NHL Weekend Wrap-up
This weekend was full of action as every NHL team played on Saturday night, leading to some interesting matchups and even better finishes. Some of the teams that have gotten off to slow starts got even slower, while some other surprising teams (did anyone honestly see the Avalanche at the top of the West at any point this season) continued to shock their fans.
There were five overtime games on Saturday night, all of which involved teams from the Eastern Conference. In Montreal, Mike Cammalleri recorded his 3rd career hat trick, scoring the first and last goals of regulation, adding a 3rd in overtime to help the Habs improve to 5-5 on the season as they dumped the slumping Rangers. It was Montreal’s 3rd straight win after dropping their last 5. New York’s other squad also went to overtime, as the Islanders continued to struggle in the 3rd period. Despite being up 2-0 in the final frame, the Isles were unable to finish, as the Capitals rallied to win in extra time, with Brooks Laich finishing off a pass from Mike Green to give the Caps their division leading 6th win. The Bruins also came back from down 2 goals to beat their Northeast division rivals in Ottawa in a shootout, 4-3. Buffalo beat Tampa Bay in a shootout on rookie defenseman Tyler Myers’ shootout goal, after Drew Stafford forced overtime with his tally in the closing seconds of the 3rd. Finally, in Minnesota, fan favorite Cal Clutterbuck scored in overtime to give the Wild their 3rd win of the season over the struggling Hurricanes, who have yet to win on the road.
Toronto fans continue to wait for their first win, as Roberto Luongo made 35 saves for the Canucks and Mason Raymond scored his first two goals of the season to give Vancouver a 3-1 win. Toronto outshot their opponent for the 5th time in 8 games, but wer unable to get a win. Luongo turned in another stellar effort on Sunday night, stopping 27 saves to record his first shutout of the year, blanking the Oilers, 2-0. At the other end of the spectrum, the Avalanche, predicted to be bottom dwellers by nearly every one this season, continued to impress, as they beat the hated Detroit Red Wings 3-1.
With Detroit struggling out of the gates, Chicago and Columbus are both off to hot starts, and each team netted their sixth win of the season on Saturday. Columbus dumped the Ducks 6-4, led by 2 goals from Rick Nash (who now has six on the year) and 32 saves from sophomore netminder Steve Mason. Chicago beat the Predators 2-0, as Cristobal Huet turned in a solid 27-save effort, as he fights to keep his job from Finnish upstart Antti Niemi. In Nashville, Dan Ellis can’t seem to catch a break as he battles for the starting job with Pekka Rinne. Ellis made 32 saves but the Preds couldn’t score, leaving Ellis with his 3rd regulation loss on the season.
The Penguins suffered only their second loss of the season, their first with Marc-Andre Fleury in net, at the hands of the New Jersey Devils, who got a typical outing from Martin Brodeur. Zach Parise scored his sixth and Travis Zajac got his 5th goal of the year as the Devils won, 4-1. The Philadelphia Flyers got two goals from Danny Briere and James van Riemsdyk got his first career NHL goal as the Flyers dropped the Panthers, 5-1. Florida now sits in the bottom of the Southeast division with a 2-6-1 record.
The Flames beat the Oilers for the 3rd time this year, as Miikka Kiprusoff got his 7th win of the season. Jonathan Quick got his 7th and 8th wins of the year for Los Angeles this weekend, as the Kings beat Phoenix in a battle of Pacific teams looking to upset the balance of power out west. Dustin Brown and Jarett Stoll potted 2 goals apiece to lift Los Angeles over the Coyotes, 5-3. The Kings then beat Columbus 6-2, as Anze Kopitar scored 2 goals to increase his league-leading goal total to 10. Kopitar also leads the league in points with 21.
San Jose had a good weekend, beating the hapless Thrashers 4-3 on Saturday, and defeating Philadelphia 4-1 on Sunday. Dany Heatley scored in both games, while Patrick Marleau scored twice against Atlanta, and offseason pickup Manny Malhotra scored his first two of the season against the Flyers.
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