Entertaining NHL Tuesday Night
While the 30 over-reacting, what happened once yesterday is the new trend, what’s best for my team, NHL General Managers were huddled in Toronto figuring out how to interfere more in the NHL product, the NHL might have had its most entertaining night of the season so far. Ironic, isn’t it!
As usual these are some comments, key stats, observations, big picture looks at the nine games on the November 15 docket.
New Jersey at Boston (3-4) The Bruins won their sixth straight game in this seesaw affair. After a quiet 30 minutes, David Clarkson made it 1-0 on a 5 on 3 PPG mid second period. But, a terrible giveaway by Hedberg led to a Kelly goal. The third period opened with Chara setting up Marchand beating rookie Adam Larsson for a breakaway 6 seconds into the third. However, Nick Palmieri scored his 1st of two goals, tying it at 2. However, Thornton’s first of the year made it 3-2 before Palmieri tied it again at 3-3. The winner came with under 3 minutes left when little used Benoit Pouliot banged home the winner.
Phoenix at Toronto (3-2 SO) – The suddenly fading Toronto Maple Leafs were quickly down 2-0 in this one as Ben Scrivens continues to struggle at home giving up early goals to the immortal Shane Doan and youngster Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Mike Smith was great late but did surrender the lead by giving up goals to Komisarek, his 1st, and the ultra hot Phil Kessel, his league leading 13th. In the shootout, O’Sullivan and Vrbata tallied while Kessel and Kulemin were stopped. The Coyotes are now 2-0 on this road trip.
Minnesota at Columbus (4-2) The Blue Jackets just can not get anything going. They actually jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the Wild on goals by Vermette shorthanded and the newly and smartly acquired Letestu on the Powerplay. A key point in the game was the hit by Dorsett on Zidlicky that led to a fight between Dorsett and Peters. However, the Jackets couldn’t sustain the momentum as Cullen scored on the PP and then Nick Johnson (not that Nick Johnson – otherwise he’d be injured) tied it with a backhander in front. The winner came off the stick of Clutterbuck before an empty netter finished it off. The Wild went 3-2 on their road trip.
Colorado at Pittsburgh (3-6) Versus had the rights to this game and BOY did the nation get an electrifying one. This game had three goals of the year candidates. The Avs actually jumped out to a 3-1 in this one with a goal from McClement early followed by a between the legs to the backhand goal by Matt Duchene. After Staal cut the lead in off, David Jones and his locker scored a pretty goal coming down the middle of the ice. However, the game changed when Dupuis scored a goal on a net mouth scramble. Orpik tied it on a bomb from the point before Malkin scored on a sick move embarrassing the rookie Landeskog in what turned out to be the game-winner. The volcanic hot James Neal added his 12th of the year before a beauty Letang backhand completed the scoring. Colorado is beginning to really struggle and they no longer have a 1st rounder for next year. The Pittsburgh express just keeps on keeping on.
Florida at Dallas (6-0) Don’t look now but the Florida Panthers who haven’t made the playoffs since I think the first Bush administration are starting to really cook with some gas destroying the Stars tonight. The Panther defense is providing some offense as Kulikov scored his first finishing a rush before another Jay Garrison (7th) missile from the point. Fleischman scored a beautiful goal to make it 3-0 and just before the 2nd period expired Weiss finished off a tic-tac-toe play. Versteeg added a goal late finishing off a 2 on 1 and Dadonov had one go off his foot to finish the deal. The Stars are starting to fade slightly with 3 straight losses.
Detroit at St. Louis (1-2) After new Cardinals manager Matt Matheny dropped the ceremonial puck, the game took a nasty turn with the score 1-0 (off a Drew Miller goal). Blues forward Chris Stewart leveled Nick Kronwall of the Wings from behind sending him neck first into the boards. Usually Kronwall is the nasty hitter, so it was strange to see this 5-minute major game misconduct come on a hit to him. The Wings failed to take advantage of the PP, and Matt D’Agostini was able to tie it 1-1. Alexander Steen gave the Blues the lead for good off a turnover. Detroit win streak was ended while Hitchy’s Blues have won 2 straight.
Washington at Nashville (1-3) Proof that a 0-0 can be entertaining here as this game was scoreless, yet had tremendous pace, goaltending and action until the final 6-minutes of the game. Brouwer opened the scoring with a blast. Less than :28 later, Martin Erat tied it up. Then, at the 19:35 mark Colin Wilson finished off a give and go play with Erat to gain the lead before Weber tallied an empty netter.
Ottawa at Calgary (3-1) – Welcome Back Danny Alfredsson as he scored his 5th of the year to open the scoring. After a brutal turnover by Andersson, Tom Kostopolous tied the game at 1-1. The Butler did the damage in the third as Bobby Butler tied 2 goals to put the Flames out of their misery.
NEW YORK RANGERS AT NEW YORK ISLANDERS (4-2) Saved the best for last here. The arch enemies don’t hate like they used to with all the new rules to soften the game, but Sean Avery and Mike Mottau managed to fight anyway. But prior to that fight, Avery had scored to give the Rangers the early lead before Nielsen found the King’s one weakness, his glove hand beating it to tie the game at 1-1. Steve Eminger scored his 1st of the year off a great pass from Captain Callahan to give the Rangers 2-1 lead. Late in the second period, the officials stopped the game by calling multiple penalties that neither team could capitalize on under mid third period when Moulson tallied a PPG. However, the winner came on a pure rocket by Broadway Brad Richards who is earning his contract by being clutch. A Callahan empty netter at the buzzer sealed the Rangers 7th straight win while the Isles continue to fade again.