It's still pretty amazing that Steven Stamkos is back in the lineup for the Tampa Bay Lightning after suffering a major leg injury back in November, and even though he may not yet be at 100 percent he started doing the type of things we're used to seeing from him on Thursday night -- blasting one-timers on the power play past goalies.
Stamkos scored his first goal since early November in the third period of Tampa Bay's 5-4 win over Florida when he positioned himself in his usual spot in the right faceoff circle and beat Dan Ellis for his 15th of the season.
Elsewhere around the league, Buffalo's Michal Neuvirth became just the second goalie this season to stop 50 shots in a game his team lost, joining Ottawa's Robin Lehner, while the Los Angeles Kings had their eight-game winning streak snapped.
We also found out that announcing games between the benches is dangerous.
All the NHL Scores
Hurricanes 4, Sabres 2
Sharks 4, Blue Jackets 3
Lightning 5, Panthers 4
Wild 2, Rangers 1
Maple Leafs 3, Kings 2
On Thursday we asked you five burning questions about the days games. These are your cool, soothing answers.
1. Will the Los Angeles Kings extend their winning streak to nine?
They did not. Their streak came to an end at eight with a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs, with Mason Raymond's third period shorthanded goal being the difference. Toronto leaves its California trip with four out of six points.
2. Will Martin St. Louis get his first Rangers goal?
Not yet, and unfortunately for the Rangers they were only able to score one in Minnesota. Alain Vigneault suggested that St. Louis might still be pressing a little bit with his new team, having gone five games without a goal. He played 20 minutes and recorded four shots on goal.
3. Will Joe Pavelski have another multiple-point game for the Sharks?
4. Will Phoenix move back into a playoff position?
Thanks to their 2-1 loss in Boston they did not as they were unable to beat Tuukka Rask of the Bruins defense, no matter what situation they were in. The turning point in this game may have been as early in the first period when the Coyotes had a four-minute power play and not only failed to score, but managed to get just one shot on goal.
5. Can Tampa Bay give itself some cushion in the Wild Card race?
They did, and it probably wasn't as close as the 5-4 final score would indicate. Tampa Bay was in complete control of this game until late in the third period when Florida scored two goals in the final minute. Obviously it was a case of too little, too late. Ryan Callahan scored for the Lightning while Valtteri Filppula added three assists.
The one play or moment from Thursday that is going to be making headlines over the next couple of days.
What happened to Jonathan Bernier, and how long is he going to be out? There is perhaps no potential playoff team in the league that relies on its goaltending more than the Toronto Maple Leafs do, and Bernier is a huge part of that. Reimer is more than capable of playing if needed, but Bernier is clearly the guy that has the trust of the Toronto coaching staff at this point in the season. It's also important that Reimer stay healthy. The Maple Leafs got a bit of a scare midway through the second period when Reimer was shaken up after getting hit in the mask with a skate. He was able to stay in the game.
Stat of the Night
It was rough night for Buffalo Sabres defenseman Henrik Tallinder, as he played more than 18 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time and saw his team get outshot 20-5 with him on the ice, while also giving up 35 total shot attempts. That's nearly two shot attempts per minute with him on the ice, and that is terrible. That is also why your goalie has to stop 50 shots in a game he still loses.
On the other side of that game, Carolina's Jordan Staal had the exact opposite game as the Hurricanes attempted 26 total shots to just five for Buffalo in his 12 minutes of 5-on-5 ice-time. That's called "tilting the ice."
Post to Post
- Can the Montreal Canadiens afford to re-sign Thomas Vanek?
- John Tavares is sending an autographed jersey to a young fan that was recently bullied in Winnipeg.
- How NHL scoring rates change with age.
- The luck of the shootout.
- Thanks to Nathan Horton, 1,000 firefighters, policemen and EMT's were able to go to the Columbus Blue Jackets-San Jose Sharks game on Thursday night.