Hockey on Saturday was all about finding ways to win.
Unless you happen to play hockey in Dallas. But we'll get to that soon.
In Toronto, the New York Rangers fought tooth and nail to keep pace with the Maple Leafs. Rick Nash reclaimed his share of the league lead in goals, completing a three-goal comeback by giving the Rangers the lead in the third period. At that point nobody would've been surprised if the Leafs sputtered and let the game slip away. Instead, they dug down and got two late goals to pull off a win.
The Flyers actually had to find a way to beat themselves. Philadelphia built a strong four-goal lead over Colorado through two periods before watching the Avs chip away at it piece-by-piece in the third. For a while there, it looked as if Philly would blow a sizable late lead for the second time this season. And yet, Steve Mason and company managed to survive their own mistakes in the end.
The same can't be said for the Dallas Stars, who lost their seventh consecutive game after blowing a 3-1 lead to the San Jose Sharks in the third period. You could see the tide change coming a mile away, as Stars mistakes continued to pile up like they have over the last two weeks. It was another crushing defeat, but the real loss is that they were deprived of the kind of hockey love Toronto shared.
Hockey love is happy love. pic.twitter.com/8eUSIYNEoI— JordanHeath-Rawlings (@TheGameSheet) November 9, 2014
All the NHL scores
Maple Leafs 5, Rangers 4
Flyers 4, Avalanche 3
Sharks 5, Stars 3
3 Things We Learned
1. Sidney Crosby playing against the Buffalo Sabres in real life is actually kind of like Sidney Crosby playing the Sabres in a video game. It took just 35 minutes for the NHL's best player to rack up five assists on the NHL's worst team, and he made it look easy. Someone (probably a bitter Sabres fan) made a wisecrack on Twitter that they were probably all secondary assists. On the contrary! Crosby had to work for most of those assists, showing why he's the straw that stirs the Penguins' drink offensively. This was our favorite:
2. The fact Dallas wasted a Tyler Seguin hat trick has to make the loss sting even harder. It's continually amazing how quickly Seguin is becoming one of the league's greats. His ascension is so swift that his hat trick (his second of the year) didn't even make some Stars fans bat an eye. It was a heck of a way to break out of a slump for Seguin, who had fallen off the pace in the scoring race over the last week while Crosby and Jakub Voracek forged ahead. The problem is that his teammates aren't picking up the slack.
3. The 2-1 loss to Nashville might actually be a good thing for the Blues. Yes, their seven-game winning streak finally came to an end. But that run of form sparked by the blossoming of Vladimir Tarasenko and good work from Jake Allen and Brian Elliott was actually masking a couple of problems with St. Louis. The secondary scoring was virtually nonexistent (Tarasenko scored most of the goals by a mile), and defensemen like Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester weren't driving play as well as they usually do. It will be interesting to see if the end of the streak marks the beginning of a downward spiral.
We came awfully close to a terrible skate blade incident on Saturday. When Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri's skate came flying up onto Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi's neck, fans of both teams feared the worst.
Thankfully, Girardi only suffered a minor cut to the back of his neck. It was dangerously close to being much worse.
Stat of the Night
Tyler Seguin notched his fifth hat trick as a Dallas Star tonight, just ONE behind Mike Modano's record. He's been a Star for 94 games.— SB Nation NHL (@SBNationNHL) November 9, 2014
Post to Post
Finally, Patrick Roy says he was okay with a boarding call on Nathan MacKinnon. We have video evidence that proves otherwise.