Ottawa survives another Caps trick
Until Sunday, the league's highest scoring offense didn't have a player with a hat trick. Now, Washington can't win when one player does get three goals.
Alexander Semin became the third Capital in as many games to record a hat trick, but it wasn't enough as Ottawa held on for a 6-5 victory over Washington. Coupled with Buffalo's overtime loss to Carolina, the Senators took possession of first place in the Northeast Division and third in the East. They have won 13 of their last 14 games.
Jason Spezza and Milan Michalek had a goal and two assists each, Filip Kuba posted three assists, and Anton Volchenkov deserved his No. 1 star after he was credited with an astounding 11 blocked shots. Daniel Alfredsson, Chris Neil, Chris Phillips and Alexei Kovalev also scored for the Senators, who got 19 saves from Brian Elliott.
Tomas Fleischmann and Jeff Schultz scored for the Capitals, who got hat tricks from Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich in their previous two games. Semin also had an assist and Mike Green notched two assists.
Sharks manage to beat Wings
Offense has been hard to come by all season for Detroit. On Thursday, it wasn't because the Red Wings didn't try.
Evgeni Nabokov made a career-high 50 saves, plus three in the shootout, and San Jose earned its first win in four tries this season over Detroit, 3-2. Patrick Marleau, in the bottom of the third round, recorded the only shootout goal.
Jason Williams earned a point for the Red Wings when he scored with seven minutes left in the third period to tie the score at 2-2. Earlier, Johan Franzen gave Detroit a 1-0 lead with his first goal since returning from an injury, only to see it canceled out 25 seconds later by Joe Thornton's goal. Dwight Helminen also scored for the Sharks.
--Michael Ryder had two goals and an assist, Milan Lucic scored twice and Boston hung on for a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay. The Bruins led 5-0 before two goals by Martin St. Louis and Steve Downie made things interesting.
--Bob Luongo's 31 saves led Vancouver to a 3-0 win over Florida, which is really reeling right now. In the Panthers' current five-game losing streak, they have scored four goals (two shutouts). They haven't scored more than two goals in a game since Jan. 16 and have 13 goals over their last 12 games. They hit six posts against Vancouver. Florida also managed to get a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty when it had a 5-on-3 power play.
--Mike Ribeiro had two nifty goals and an assist (but not a Three Stars selection) and Marty Turco made 33 saves for Dallas, which earned a key 3-1 win at Calgary.
--Brandon Sutter picked up a loose puck after Buffalo defenseman Steve Montador fell behind his own net, backhanded a no-look pass to the slot, and Sergei Samsonov fired home a one-timer to give Carolina a 4-3 overtime win over the Sabres. The assist capped off a three-point (one goal) night for Sutter.
--Jeff Deslauriers fought off 41 shots in regulation and overtime and stopped six shooters, many with poke checks, and Edmonton bounced back from blowing a 2-0 lead to defeat Los Angeles, 3-2 in a shootout, to snap an 11-game road losing streak. The Kings led three times in the shootout. Deslauriers did not get a star though. Dustin Brown had a goal and assist for LA.
Rant of the night
(Special feature tonight, because this is good from Caps coach Bruce Boudreau.)
"It was an ugly display. I thought our defense was horrible and our goaltending was horrible. You're not going to win when you give up six goals and maybe five of them are bad ones and our 'D' can't make a play. It's awful.
I don't think (Semyon Varlamov) was ready to play. He knew he was going to play. He's had 12 days of practice and a game under his belt. It's his responsibility to be ready. When you say, he's rusty, it's an excuse. And excuses aren't tolerated. The puck's going through his legs? He's been making that save since he was seven years old. Unless his memory banks have lost it.
He should have made the saves. But the giveaways by our defensemen were more horrible than the goaltending, and I didn't think the goaltending was good."
(Varlamov made his first start in a while, and gave up some shaky goals, including Kovalev's winner. I especially liked that "memory banks" quote.)
Pat Quinn-ism of the night
"Wins have been hard to come by this year so it was nice to happen."
Stat of the night
11 - Spezza has 11 goals in 11 games. ... Lightning forward Steven Stamkos has an 11-game points streak. He has 11 assists in that time. (And eight goals.)
Quote of the night
"We had some good chemistry, but just a week too early."
Stars forward Brenden Morrow, who inadvertently knocked a loose puck off the stick of Jarome Iginla into his own net for Calgary's only goal. The two will be teammates for Canada at the Olympics.
Friday, Feb. 12 (7 games)
-Montreal (29-26-6) at Philadelphia (30-25-3), 6 p.m. ET. Six? This game starts at six? WTF? Anyway, these teams are six and seven in the East and need points.
-Phoenix (37-19-5) at Colorado (34-19-6), 9 p.m. The Avalanche are back in sixth after Vancouver's win. The Coyotes are feeling a little heat from the Kings in fourth.