Two-minute letdown answered with beatdown
Philadelphia was comfortably in control of its game with Ottawa, holding a 3-0 lead late in the second period. The Senators made things interesting. For about half a period.
Ottawa scored twice, once shorthanded, in the second period's final two minutes but Philadelphia responded with three third-period goals to come away with an easy 6-2 victory. Then the fights started in the last eight minutes, with surprising guys like Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux dropping the gloves for the Flyers.
There were five fights in the game.
As for the offense, Mike Richards had two goals and two assists and Danny Briere and Andrej Meszaros had one of each for the Flyers. Chris Pronger returned to the lineup with two assists. Sergei Bobrovsky made 25 saves.
About that genius move
Well, one night after scoring four times, Marian Gaborik was held without a point as Carolina knocked off the Rangers, 4-1. Jeff Skinner and Chad LaRose each had a goal and assist and Tuomo Ruutu set up two goals. Cam Ward made 39 saves, only two coming from the stick of Gaborik.
Toronto scored four unanswered goals - two by Mikhail Grabovski - lighting up Jonas Hiller to earn a 5-2 victory over Anaheim. Clarke MacArthur scored and set up two others and Tyler Bozak had a goal and assist. Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 26 saves.
Who rotates goalies more, Philadelphia or Washington?
Braden Holtby made 24 saves and Alex Ovechkin assisted on both Washington goals in a 2-1 victory over the Islanders. Nicklas Backstrom and Jason Chimera scored.
No Crosby, no Malkin, no goals, no points
In the most predictable result of the night (as I called a few days ago), Martin Brodeur shut out Pittsburgh. The Penguins, without Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, mustered just 23 shots on goal - few threatening ones - in the 2-0 loss. Brent Johnson gave up two brutal goals in the first 10 minutes, though the second, by Nick Palmieri, came off a terrible turnover by former Devil Paul Martin. Brian Rolston scored 1:22 in that allowed the Devils, who had only 20 shots, to implement their trap right away.
No Thomas, no points
I don't care who earns a game's Three Stars, but I do point them out sometimes when there's something curious about them. In this case, Buffalo knocked off Boston for a key 4-2 win and three Sabres were the game's stars. None were Ryan Miller, who made 38 saves, including 18 in the third period. Thomas Vanek, who scored and assisted on Jason Pominville's goal, both strikes coming in the third period to snap a 2-2 tie, was also not one. The Sabres did the damage against Tuukka Rask, who has only four wins despite some solid numbers.
Nashville scored three third-period goals, including two in the first 4:22, to secure a 5-1 rout of Colorado. David Legwand and Cody Franson both had a goal and assist and Pekka Rinne made 32 saves.
Los Angeles continued its struggles as Phoenix scored a controversial goal and downed the Kings, 2-0. Martin Hanzal's power play goal appeared to be hit with a high stick but no one associated with the NHL thought so, and Lee Stempniak scored 57 seconds later in support of Ilya Bryzgalov's 36 shots. Phoenix mustered just 15 attempts against Jonathan Quick. The Kings have lost three straight, scoring only two goals during that time, and 10 of 12.
Dallas won its fifth straight game, 4-2 over Edmonton, behind goal and assist efforts by Jamie Benn and Adam Burish plus Kari Lehtonen's 30 saves.
--Tampa Bay twice erased a one-goal deficit on goals by Steven Stamkos and Dominic Moore's shootout goal in round four helped the Lightning to a 3-2 shootout win over Atlanta. Dwayne Roloson made 27 saves.
--St. Louis scored twice in the third period to force overtime but Darren Helm scored on a 2-on-1 in the extra frame to give Detroit a 4-3 victory. Jiri Hudler posted three assists and Jimmy Howard made 26 saves.
--Antti Niemi made 36 saves and Joe Pavelski's shootout goal gave San Jose a 2-1 win over Vancouver. Roberto Luongo stopped 45 shots.
--I dunno, the Penguins just do not match up well against New Jersey. They can't do anything right against the Devils. They were lucky to beat them twice earlier this season. I'm not even mad at the loss, I knew it was coming. As usual, the Penguins couldn't adjust to the style New Jersey plays.
--The East playoff race won't and can't be anywhere near as tight as the West but the wins by Carolina and Buffalo (Nos. 9 and 10) and Atlanta's shootout loss have made things a touch more interesting.
--It took Stamkos long enough to reclaim the goal scoring lead from Sidney Crosby, who's been out most of the month, but Stamkos is looking unstoppable again.
--I'm sure I'm not the first to ask this, and this is probably counter to my past Chris Osgood arguments, but is Jimmy Howard good or just a product of Detroit's system? Since they've been missing some of their regulars, he's been mediocre at best.
--Actually that's not fair. He's been mediocre since the middle of November.