Hopefully you had some time to look in on the National Hockey League despite the fact the big story in sports on Saturday came from that sport with the oblong, brown ball. I heard the Evil Empire is dead, and for that, Tennessee Titans, we thank you. The Volunteer State's hockey team was also in action, and they were doing very well on the complete opposite coast. We only had one shutout, and it was from an unlikely goaltender, and one visiting player registered a hat trick, so there likely weren't many hats flying onto the ice. Let's get started!
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Edmonton Oilers 4, Boston Bruins 1
In matinee action, Connor McDavid and company were able to deal the Boston Bruins just their eighth regulation loss on the season. McDavid had his 23rd goal, and partner in crime Leon Draisaitl one-upped him with an unassisted empty-net goal for his 24th. Gaetan Haas and Darnell Nurse also got into the scoring act, and the latter was actually credited with the game-winning tally.
Mike Smith stood on his head, making 35 saves with only David Pastrnak beating him on the power play. That was Pasta's 31st of the season, on assists from Torey Krug and Brad Marchand, and it actually gave the B's a 1-0 lead until 7:41 of the second when Haas struck.
Jaroslav Halak made 22 saves on 25 shots, not the worst effort, but he didn't hold a candle to the veteran Smith on this day.
San Jose Sharks 3, Columbus Blue Jackets 2
This game featured just one player in the multi-point club, and that was Zach Werenski from the losing side. He accounted for his team's only scoring, as he remains red-hot for fantasy owners. That's five goals in three games with a plus-5 rating, but it wasn't enough to pull Elvis Merzlikins through to a win. The CBJ tendy allowed three goals on 28 shots.
Barclay Goodrow, Evander Kane and Kevin Labanc struck for goals for the visiting Sharks, who climb to within two games of .500 (19-21-3). Aaron Dell made 21 saves in the victory, but didn't do anything to really stand out. Labanc actually ended up being credited with the winner.
Buffalo Sabres 3, Florida Panthers 2
Sergei Bobrovsky was chased for three goals on seven shots, as he just didn't have it for the visitors. Bench boss Joel Quenneville made the change to Chris Driedger, and the Panthers nearly came all the way back.
Driedger stopped all 11 shots he faced, while Mike Matheson and Evgenii Dadonov scored two third-period goals to close it to 3-2. However, they just ran out of time, and Linus Ullmark did enough to grab the win with 32 saves on 34 shots.
Henri Jokiharju netted his fourth, while Conor Sheary and Sam Reinhart struck for goals, too, including a power-play marker for the latter. Marcus Johansson didn't scored, but he had a pair of assists. Reinhart was also in the multi-point club with a goal and a helper.
Minnesota Wild 3, Winnipeg Jets 2 (OT)
The Wild opened the scoring just 72 seconds into the game, with Marcus Foligno getting the crowd into a frenzy early. Both goaltenders settled down into the second.
Mark Scheifele reached 20 goals with a power-play goal in the first minute of the second period, beating Devan Dubnyk, and Blake Wheeler struck in the first minute of the third on the power play, as the Jets held a short-lived lead. However, Luke Kunin scored with 5:30 left in regulation to force overtime, beating Connor Hellebuyck. He really deserved a better fate, as he stood on his head and made 41 saves in the overtime loss.
Hellebuyck was no match for Eric Staal in the extra session, as the Wild took advantage of a slash to Wheeler in OT to come away with the extra point.
Vegas Golden Knights 5, St. Louis 4 (OT)
The Blues fired out to a 3-0 lead, jumping all over Marc-Andre Fleury. Alex Pietrangelo netted one on the power play, while Jaden Schwartz and Oskar Sundqvist joined him to give the champs a big lead heading to the room.
VGK came alive in the second, as Ryan Reaves netted an unassisted goal, and Paul Stastny grabbed his 11th with help from William Carrier and Nicolas Hague. Into the third, Nicolas Roy and Reilly Smith gave Vegas the first lead of the day before David Perron reeled them back in with a power-play goal to force overtime.
