As usual Saturday was an early start in hockey land with 12 games taking place and starting around breakfast time.
Lets start with the Vancovuer Canucks vs Colorado Avalanche game. It started early in the 1st period with a goal by Ryan Kesler assisted by Alex Edler and David Booth. Kesler looked up into the sky after scoring and later was asked why he did that and Kesler's answer was his grandmother died the night before and he was thinking of her. Colorado tied up the game 6 minutes later. Onto the 2nd period and only one goal was scored, by Jay Mcclement. Byron Bitz, who was called up for the Canucks from the Chicago Wolves who is standing in for winger Chris HIggins who stayed in Vancouver dropped his gloves during the game in an effort to show the NHL world that Vancouver has grit. The best part of the game might have been the final minute. Luongo was pulled from net, after a back and forth 10 seconds it looked like Colroado was going to get their insurance goal on an empty net until out of nowhere Kevin Bieksa dives onto the puck stopping a shot from TJ Galiardi only to score the tying goal 15 seconds later with 34 seconds left! WOW! No scoring in OT and it was onto a S/O. Vancouver also ended their last game against the Detroit Red Wings in a S/O loss. Vancouver doesn't have the best track record with shoot outs and Colorado hadn't lost in their last 10 S/Os dating back to last season. First up Colorado's Milan Hejduk, no goal. Next came an interesting and personally I enjoyed it Vancouver's Maxim Lapierre, no goal. Colorado's Gabriel Landeskog was next denied by Lou and Mason Raymond got his past Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastein Giguere. Now it was up to Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly, what happened? DENIED! Vancouver gets the win and Colorado loses in a S/O for the 1st time in 11 games. Check out Bieksa's dive and goal in "If You Need a Visual."
Here is how the other 11 games ended:
The Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Boston Bruins 2-1. Again, league leader in scoring Evgeni Malkin scored the opening goal for Pittsburgh in the 1st and Matt Cooke scored the 2nd goal in the 3rd period after a scoreless 2nd. It was Joe Corvo who scored the only goal for Boston in the 3rd. Boston is 4th in standings with 68 points and Pittsburgh is 10th with 64 points but Malkin is 1st in league scoring with 61 points.
The new Jersey Devils beat the Philadelphia Flyers 6-4. When I looked at this stat sheet it was the order of the goals being scored that was entertaining. New Jersey scored their first 3 goals in the 1st, and their second 3 goals in the 2nd to start the 3rd period with a 6-0 lead. Another lesson in hockey is to never give up. Philly came back to score 4 goals in less then 10 minutes?!?! With Jaromir Jagr and Claude Giroux both scoring and picking up assists. Philly may have lost but what an attempt at a comeback. Philly is still 7th in standings with 66 points, while New Jersey is 11th with 63 points.
The Washington Capitals beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-0. Dennis Wideman scored in the 1st with Matt Hendricks and Alexander Semin scoring in the 3rd.
In the Ontario rivalry between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senaotrs, the Maple Leafs took this one with a 5-0 win. Phil Kessel and Captain Dion Phaneuf started off the scoring for Toronto late in the 1st, Tyler Bozak scored in the 2nd and Luke Schenn and Cody Franson sealed the deal in the 3rd period. Ottawa is still beating Toronto in standings though. Ottawa 61 points, Toronto 60.
The Buffalo Sabers picked up another 2 points this time in a S/O win against the New York Islanders. Islanders scored 1st then the Sabers tied it up but the Islanders were able to get 2 more goals before the end of the 1st period. Sabers came back with a goal in the 2nd and one in the 3rd to send the game into OT. That proved pointless and it was a S/O. It was a short S/O with both Islander shooters being denied by goalie Ryan Miller and both Buffalo shooters Brad Boyes and Jason Pominville scoring! Both teams are tied with 50 points.
The Carolina Hurricane beat the Los Angeles Kings 2-1 in regulation. LA's Anze Kopitar scored the 1st goal but Carolina's Jiri Tlusty and Jeff Skinner scored for their team to get the win. Carolina is now on a 2 game win streak but still sits 27th in standings with 49 points. Los Angeles who has been on fire since the hiring of head coach Darryl Sutter are 14th in standings with 60 points.
In the clash of the Florida teams the Tampa Bay Lightning beat the Florida Panthers 6-3. It was pretty back in forth in scoring but Tampa Bay forward Martin St. Louis scored 3 times for a hat trick and Steven Stamkos, league leader in goals, scored once. Former Canuck Mikael Samuelsson scored for his team the Panthers. Florida still beats Tampa Bay in points. Florida has 60, Tampa bay 51 while Stamkos has scored 34 goals alone this year!
