Brodeur, Devils beat Tampa Bay again
It's possible that Martin Brodeur is, in fact, alive and well and ready to lead New Jersey back to the promise land.
OK, maybe not, but the aging sure-Hall of Famer is playing better.
Brodeur stopped 30 shots and Ilya Kovalchuk also rose from the brink of the dead - if for just one game - to score twice and New Jersey downed Tampa Bay for the second time in two games, 5-2. In his last two starts, both against the Lightning, Brodeur stopped 63 out of 68 shots and received a surprising amount of offensive support. He also stopped all 19 shots he saw in a 44-minute relief effort three games ago against Philadelphia.
Of course, it might be better for the Devils to just keep losing and get a better draft pick. If they win 70 percent of their remaining games (they won 28 percent of their first 43), the Devils will finish with 83 points, which a season ago was five points shy of a postseason berth.
After conceding the game's opening goal to Steven Stamkos, New Jersey netted the next four, all in the first period, to chase Dwayne Roloson, who was coming off a shutout of Washington. The backbreaker was probably Travis Zajac's shorthanded goal that gave the Devils a 4-1 lead. Zajac had two points as did Brian Rolston, who scored.
Stamkos and Martin St. Louis both had a goal and assist for Tampa Bay.
Red Wings lose Howard, game
If his recent ineffectiveness wasn't enough to clue in Detroit about potentially poor goaltending, Jimmy Howard going down with an injury might do the trick.
After conceding two goals to Columbus, Howard suffered a bruised knee and departed after 13 minutes. Detroit was already without Chris Osgood and thus had to turn to Joey MacDonald, who fared pretty well. He stopped all 21 shots he saw but Columbus got to him in a shootout and knocked off the Red Wings, 3-2. No word yet on the severity of Howard's injury.
Jakub Voracek and Grant Clitsome (teehee) gave the BJs (teeheehee) a 2-0 lead before Drew Miller and Jiri Hudler countered for the Red Wings. Antoine Vermette had the only shootout goal, in round four, and Steve Mason made 26 saves.
--A night after giving up seven goals to Boston and losing despite getting five pucks behind Tim Thomas (which should result in a win), Philadelphia scored three times in the latter half of the third period to defeat Atlanta, 5-2. Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux each had a goal and assist and Sergei Bobrovsky made 27 saves.
--One night after being blanked by the Rangers, Vancouver held Washington in check to the tune of a 4-2 victory. Daniel Sedin scored twice, once into an empty net, and defensemen Alexander Edler and Christian Ehrhoff both had a goal and assist. Roberto Luongo made 25 saves.
Holding the fort
--Henrik Karlsson made 33 saves and Calgary held off a late surge by Ottawa to earn a 3-2 win. David Moss scored twice for the Flames. Nick Foligno scored and assisted on Milan Michalek's goal in the final minute for the Senators.
--Craig Anderson made 32 saves as Colorado was out-shot by Minnesota, 33-18, and led the Avalanche to a 4-1 victory.
--I'm kind of confused why the Senators are so bad this season. They were a playoff team last year. Off the top of my head, their only key loss was defenseman Anton Volchenkov - who hasn't exactly worked wonders in New Jersey - and added Sergei Gonchar. Though Gonchar's game was dwindling his last couple years in Pittsburgh. I guess maybe it's degraded further than thought. I suppose some key guys are just regressing and underperforming for Ottawa. Not naming names. *coughMikeFishercough*
--I guess yeah, every individual pretty much on Ottawa sucks, from captain Daniel Alfredsson on down. Alfredsson has 14 goals but is on pace for his lowest point total since 1999.
--The Capitals are another interesting case-study. No one should ever sleep on their offense - I personally don't feel safe unless I'm up by three in the final minute - but they're certainly not putting the pucks in the net like they did last year. The Rangers have as many goals as Washington does. Carolina has one more, in two fewer games. Boston has more.
--I plan on doing this one day, but I want to see how many of the other top eight or so teams in the league have lost as many games by three goals or more as Tampa Bay has. Even with Stamkos and St. Louis, it's kind of hard to take that team seriously right now. Maybe the Lightning are still just a year or two away and this season will be a teaser of sorts.