"Clever headline using Sharp"
Patrick Sharp scored twice and Chicago handed Columbus its second straight defeat by a 4-1 margin. Marian Hossa returned to the lineup and had two assists, as did Troy Brouwer. Marty Turco made 26 saves.
--Jimmy Howard saw only 17 shots and stopped 16 as Detroit didn't struggle with Minnesota, 4-1. Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and assist.
--Jonathan Bernier's 18 saves and four second-period goals were enough to give Los Angeles a 4-1 win over Anaheim.
Fans of 3-2 scorelines, listen up
--Alex Ovechkin broke an eight-game goalless drought and added an assist in Washington's 3-2 win over Carolina. Semyon Varlamov stopped 33 shots. Ovechkin had also gone 13 games since his last multipoint effort. Tuomo Ruutu and Jussi Jokinen each had a goal and helper for the Hurricanes.
--Vincent Lecavalier's second goal of the game came on the power play early in overtime to give Tampa Bay a 3-2 win over Atlanta. Steven Stamkos had a goal and assist and Dan Ellis made 26 saves.
--Kevin Bieksa scored with 24 seconds left and Vancouver erased a two-goal deficit to down Edmonton, 3-2. Cory Schneider had 19 saves.
Dozens of witnesses
OK, yes, this is an attendance joke, but fans of the Devils and Islanders also deserve a break considering the vast amounts of snow that hit their areas. Would you venture out to watch those two teams? Me neither.
--An announced crowd of 5,329 - with estimates of actual people about half that - watched Martin Brodeur give up three goals in two periods and be lifted before the third period of Toronto's 4-1 win over New Jersey. Brodeur has now been relieved more often (six times) than he's won a game (five). Colby Armstrong scored twice and Jonas Gustavsson made 29 saves.
--Dwayne Roloson's 38 saves were witnessed by an announced 3,136, predominately Montreal fans as the Islanders knocked off the Canadiens, 4-1. P.A. Parenteau had a goal and assist for New York.
Good news, bad news
The good news for Pittsburgh was Sidney Crosby extended his points streak to 24 games by becoming the first NHLer to hit the 30-goal mark. The bad news is he needed another hat trick, as Brian Elliott stonewalled Pittsburgh on 44 saves to lead Ottawa over the Penguins, 3-1. Erik Karlsson scored twice and also had an assist.
--Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves and David Backes scored twice, once into an empty net, to lead St. Louis over Nashville, 2-0.
--Backup Jason LaBarbera fended off 30 shots and Kyle Turris scored the lone goal as Phoenix downed Dallas, 1-0.
--Hey, at least the Devils should get a good draft pick to replace Zach Parise when he's signed to an offer sheet and is too expensive for them to keep this summer, right? Maybe they'll draft a goalie.
--Ilya Kovalchuk has been a minus in nine of 11 December games. He's last in the league in plus/minus. The bottom four guys are Devils. Should they just blow things up and start over?
--All I'll say on the Penguins game is Ottawa came out hungrier and took more advantage of its opportunities. Anything else and I'll be labeled a whiner. Also, Elliott was awfully good. I don't remember a long list of awesome saves he made but he was always in position and I'm not sure he allowed even one rebound. The one goal he let in wasn't even a clean one; he made the save and it bounced off his defenseman's leg and barely in.
--Will Sunday's be the game that sparks Ovechkin the rest of the season? I didn't realize how long he'd gone between multipoint games.
--Maybe the Islanders figured out a good strategy to win. Throw off your opponent by playing in an empty arena.
--Wait, if that was the case, New York would be undefeated at home. Oh, snap!
--I should say something about the West so I'm not East Coast biased, but too bad. I'm tired.