Comebacks were the order of the day (and not the night) as the Anaheim Ducks and Winnipeg Jets made furious comebacks to win.
The Ducks were down 5-1 to the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals before mounting a comeback that while not rivalling the “Miracle on Manchester” some 36 years ago, was quite impressive in its own right as they scored five unanswered goals late in the second and in the third, for the win.
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But the Ducks, who came into the game scoring the second-least goals in the NHL, ahead of only their cross-town rival Los Angeles Kings, exploded offensively with Pontus Aberg leading the way.
In the second game of the day, the Winnipeg Jets spotted the New York Rangers a 3-0 lead and then roared back with three in the third to force a scoreless overtime and then won it in the shootout for the victory.
Jesper Fast and Marc Staal each picked up their second goals of the season to get the Rangers started but Bryan Little’s goal with 150 seconds left in the third tied the game at 3 apiece and sent it to extra time.
Fantasy Studs of the Night
Semyon Varlamov kicked out all 24 shots to pick up his first shutout of the season and 24th in his NHL career to lead the Avs to a 2-0 win over Detroit. The netminder won his 10th of the season with the win over the Red Wings and has a sparkling 2.25 GAA and a .930 save percentage. He has been a stud this season.
Pontus Aberg had a couple of goals and an assist to lead the Ducks to a 6-5 win over Washington. The forward was placed on waivers by Edmonton before the start of the season and claimed by Anaheim who were in dire need of scoring forwards due to all their injuries up front. Aberg has been terrific this season as he has nine goals and 14 points and the Oilers, who need secondary scoring, must be upset with their decision to put him on waivers.
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Martin Jones was a stud on Sunday as he stopped 40-of-41 Montreal shots to snap the Sharks four-game losing streak. The Sharks gave Jones the rare back-to-back starts on back-to-back days and he halted the Sharks losing streak as he won his 10th of the season. It was his fourth start in the past eight games and perhaps he is getting back his net from Aaron Dell.
Jonathan Quick finally won his first game of the season as the Kings shutout the Hurricanes 2-0. The game had no scoring until 2:13 left in the third when Alec Martinez scored. Quick has been hurt for a lot of the season (knee injury) and the win put his record at 1-4-1. Quick made 34 saves for the win. Quick lowered his GAA from 4.24 to 3.60 and raised his save percentage 27 points to .888.
Notes: John Gibson got the start for the Oilers and gave up three goals on 11 shots before he was pulled for Ryan Miller. Miller picked up the win and tied John Vanbiesbrouck for the most wins by an American goaltender at 374. The loss snapped the Capitals win streak at seven games. Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and a couple of helpers. Nicklas Backstrom scored and has four goals in his last two games. He has 10 this season. Tom Wilson scored his eighth of the season and has 14 points in 10 games and has an eight-game scoring streak. Rickard Rakell has scored 30-plus goals in each of his last two seasons but scored only his fifth of the season on Sunday. Henrik Lundqvist outplayed Connor Hellebuyck as the Rangers were outshot 42-19 but a couple of shootout markers gave the Jets the win. Hellebuyck picked up his 11th win of the season but his peripherals are poor as he has a 3.07 GAA and a .902 save percentage. Last season he had a 2.36 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Jacob Trouba had a pair of assists while Blake Wheeler picked up his 30th of the season. The Flames top line of Sean Monahan, Elias Lindholm and Johnny Gaudreau each had two points with Monahan and Lindholm scoring. Dylan Strome scored for the second time in four games with Chicago as he put one in the back of the net on the power play. Mike Smith looks to be back in the good graces of coach Bill Peters as he started in back-to-back games for the first time since November 11 and 15 and he rewarded Peters by stopping 22 shots for his third straight win and eighth of the season. The Flames are cutting down on their shots on goal defensively as Smith has faced only 67 over the three contests. He could be back as the Flames top netminder after relinquishing it to David Rittich over the last couple of weeks. Chris Kunitz could be in trouble with the NHL as he picked up a major for elbowing Travis Hamonic as well as a game misconduct. The Sharks got goals from a couple of defensemen as Justin Braun scored his first of the season while Brent Burns picked up his fourth. Radim Simek made his NHL debut for the Sharks on Sunday. Joe Pavelski picked up his 17th goal of the season as well as his sixth assist. He has had at least 39 assists in each of his last three seasons. Carey Price took yet another loss as the Habs are 1-4-2 in their last seven. Jeff Petry broke up Jones shutout attempt with his third of the season. Dylan Larkin was in concussion protocol after he took a hit from the Avs Patrik Nemeth. Nemeth fought Anthony Mantha after the hit but nothing was called for the hit. Larkin returned six minutes later. The line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog each had two points in the 2-0 win with MacKinnon and Landeskog (into the empty net) scoring for Colorado. Jonathan Bernier was the hard luck loser as he stopped 27-of-28 shots. Alec Martinez’s second goal of the season was the winner as the Kings shutout the Hurricanes. Kyle Clifford scored his fourth of the season into the empty net. Petr Mrazek was great in the Carolina cage as he stopped 33-of-34 but still was saddled with the loss.
Pontus Aberg – 2
Ondrej Kase – 2
Dmitri Jaskins – 2
Ryan Getzlaf – 2
Jacob Trouba – 2
Johnny Gaudreau - 2
Mikko Rantanen – 2
Shots on Goal
Nathan MacKinnon – 6
Mark Scheifele – 6
Shea Weber – 6
Chris Kunitz – 17
Brandon Manning - 7