Toronto Maple Leafs 3, New York Islanders 0
Michael Hutchinson, the backup tendy for the Leafs, was horrific early in the season, so much so that the team sent him to the Marlies of the AHL for a bit. That lit a fire under him, as Hutch has returned and is putting up numbers. If Toronto can get good production from its backup netminder, they're in good shape, and so are fantasy owners. He made 33 saves for his fifth-career shutout, improving to 3-5-1 with a 3.59 GAA and .896 save percentage. Those numbers do not sound great, but he is 2-0-1 with a 1.82 GAA and .945 save percentage at home, and he has won three straight since his return from the AHL.
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Montreal Canadiens 2 (OT)
Matt Murray hung on for an overtime victory, and his day would have been much easier if not for Artturi Lehkonen. The latter scored both goals for the Habs, serving as a thorn in Murray's side all day.
Zach Aston-Reese and Bryan Rust scored goals in overtime for the visitors, and Brandon Tanev helped the team to a win in overtime with a goal, helped out by Teddy Blueger and Marcus Pettersson. Blueger ended up with his second multi-point showing in the NHL, and first since March 25, 2019. Tanev's last game-winning goal was back on Oct. 16 vs. Colorado, also in overtime.
Tampa Bay Lightning 5, Ottawa Senators 3
We had a scoreless first period, before Chris Tierney struck for a shorthanded goal with help from Christian Jaros. Carter Verhaeghe scored the equalizer, while Kevin Shattenkirk added an unassisted goal for the third marker in the first four minutes of the second.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau was the first real fantasy big dog to score, notching his career-high tying 19th on the power play with help from Drake Batherson and Tyler Ennis. Tough guy Mark Borowiecki added his fifth to give the Sens their first lead of the game going to the third.
Colorado Avalanche 5, New Jersey Devils 2
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare had a goal and an assist, Nathan MacKinnon had two assists, Ian Cole had a goal and an assist and Samuel Girard added two helpers, as the visitors had several in the multi-point club helping fantasy owners. That certainly made those who have stock in Philipp Grubauer happy, as he snapped a five-game personal skid (0-4-1).
Blake Coleman had the shorthanded goal, his 13th of the season, and he led the team with seven shots. The Devils needed a lot more, as Mac Blackwood let in four goals on 33 shots to snap a three-game winning streak.
Arizona Coyotes 6, Philadelphia Flyers 2
It was an ugly day for Carter Hart, as he was lifted late in the first period after coughing up three goals on 12 shots. Brian Elliott replaced him and gave up two goals on nine shots in his two-plus periods of work.
For the home side, Antti Raanta left after two periods due to a lower-body injury and head coach Rick Tocchet didn't offer an update after the game. Adin Hill replaced him and stopped 10 of the 12 shots he faced in the final period.
Brad Richardson, Jordan Oesterle and Clayton Keller (power play) opened the scoring, while Lawson Crouse got in just under the wire before the horn sounded in the second period to give the Coyotes a 4-0 lead. Keller was back later for No. 12, and Derek Stepan posted a shorthanded unassisted goal for the winners.
Vancouver Canucks 2, New York Rangers 1
Alexandar Georgiev and Jacob Markstrom had a nice goaltender duel, with Markstrom coming out on top in the end. He stopped 36 of the 37 shots he faced, only allowing Pavel Buchnevich to beat him midway through the first. After that, he had it on lockdown.
Antoine Roussel opened the scoring against Georgiev, while Tyler Myers registered a goal at 18:31 of the third period to send the home side into a frenzy. Bo Horvat had his second assist of the day, and Quinn Hughes also helped out on the winner.
Nashville Predators 4, Los Angeles Kings 1
As mentioned, Tennessee's hockey club was on the ice and they were on fire. Rocco Grimaldi, Ryan Johansen, Craig Smith and Yakov Trenin each notched goals, with Grimaldi and Smith also getting into the act with an assist. Roman Josi chipped in with a pair of assists, too. It was more than enough for Pekka Rinne, who stopped all but one of the 24 shots he faced.
Alex Iafallo was the only player to get onto the board for the home side, banging home a power-play marker with an assist to Tyler Toffoli. But Jack Campbell was under fire, allowing four goals on 38 shots, and he needed a little more offensive support.