It was a super busy day in the National Hockey League, getting kicked off early with matinee action on the east coast. There were some axes to grind in the early action, while we had a goaltender shutout along the way. Another goalie who has been hot met some surprising resistance in his home arena, while we had a smattering of other unsung heroes in the evening action. It was capped off with a lone late-night game for a full day of pucks. Let's get started!
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Ottawa Senators 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 3 (OT)
Anthony Duclair likely had a date with his former team circled on the schedule. At least it seems that way, as he posted a hat trick in early-afternoon action, including a power-play goal at 1:56 of overtime to send the home folks away in a good mood.
It ruined a good showing by Alexandre Texier, who posted two goals with a plus-3 rating, and Pierre-Luc Dubois chipped in with two assists and a plus-1. Joonas Korpisalo was summoned from the bench after Elvis Merzlikins allowed two goals in 20 minutes. Korpisalo allowed two goals on 19 shots to take the tough loss in overtime.
New York Islanders 3, Buffalo Sabres 2 (OT)
Jack Eichel continues to run hot for the Sabres. He posted a goal and an assist, as he now has points in a career-high 16 straight outings.
It wasn't enough to help Linus Ullmark to a win, however. He coughed up three goals, including the winner in overtime to Anthony Beauvillier, who factored in on all three goals with two helpers on the others. That was all Semyon Varlamov needed to win in OT against the Sabres.
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Carolina Hurricanes 4, Calgary Flames 0
James Reimer was standing tall, as the Hurricanes completed the season sweep of the Flames. Optimus Reim stopped all 32 shots he faced for his second shutout in the past five outings. He and Petr Mrazek have combined to give the Hurricanes five out of the a possible six points on the first three games of their western road swing.
Warren Foegele picked up two shorthanded goals in the win, becoming the first player in Whalers/Hurricanes franchise history to register his first two NHL shorthanded goals in the same game.
Anaheim Ducks 4, New York Rangers 3 (SO)
Mika Zibanejad was the offensive hero for the Blueshirts, posting two goals with a plus-2 rating. It wasn't all good, as he won just seven of his 24 faceoff attempts (29.2 percent).
Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 39 shots, but he allowed three goals in the shootout loss.
Rickard Rakell posted three helpers with three shots on net and five hits in his 21:18 of ice time. Hampus Lindholm also had a goal and an assist to join the multi-point club. That was enough offensive support for John Gibson, who allowed three goals on 32 shots in the SOW.
Dallas Stars 4, Nashville Predators 1
Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau, Roope Hintz and Jamie Oleksiak posted goals in the road win against the Predators, which was more than enough to back Anton Khudobin with the victory. He was super in the win.
Alexander Radulov also posted two assists with a plus-2 rating, as he now has a four-game point streak since being relegated to the press box as a healthy start. That ploy by former head coach Jim Montgomery appears to have lit a fire under the forward, and this performance was especially sweet against his former team.
Detroit Red Wings 2, Montreal Canadiens 1
There wasn't much offense in Montreal, either, much to the dismay of Carey Price. He allowed just two goals on 20 shots, but that was enough for the visiting Red Wings in this Original Six battle.
Tyler Bertuzzi opened the scoring, and Mike Green scored on the power play in the third period. The latter was credited with his first game-winning goal since Feb. 4, 2017. That's because Tomas Tatar scored a late goal to ruin the shutout of Jonathan Bernier. The latter ended up stopping 42 shots in the 2-1 road win, improving to 7-9-2 with a 3.22 GAA and .897 save percentage.
Washington Capitals 5, Tampa Bay Lightning 2
Defending Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy isn't likely going to defend his crown. He allowed four goals on 33 shots to face his ninth loss of the season. He didn't lose No. 9 until March 23 last season. The Tampa netminder slipped to 13-9-1 with a 2.84 GAA and .909 save percentage.
Alex Killorn posted two helpers in the loss, giving him three goals and nine points with a plus-3 rating in six games in December.
Nicklas Backstrom has points in six straight games, posting a goal and an assist in the road win. He now has two goals and six helpers with a plus-1 rating during the streak, including an assist in all six outings. T.J. Oshie also joined the multi-point club with a goal and an assist.
