Wow. Thursday night saw some ugly hockey from a few teams.
Frosty the Snowman
Has moved to Boston. Sheesh, I guess the Bruins read the blog, huh? They're sick and tired of me saying they have no offense.
In a thorough, undeniable, dominant performance, Boston embarrassed Tampa Bay to the tune of 8-1. Somewhere, Steve Yzerman is saying, "This shit never happened to me in Detroit." This was the second time in four games, and third overall, that the Lightning have lost a game by at least six goals.
Go back and read that last sentence again. I don't think any other team has lost three games by six or more goals, not even Edmonton.
David Krejci and Michael Ryder each had three points, with Krejci netting a pair of goals and Ryder one. Milan Lucic and Mark Recchi had a goal and assist each and Boston also got goals from Dennis Seidenberg - from center ice when Mike Smith left the net early on a dump-in that went straight to the goal instead - Shawn Thornton and Blake Wheeler. Thornton's goal was also strange. Victor Hedman, the Tampa goal scorer, and Mike Smith got mixed up on a dump-in, letting the puck sit two inches from the goal line, and Thornton raced to the puck to poke it home.
Lost in the shuffle? Tim Thomas made 37 saves.
Someone will lose their head over this
Remember how we've discussed how bad Edmonton is? Well, the Oilers have leapfrogged someone in the standings. Well done, Toronto.
Taylor Hall scored twice, Jordan Eberle had three points and Nikolai Khabibulin made 33 saves as Edmonton spanked Toronto, in Toronto, 5-0. Eberle had a goal as did Sam Gagner and Ryan Jones. Ryan Whitney posted two helpers and Jones also had an assist.
The Maple Leafs have lost four straight games, two via shutout, and have been blanked three times in their last five losses.
So much for that
New Jersey had won three of its last four games. Respectability was returning. Playoffs? Well, the Devils were earning points.
It took 98 seconds to do away with that.
Former Devil Brian Gionta scored 11 seconds after the opening faceoff and Lars Eller gave Montreal a 2-0 lead 1:38 into the game in an eventual 5-1 Canadiens rout. Tom Pyatt, Scott Gomez and Benoit Pouliot also scored as Montreal opened up a 5-0 lead. Only Jason Arnott's strike midway through the third period prevented Carey Price (27 saves) from earning a shutout.
They're not booing, they're saying Dan "Booooyle"
Right? That's what was going on in Ottawa when San Jose visited? Didn't have anything to do with a certain former Senator returning, I'm positive.
Well, Dany Heatley had a fairly quiet night - unless you count the boos - but he also had the last laugh as Ottawa put forth a woeful display, falling 4-0 to San Jose. Logan Couture scored twice in the third period after Patrick Marleau and Justin Braun (his first in the NHL) had power play goals to stake the Sharks to a 2-0 lead. Heatley did make a nice play to set up Braun's goal but the one assist was his only point.
There was an amusing scene when, with say, 2.5 seconds or so left on a running clock, Heatley took off down the runway to the locker room rather than celebrate with his teammates. I guess he thought something might happen if he stayed out there any longer. Or he just couldn't take it any more.
Antti Niemi made 28 saves for the shutout.
Not there yet
Now that we're past the horrid performances of the night, let's turn to the marquee game. The up-and-coming Thrashers against the established Penguins.
Atlanta entered as the second-hottest team in the league with a six-game winning streak. The Thrashers have to start a new one.
Sidney Crosby recorded a natural hat trick to extend his points streak to 14 games and Pittsburgh stifled the Thrashers, holding the visitors to 22 shots, including just five in the third period, and earned a 3-2 victory, Pittsburgh's eighth in a row. The hat trick was Crosby's second in three games. He tied Steven Stamkos (no points tonight) with 21 goals and extended his points lead to 44.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 20 saves. Bryan Little had a power play goal, ending Pittsburgh's penalty killing streak at 32 consecutive disadvantages. The Thrashers entered with the league's third-best power play. The Penguins had the top-ranked penalty killing.
Hat trick here too
Marian Gaborik's third goal of the game came 25 seconds after Blake Comeau tied a wild game at 5-5, and the Rangers edged the Islanders, 6-5. Gaborik had four points and Sean Avery had three assists. Henrik Lundqvist entered the game in relief and made nine saves in 27 minutes for the win.
Hey, that's our tactic
So many times when Washington gives up a goal, the Capitals seem to answer back in under a minute or two. This time, Dallas did it to Washington. Just 20 seconds after Mike Knuble tied the game at 1-1 with 9:42 left in the third period, Brandon Segal threw a wrist shot past Michal Neuvirth for the go-ahead goal in Dallas' 2-1 victory.
Andrew Raycroft made 37 saves and was helped out when the referee waived off a tying goal with under 10 seconds due to contact with Raycroft. Washington complaints led to an unsportsmanlike conduct call, putting the Capitals shorthanded.
Anze Kopitar's goal with 2:43 left in regulation gave Los Angeles a 3-2 win over Florida and snapped the Kings' four-game losing streak. LA had lost seven of its past eight. Jarret Stoll and Peter Harrold also scored and Jonathan Quick made 24 saves.
--Not sure if the Caps got screwed or not. There was an awful lot of contact by all parties in the crease. Alex Ovechkin seemed to give Karlis Skrastins a slight push into Andrew Raycroft, but another Star might've given Ovechkin a bit of a nudge into Skrastins.
--Don't remember the name of the host of On the Fly, but he asked Kevin Weekes if Tampa should be concerned about its goaltending. Um, yeah, I'd say so. Dan Ellis has the best numbers with a 3.02 GAA and an .888 save percentage. The Lightning have given up the second-most goals per game in the league despite giving up the second fewest number of shots.
--Teams might also be figuring out that Tampa is basically a one-line team. Shut down Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis and your chances of beating the Lightning drastically improve. Vincent Lecavalier's probably overrated as a player these days but they really need him back.
--One wonders if Raycroft will spell Kari Lehtonen more often. He's made four starts and except for a five-goal outing against Colorado, he's given up just two goals.
--Real good showings by Ottawa and Toronto. Those teams need blown up.