Alex Underwood takes a look at some of the best action from the NHL this week, including big wins for Florida, Dallas and Washington…
Florida Pounce on Detroit (12/12/14)
Detroit came in to Friday’s game with a record of 7 -1 -1 in last nine games they have played and sitting second in the Eastern conference Atlantic division with 41 points. Florida meanwhile has had a less productive season with 32 points and sits fifth in the same division.
All the regulation goals came in the first period. Five minutes into the game and it was Detroit who opened the scoring, Riley Sheahan with the power play goal and the 1-0 lead. It did not take long for Florida to respond. It was Tomas Fleichmann who scored his third of the season to bring the score to 1-1 two minutes later.
Midway through the period Jonathan Huberdeau put the Panthers in front. In the final seconds of the period during a power play Detroit scored what turned out to be the final regulation goal, Gustav Nyquist on target this time.
The following two regulation periods saw defences rule the roost however Luke Glendening came inches away from scoring the winning goal for the Redwings in the second.
In overtime neither club could score as the period was all about defence. The period saw a massive hit on Brian Campbell from Redwing Darren Helm, one of a number shared by the two in the period.
In the shootout Florida’s Vincent Trocheck and Brandon Pirri were on target to give the Panthers the win. Panthers Goalie Roberto Luongo made twenty nine saves in regulation and stopped Pavel Datsyuk and Gustav Nyquist in the shootout.
Rangers sink the Canucks (13/12/14)
The well-rested Rangers came into Vancouver having played three games in two weeks. The Canucks meanwhile were on a three game losing streak that needed to be snapped.
The Rangers opened the scoring quickly, Ryan McDonagh with the goal two and a half minuets in. Less than a minute later J. T. Miller made it 2-0 over Vancouver following a break away from Derek Stepan Still in the first and its Matz Zuccarello with the score; the Rangers were now dominating the game in all sectors.
Just over seven minutes in and after a pin perfect pass from Kevin Hayes, Marc Staal gets his first goal of the season from an awesome slap shot. The Rangers continued their lesson is hockey, a fantastic wrap around pass from Derick Brassard finding Mats Zuccarello for his second of the game.
Nick Bonino found a consolation goal for the Canucks, but the 5-1 score line made it their second loss in a row. As of Saturday the Canucks sit 8 points adrift of the Ducks in the Western Conference Pacific division. The Rangers are now on a three game win streak and are fourth in the Western Conference Metropolitan division.
Buffalo and Ottawa fight it out (15/12/2014)
Despite being bottom of the Eastern Conference Atlantic division Buffalo have regrouped and have won nine of the last twelve. Ottawa Senators meanwhile are one place above and have won two times in the last eight.
Ottawa opened the scoring in the first period, Bobby Ryan slotting home the goal. The goal was his seventh of the season and was the only one in the period
The second period saw the game open up. Four minutes into the period and Buffalo levelled the score thanks to a Rasmus Ristolainen goal on a power play. Matt Moulson made it 2-1 Buffalo; with a slap shot past Robin Lehner. Thirty two seconds later and Buffalo score again, Marcus Foligno scoring his seventh of the season. The Senators were not done yet, Mark Stone with the goal to make it 3-2 going into the final period.
In the final regulation period and the goal fest continued with Ottawa making the game 3-3, Curtis Lazar with his first NHL goal. Ottawa then took a 4-3 lead, Alex Chiasson this time with the goal. Unfortunately for the Senators the Sabres were not done. With just over sixteen minutes left Brian Flynn sent the game into a scoreless overtime.
The teams were now into a shootout. The first shot from Buffalo was guided in from Matt Molson. The goal was crucial; every other player missed their shot. For the Sabres both Tyler Ennis and Zemgus Girgensons could not make the goal. Meanwhile Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan were off target for the Senators.
Vancouver upset by the Stars (17/12/2014)
I try not to cover the same club twice each week but Dallas deserves credit. The Stars are one from bottom in the Western Conference Central division with 29 points. Vancouver seem to be in a slump at present, this was their third loss in a row and has opened up the division. Vancouver, San Jose, Los Angeles and Calgary are now all within two games of each other for second place, so the Canucks need to turn things around.
The first period saw no goals but both lucky and textbook saves from both Vancouver’s Eddie Lack, and the Star’s Kari Lehtonen. Both goalie’s had stunning games.
Three minutes into the second period and Dallas get the opening goal thanks to Colton Sceviour, this was only his second of the year. Throughout the rest of the period it was all about the goalie’s and defence.
The third period saw more defensive prowess. Vancouver was forced to pull their goalie Eddie Lack in favour of the extra forward. Antoine Roussel took advantage of the empty net to bury the Canucks and give Dallas their second win in a row.
The win was also a land mark for the Stars, this was the first time in their history they have shut out the Canucks away from home. It was a very good day in Vancouver for Dallas.
Caps win in Columbus (18/12/2014)
The Blue Jacks came into the game at home to the Capitals with six straight wins and fifth in the Eastern Conference Metropolitan division. Washington meanwhile is third in the same division and by the end of the game have six wins and two ties in the last ten games.
Ten minutes into the first period Joel Ward scored his tenth goal of the season to give the Capitals a 1-0 lead. They extended the lead with seconds left in the period thanks to Jason Chimera.
The second period saw the Blue Jackets respond. Columbus scored their first on a power play by Jack Johnson. Minutes later Nick Foligno tied the game for the Blue Jackets on yet another power play. The goal was his fifteenth so far this season.
The third period was end to end. Columbus took the 3-2 lead less than one minute into the period, Nick Foligno with another to add to his tally. The Capitals Karl Alzner evened the score six minutes later. Five minutes left in the game and Columbus retook the lead, Michael Chaput with his first goal of the season. The lead lasted less than two minutes. Troy Brouwer sending the game into overtime.
Washington made sure overtime did not last long, forty two seconds in and Eric Fehr gave the Capitals the 5-2 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.