We had a total of 10 games on the National Hockey League slate, which is a couple less than usual. The slate of games didn't look that great going into the evening, but there were a handful of surprising results. It was a bad night if you're a fan of one of the three Metropolitan New York City teams, as they ended up 0-3-0 with a total of just three goals while allowing 12. We also had one hat trick on the evening, a very nice milestone and a shutout, both of the latter coming in the same game. Let's get started!
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Montreal Canadiens 6, New York Islanders 2
Brendan Gallagher, Jeff Petry and Charles Hudon staked Carey Price to a 3-0 lead, and Paul Byron added a shorthanded marker midway through the second to put the game away. The Islanders didn't light the lamp until the third when Brock Nelson and Ryan Pulock (power play) scored goals, but it was too little and too late.
Jordan Weal and Joel Armia (shorthanded) also scored to give Price more than enough support. The Habs goalie is now a perfect 2-0-0 with a 2.00 goal-against average and .911 save percentage in two starts against the Isles this season.
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St. Louis Blues 3, New York Rangers 1
Jordan Binnington was able to reach 30 wins, allowing just one goal to the Rangers. Mika Zibanejad got the home side off to a good start with a one-knee sliding snipe on the power play, his 33rd goal, to take the early lead. That was all the offense to home side could muster, however.
Colton Parayko stayed hot with a power-play goal, while Brayden Schenn scored in his fifth consecutive game. Jaden Schwartz also had a goal and an assist with a plus-2 rating, and he has four goals and 10 points with a plus-11 rating over the past 10 outings. Parayko also has seven goals and 14 points with a plus-9 rating in 14 games since Feb. 3.
Binnington allowed just the one goal, improving to 30-11-7 with a 2.56 GAA and .911 SV% across his 48 appearances.
Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Ottawa Senators 3
Sidney Crosby elected to change things up a bit before the game, as superstitions caused him to mix up a 14-year tradition. Now, a new tradition might have been born. For the past 14 years Crosby has gone onto the ice before the game second-to-last, with Evgeni Malkin going last. In this one, Crosby went third-to-last, allowing Patrick Marleau to slide into the second spot, with Geno still last. The order change appeared to work.
Geno ended up with four apples, his second game with four or more points this season, while Crosby had a goal and two assists after just one point in the past six.
Bryan Rust notched his third-career hat trick, giving him 27 goals and 53 points in his 51 outings. It was his first three-goal game since Dec. 12, 2018 in Chicago, and it was the second time he victimized the Sens for three or more goals in a single game.
Matt Murray liked all the offensive support, moving to 18-10-5 with a 2.85 GAA and .899 SV% in 35 contests.
Boston Bruins 2, Tampa Bay Lightning 1
Rask allowed just one goal on 21 shots, helping the B's open up a nine-point cushion between themselves and the second-place Lightning. It was a missed opportunity for Tampa. Vasilevskiy allowed two goals on 35 shots, but it wasn't enough.
Jake DeBrusk was a difference maker, posting his 19th goal for the game-winning tally. He has just four goals over his past 16 outings, but three of them have been game winners. His goal snapped a 10-game scoreless skid.
Vasilevskiy deserved a better fate, allowing two goals on 35 shots, but his offense was only able to muster one goal, a tally from Mitchell Stephens.
Minnesota Wild 3, Nashville Predators 1
The Wild and Predators pulled off a trade at the deadline last season which raised some eyebrows. Many felt then-GM Paul Fenton was fleeced by the Preds when he gave up Mikael Granlund for Kevin Fiala. Somewhere Fenton is smiling now.
Fiala had a goal and an assist against his former mates, giving him 21 goals on the season. That's now goals in five straight games, and seven of the past eight, as he has helped play the Wild right back into the mix for a playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Winnipeg Jets 3, Buffalo Sabres 1
Hellebuyck stopped 25 of 26 shots in the near-shutout, while Kyle Connor picked up two goals and an assist with a plus-2 rating. He has registered at least one goal in four in a row, while giving him five goals, seven points and a plus-5 rating during the impressive span. Blake Wheeler was also hot, posting two assists with a plus-1. He now has four assists and a plus-4 rating during his three-game point streak. Wheeler also reached 61 points on the season, his seventh straight campaign hitting the mark.
Chicago Blackhawks 6, Anaheim Ducks 2
It wasn't a good night for John Gibson, who coughed up five goals on 24 shots before being given an early shower after two periods. Ryan Miller finished up and allowed a goal on 16 shots in the third period. Danton Heinen and Carter Rowney were the goal scorers, but it wasn't nearly enough.
Drake Caggiula opened the scoring with his ninth of the season, and second of the week. Dylan Strome added his 11th and 12th goals of the season and he ended with a three-point night to serve as an unlikely fantasy star. Alex Nylander and Patrick Kane also chipped in with a goal and two-point nights. Adam Boqvist also had two assists for his first-career multi-point game.
Corey Crawford continues to hum right along, stopping 37 of the 39 shots he faced to make to 5-5-1 with a 2.52 GAA and .929 SV% across his past 11 appearances. He is playing regularly with Robin Lehner shipped off to Vegas, and it's working out well for both players. See below.
Edmonton Oilers 2, Dallas Stars 1 (OT)
The Oilers and Stars hooked up for another entertaining and defensive battle.
RNH posted a power-play goal, his 20th of the season, and he added an assist. He has three straight multi-point showings, posting two goals, eight points and a plus-3 rating.
Mikko Koskinen was on fire for the visitors, yielding just one goal on 43 shots in the OT win. It was pretty impressive considering Edmonton was just 10-32-1 in their previous 43 trips to Dallas, and 26-59-1 in the past 86 battles overall in the series.
Vegas Golden Knights 3, New Jersey Devils 0
As mentioned above, the trade of Lehner to Vegas has worked out for Crawford in Chicago, but it's been pretty good for Lehner, too. He posted a 'donut' on Tuesday, kicking aside all 27 shots he faced for his first shutout for VGK. With the shutout the home fans received donuts due to a team promotion, so everyone wins.
William Karlsson posted his 100th career goal, and he now has five goals, seven points and a plus-6 rating across his past five. Max Pacioretty is also running hot, posting a goal and an assist to give him 10 goals and 18 points with a plus-7 rating in 16 games since the All-Star break. He has a whopping four game-winning tallies during the span.
For Jersey, Mackenzie Blackwood certainly wasn't bad, but he received zero offensive support as the Devils limped to the finish line of their western trip.
San Jose Sharks 5, Toronto Maple Leafs 2
Jack Campbell allowed four goals on 37 shots in San Jose, as the Leafs were manhandled by a team which is on its way to the couch for the playoffs. Not a good show, although Auston Matthews did post his 46th of the season.
Martin Jones allowed two goals on 27 shots for the win, as now has wins in three straight, although it might be too little and too late.
Evander Kane lit the lamp twice for the home side, and he has three consecutive multi-point showings after a five-game scoreless drought. Antti Suomela notched his first of the season, and Stefan Noesen added a goal with an assist and a plus-3, snapping an eight-game scoreless slide.