Ilya Samsonov was impressive, turning aside 26 of the 28 shots he faced, rolling to 8-2-1 with a 2.38 GAA and .918 save percentage in his 10 starts.
Nikita Kucherov blocked a shot and left this game with an apparent right leg injury. There's no word yet on whether or not he'll be forced to miss time.
Boston Bruins 4, Florida Panthers 2
David Pastrnak picked up two goals and a plus-1 rating, as he was the star on offense as per usual. Jake DeBrusk added a goal with an assist, while Torey Krug was also in the multi-point club with a pair of helpers, two blocked shots and a hit.
That was more than enough for Jaroslav Halak, who shook off a two-game losing streak. He made 31 saves to improve to 8-3-3 with a 2.26 GAA and .928 save percentage in his 14 starts.
Aaron Ekblad had a pair of assists, while Keith Yandle added a goal and an assist. He loves facing his hometown team, as he now has two goals and five points in the past two meetings with the B's. Yandle also had three goals and 21 assists across the past 21 games, as he is on All-Star pace again.
Aleksander Barkov left the game late, but the good news is that he appears to be fine going forward after a big scare.
Pittsburgh Penguins 5, Los Angeles Kings 4 (SO)
The highest scoring night was in the Steel City. The Kings star on offense was Tyler Toffoli, as he posted a goal and an assist with a plus-2 rating, giving him multiple points in three consecutive outings. Kyle Clifford and Michael Amadio also lit the lamp in the third period for the visitors.
Jonathan Quick coughed up four goals on 27 shots in the shootout loss. Tristan Jarry wasn't much better, but he was tight in overtime and the shootout, hanging on for the win to improve to 9-5-3 record.
Bryan Rust was the offensive star for the home side, posting two goals and an assist while also notching the game-winning tally in the shootout. Jake Guentzel and Kris Letang also had three helpers for the home side.
Minnesota Wild 4, Philadelphia Flyers 1
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Edmonton Oilers 1
Frederik Andersen made history on Saturday as he picked up his 200th NHL win, becoming the quickest European-born netminder to the milestone. Imagine where the Leafs would be without him. He has single-handedly made them competitive in what has been a mostly disappointing start overall.
Ilya Mikheyev picked up a goal while finishing with a plus-2, Pierre Engvall added a pair of helper sand Alexander Kerfoot posted a goal and an assist. The secondary and tertiary scoring was nice for the Leafs with the big guns firing blanks.
St. Louis Blues 4, Chicago Blackhawks 3
Robert Thomas was good for three assists for the Blues, all in the third period, as the defending champs erased a 3-0 deficit for the 4-3 win. Justin Faulk ended up with the game-winning tally on a sweep pass from Thomas. Tyler Bozak was also good for a pair of goals.
For the losers, Brandon Saad single-handedly built a 2-0 lead for the visitors, but Corey Crawford had a late meltdown to spoil what looked to be a strong road game. Jordan Binnington wasn't great, but he was good enough for the win.
New Jersey Devils 2, Arizona Coyotes 1
The Devils received a strong road performance from Mackenzie Blackwood, who stopped all but one of the 32 shots he faced. Michael McLeod posted his first multi-point performance in his fledgling NHL career, while Jesper Boqvist and Kyle Palmieri were the goal scorers.
Darcy Kuemper allowed just two goals on 33 shots, falling to 14-7-2 with a 1.97 GAA and .935 save percentage. He was strong, as usual, but the offense left him hung out to dry. The Coyotes have the third-lowest home points total in the NHL at 17, but they're still leading the Pacific Division with 42 points. That's because they're 11-4-3 on the road. Kuemper and the boys will look to bounce back Tuesday in San Jose.
San Jose Sharks 4, Vancouver Canucks 2
Speaking of San Jose, they doubled up the Canucks by a 4-2 count behind Aaron Dell. He might have bought himself a start in that Tuesday game against the Coyotes after turning aside 33 of the 35 shots he faced for the win.
Jake Virtanen was the offensive star for the visitors, lighting the lamp for the eighth time, while Bo Horvat joined him on the scoresheet with his ninth. It wasn't enough offense for Jacob Markstrom, who allowed just two goals on 25 shots in the road loss.