It’s been another eventful week in the NHL and Uncle Sam’s man in the know Alex Underwood brings us news of wins for Ottawa, New York, Nashville and Florida in the latest installment of Slap Shot…
Before the scores a quick notice that this week’s slap shot will only cover four games between Friday the 19th and Monday the 22nd due to the Christmas break and time constraints. Normal service will resume next week (I sound like a train driver!)
Senators wanted Duck for Christmas (19/12/2014)
Last Friday the Ottawa Senators hosted the Anaheim Ducks for the last of their five game stint in Canada. At eight and one the Ducks came into the game with the best winning record in the NHL.
Two minutes into the game Milan Michakek scored first of the power play with a redirected shot by Erik Karisson. Midway through the first period and another slap shot, this time by Mark Borowiecki is picked up and slotted home by Mark Stone for his eighth of the season.
Late in the second period the goals came fast, Ottawa made the score 3-0 thanks to a Kyle Turris unassisted goal. Less than one minute later and the score was extended by Mike Hoffman for his ninth goal of the season. With less than one minute left to go in the period Anaheim finally got on the score board with Ryan Getzlaf finding the back of the net.
Ryan Getzlaf scored again early in the third to make the score 4-2 in the Senators favour. This was as close to the win the Ducks would get. Ottawa scored again four minutes later with Mike Hoffman scoring his second goal of the game, and with less than four minutes left to play Mika Zibanejad put the game to bed giving the Senators the 6-2 win.
New York continue streak (20/12/2014)
On Saturday the Islanders faced off against the Tampa Bay Lightning, both Tampa Bay and New York are second in their divisions in the Eastern Conference chasing the top spots. The Islanders are in form at present with a four game winning streak to their name, chasing the Penguins in the Metropolitan division. The Lightning meanwhile are level on 44 points with Montreal at the top of the Atlantic division, with the Canadians having a game in hand.
In the first period it appeared the Lightning had taken the lead when, in a scramble in front of goal the puck went in off Bryan Boyle. However after a video review it was confirmed he had kicked the puck in with his skate and the goal was disallowed.
The second period saw no goals but plenty of saves, Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy saved a total of 29 in the first two periods, 45 in total. New York goalie Jaroslav Halak only had to stop 9 in the first period, 20 in total for the game.
The goals finally came in the third. Just under ten minutes in, Brett Connolly made the score 1-0 to the lightning, New York however were to respond with three goals within four minutes. 15:51 into the period Brett Connolly levelled the score 1-1. Seconds later John Tavares added a second with his thirteenth of the season. Towards the end of the game the Lightning pulled the goalie in favour of an extra man. It did not work as Nikolay Kulemin finished the scoring with his sixth of the season, ending the game 3-1 to the Islanders.
Columbus collapse at home (22/12/2014)
With two games in hand and sitting just behind the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Central division, Nashville is proving a team to fear at present. Columbus meanwhile are sixth in the Eastern Conference Metropolitan division, and despite winning seven of the last ten need to keep the momentum going.
Towards the end of the first period it looked like the Blue Jackets had taken the lead, however the goal was disallowed due to the net being knocked off its anchors. Nashville opened the scoring in the second period with a Colin Wilson goal assisted by Victor Bartley. Minutes later Craig Smith increased the score with his ninth goal of the season.
In the third period the Predators continued to outplay the Blue Jackets, Seth Jones scored his first goal of the season to make the score 3-0. The rout continued less than a minute later when Craig Smith bagged his second of the game. Columbus made the decision to replace goalie Sergei Bobrovsky with Curtis McElhinney, it didn’t work as one minuite later Mike Fisher added a fifth goal. Alexander Wennberg scored a consolation goal thanks to a power play, but a 5-1 home loss is a real blow to Columbus.
Penguins lose in seven round shootout (22/12/2014)
The Penguins sit at the summit of the Eastern Conference Metropolitan division but may want to forget their trip to Florida on Monday. The Panthers meanwhile have won six out of ten and are now chasing Toronto who have a three game losing streak in the Atlantic division.
Patric Hornqvist opened the scoring for Pittsburgh early in the first period with his twelfth of the season. The second period also saw one goal thanks to the Panthers Jussi Jokinen.
The game opened up in the third when Florida took the lead 22 seconds in, Jimmy Hayes with his eighth of the season. Five minutes later he increased his goal tally to nine and gave Florida the 3-1 lead. Pittsburgh are not top of the Metropolitan for nothing and scored two quick goals to send the game into overtime. The first was scored fifteen minutes in by Nick Spaling on a power play. Two minutes later Evgeni Malkin added the equaliser.
After a scoreless overtime the game was to end in a shootout, after six straight saves by the Penguins and six by the Panthers the shootout entered round seven. Pittsburgh’s Simon Despres shot was once again saved by Roberto Luongo. Following on from the save, up stepped Florida’s Aleksander Barkov whose shot passed Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury for the win.
NOTE: Slap Shot is written across the period of one week. Teams may play more than once in the week sometime against the same team. All five games reported are written the day after they are played and so information is correct at time of writing.