The Nashville Predators beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1. Martin Erat of Nashville scored the 1st goal then got a helper on Mike Fisher's goal 6 minutes later. A scoreless 2nd and a goal by St. Louis's Chris Porter and Nashville's Sergei Kostitsyn with Martin Erat helping out again on that 3rd goal leaves Nashville 5th in standings with 68 points (tied with Boston) and St. Louis is 6th with 67 points. Check out Nashville play Vancouver tuesday in the Country Music Capital.
The Dallas Stars beat the Minnesota Wild in a S/O. After no scoring action in the 1st, Mike Ribeiro got Dallas on the board late in the 2nd. Kyle Brodziak tied it up early in the 3rd for Minnesota. Into a scorless OT and the S/O looked like this: Erik Christensen of Minnesota was shut down, Dallas's Loui Eriksson scored, followed by Minnesota's Matt Cullen scoring, then one of my personal favorites Jamie Benn scoring for Dallas. It was up to Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon to keep his team in and he was denied by Dallas goalie Kari Lehtonen. These 2 teams sit back to back in standings with Minnesota 17th with 58 points and Dallas 18th with 56 points.
The Phoenix Coyotes beat the San Jose Sharks. It was actually the Sharks All Star Logan Couture who scored 1st but then former Canuck and wrecking ball Raffi Torres scored 2nd to tie it up. Phoenix scored 2 more time and San Jose once to end the 2nd period 3-2 after a scoreless 1st period. Phoenix scored 2 more in the 3rd and San Jose to end it 5-3. San Jose is still beating Phoenix by a lot in standings after this game. San Jose is 9th with 64 points and Phoenix is 21st with 54 points.
The final game of the night went to the Edmonton Oilers and Detroit Red Wings. In a game where you thought there would be one team in particular winning with Detroit 1st in the league with 72 points and Edmonton 28th with 47 points, another learning lesson. Anything can happened in hockey. Sam Gagner was playing for the 1st time since his amazing 8 point night a few nights prior. Gagner didn't let down scoring the 1st goal 3 minutes into the 1st period, then assisting the Jordan Eberle goal 3 minutes later. Funny enough Detroit Red Wing Valtteri Filppula scored next but the goal actually was a bad bounce as Gagner went in to try to stop the puck, 2-1 Edmonton. Gagner feeling a little bummed after that goal ended up scoring 36 seconds later with one second left in the 1st period to end it 3-1! Gagner had 11 consecutive points in 11 goals. WOW! No scoring in the 2nd meant the 3rd period was going to be hot. Former Canuck Todd Bertuzzi scored twice in the period and Drew Miller scored once and Detroit lead the 3rd 4-3 with less then 4 minutes to go. Then in usual Jordan Eberle fashion waiting 'til the possible last second scored the tying goal for Edmonton with 39 seconds left. That goal was assisted by Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth ending Gagner's streak but Gagner gained 11 points in 52 minutes and 34 seconds of hockey. No scoring in OT and it went to a 6th round S/O before Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored the winning goal in his 1st game back after injury. Sam Gagner of course also scored for Edmonton and Todd Bertuzzi scored the only S/O goal for Detroit ending Detroit's 6-0 S/O record this season. They are now 6-1.
Sunday was a short day in hockey with the Super Bowl being watched by millions around the world but quickly:
Boston beat Washington 4-1 with Lucic, Marchand, Seguin and Peverley scoring for Boston and Washington's lone goal coming from Marcus Johansson in the 3rd period.
New Jersey beat Pittsburgh 5-2. Again New Jersey scored the first 3 goals with Penguin Matt Niskanen scoring one in the 2nd before Zach Parise scored the 4th for Jersey. Evgeni Malkin scored another goal but New Jersey's David Clarkson scored the 5th goal with 19:13 gone in the 3rd.
The New York Rangers also won 5-2 with a win over the Philly Flyers. It was back and forth with NYR scoring 1st until the the 3rd period when New York scored 3 times.
Finally after being beat 3-0 the night prior by the Washington Capitals, the Montreal Canadiens beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-0.
Tonight there are only 3 games being played:
Edmonton Oilers and Toronto Maple Leafs at 4:00pm
Detroit Red Wings and Phoenix Coyotes at 5:00pm
and Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks at 7:00pm!
Enjoy and don't forget to check out Episode 7 of Hockey Talk with Courtney!