Studs & Duds - Tuesday 3/5
There's A Chapel In The Pines
Five Tampa Bay players had multi-point games last night in a 5-2 win over New Jersey. Nate Thompson led the way with 2 goals and 1 assist was a +3 and took 3 shots. Cory Conacher and Vincent Lecavalier each had 2 assists and were both +2 on the night. Alex Kilorn and Marty St. Louis both had a goal and an assist. Lecavalier also added 3 hits and 14 faceoff wins. After going 6-1 in their first 7 games Tampa Bay really hit the skids losing 6 in a row. Every step forward seems to be accompanied by a step back and while Stamkos and St. Louis are 2nd and 3rd in the league in points the Lightning are just giving up too many goals. The team is 26th in goals against per game and if that doesn't change it is tough to imagine a way this team can make the playoffs.
Fehr The Capitals It Looks Like They Are Backstrom
Washington beat Boston 4-3 in overtime for their seventh win in their last ten games. After starting the season 0 and horrible Washington has been coming on as of late. Nicklas Backstrom had 3 assists and was a +2 in the winning effort. While Eric Fehr had 1 goal and 2 assists and was a +3. With only 21 games played the Caps have a game or two in hand on some of the teams they are chasing in their division and could be closer to a playoff spot than their 19 points would indicate.
It's Early Morning The Sun Comes Out
Four wins in a row and six in their last ten the Hurricanes sit atop their division after finishing at the bottom of their division last season. Team captain and franchise forward Eric Staal continues his incredible play with 3 assists against Buffalo last night and was a +2 and had 13 faceoff wins. Meanwhile Alex Semin continues to put the last couple of seasons behind him with 1 goal and 2 assists last night bringing him to 23 points in 22 games this season. Semin was also a +2 took 3 shots and had 2 hits. Backup Justin Peters also had a nice game stopping 37 of 40 shots for a .925 SV%. Semin has 12 points in his last 6 games and Staal has 10 points during that same period. If Semin is interested in playing in the NHL next season he could be highly sought after this coming offseason provided Carolina doesn't lock him up in the next few months.
Not So BrAD or Stepan Up
The New York Rangers were without center Brad Richards during their 4-2 win over Philadelphia last night. Captain Callahan led the scoring with 2 goals and 1 assist, as well as a +2, 2 PIMs, 3 shots, 5 blocks and 3 hits. Rick Nash also had 2 goals and was a +2 with 2 PIMs and 2 shots. Finally Derek Stepan had 2 assists and was a +2 and won 10 faceoffs. The three led all Ranger forwards in icetime last night and will be a huge part of any Ranger push for playoff contention this season. Stepan and Callahan have a bit of catching up to do after slow starts but both seem to be coming on as of late which is good for those poolies who didn't give up on them too soon.
The Los Angeles Kings scored 5 unanswered goals last night on the way to a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues. Jake Muzzin had 2 goals and 1 assist along with 4 shots and 4 hits and a +2; the rookie defenseman also logged slightly over 23 min of ice time. Justin Williams had a 3 assist night and was a +3. Anze Kopitar and Mike Richards each had 1 goal and 1 assist with Richards adding 2 blocks and 3 hits and Kopitar was a +3 with 2 PIMs. Drew Doughty also had 2 assists was a +2 with 2 PIMs, 4 shots and 5 hits. 8-2 in their last 10 the Kings appear to be overcoming their slow start having moved into 4th in the conference and are determined not to be a one hit wonder if they can help it.
Michael Ryder had his first multi-point night since rejoining the Canadiens and assisted on all 3 Montreal goals. Unfortunately it wasn't enough as the Habs lost 6-3 to the Islanders.
Brandon Saad with 1 goal and 2 assists as Chicago won another game. Saad was a +3 on the night as well.
The Devil Is In The Details
On the opposite side of the Tampa Bay game was the New Jersey Devils. Johan Hedberg was pulled about halfway through the game after giving up 3 goals on 11 shots and Keith Kinkaid was a bright spot in an otherwise tough game. Bryce Salvador, Mark Fayne, Travis Zajac and Ilya Kovalchuk combined for a -13, Salvador was -4 the others -3. The Devils are now 2-6-2 in their last 10 and slipping down the standings. The team once known for it's defense is really struggling to keep other teams from scoring and just aren't getting enough of their own goals to make up for it.
Does A Bear S___ In The Forest
Ilya Bryzgalov allowed 4 goals on only 20 shots last night as the Flyers lost 4-2 to the New York Rangers. Bryz continues to confound by interspersing horrible games with great games with no rhyme or reason. Consistency of goaltending is an important part of playoff success something Flyer fans know all too well and if this isn't straightened out before too long there will be more and more calls for an amnesty buyout.
Tough game for Carey Price last night surrendering 5 goals on 23 shots. Goalies have to have stinkers from time to time though and he has been pretty solid all season thus a mention and not a full blown Dud. While it may be two bad games in a row for him I wouldn't panic just yet.
Niklas Backstrom pulled after 1 period and allowing 4 goals on 17 shots. He played Chicago otherwise he would have gotten a full blown Dud for this one, but come on it's Chicago. Who else is playing well against them.
Odds & Ends
Twelve Hungry Men
The New York Islanders had 12 different players with points in their 6-3 win over the Canadiens last night. They are going to need that kind of secondary scoring if they are going to fight with the Devils, Rangers and Flyers for those last couple of playoff spots.
How Many Games Do You Need For A Gold One
Marian Hossa was given a silver stick prior to last night's game to celebrate his 1000 NHL games and he got a goal in the game. No not with the silver stick. Oh and Chicago won again.