal for the Sabres during their 4-3 loss to the Edmonton Oilers. For a defenseman, that is a ton of shots in a game. The only other blue liners to reach double digits in shots in a single game this season are Vancouver's Alex Edler and Jason Garrison.
Post to Post
- The Montreal Canadiens traded for Dale Weise on Monday, and nobody is really sure why.
- And the Vancouver Canucks perspective on that same trade.
- Dave Nonis had a message for the Toronto Maple Leafs: Shape up, or ship out.
- Alex Ovechkin and the problem with plus/minus.
- Why the Columbus Blue Jackets are not a likely landing spot for New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan if he is traded.
- Speaking of New York trade talks, how about the Islanders' situation with Thomas Vanek?