Here’s our NHL man in the know, Alex Underwood, on another interesting week of hockey including wins for Detroit, Buffalo, Nashville, Minnesota and the LA Kings…
Ducks gain ground on Canucks thanks to Detroit
On Sunday the Redwings closed the gap on the leaders Tampa Bay and Montreal thanks to a 5-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The loss for Vancouver brings the Anaheim Ducks level on points at the top of the Pacific Division in the Western Conference; however they do have a game in hand. The game itself was delayed due to a power failure.
Once the game had commenced Vancouver’s Ryan Miller’s back to back shut out games came to a close when Niklas Kronwall opened the scoring. Later on in the first during a Redwings power play they extended their lead to 2-0 thanks to Gustav Nyquist.
Linden Vey took advantage of a power play early in the second to bring the Canucks within one. Shortly afterwards the game was slightly delayed for a second time due to an incident with Vancouver’s Alex Burrows, who was struck in the face by a skate. He required 7 stitches but returned later in the game. Power play goals continued to add to the score when later on in the period the Redwings added to their score, this time Pavel Datsyuk making the score 3-1
In the final period Detroit and Vancouver exchanged four goals. It was Vancouver who struck first thanks to Shawn Matthias, however less than a minute later Detroit’s Danny Dekeyser hit right back. 16:10 into the third period Linden Vey gave the Canucks hope, this was dashed a few minutes later thanks to the final goal of the game courtesy of Pavel Datsyuk.
The Redwings sit third in the NHL Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division one point off second place Montreal; who have a game in hand.
Sabres shoot out with Lightning
Tuesday saw a clash of the NHL’s in form teams as the Tampa Bay Lightning (4 straight wins and top of the Eastern Conference, Atlantic division) met the Buffalo Sabres (who despite siting bottom of the same division had won five of their last six coming into the game).
The first two periods saw no scores for ether team. Highlights of the periods include an agonisingly close shot on goal for both clubs. In the second period the Lightning played far better than Buffalo but could not find a way through.
All regulation goals came in the third. Tampa Bay opened the scoring just under ten minutes in with Ondrej Palat finding the back of the net. Six minutes later the Sabres levelled the score thanks to Zemgus Gigensons. With no more goals in the period the game went into overtime. Overtime came and went with no goals and so the game went into a shootout.
In the shootout Buffalo took the first shot and scored thanks to Tony Hodgson. Up next was the Lightning’s Ondrej Palat whose shot was saved by Buffalo goal tender Jhonas Enroth (who saved a total of 26 in regulation and overtime). Buffalo’s Tyler Ennis scored the next Sabre goal leaving the Lightning needing a score to keep the game going. Ryan Callahan failed to score the critical goal to give the Sabres the win. Tampa Bay and Buffalo faced off again on Thursday with the Lightning inflicting revenge with a 5-0 victory.
Canadiens get tamed in the Wild
Prior to the game on Wednesday both the Wild and Canadiens paid tribute to Jean Beliveau who passed away aged 83. Beliveau was a legend in Montreal who led the club to 10 Stanley Cup championships during his 20 seasons in the NHL.
It took Minnesota 19 seconds to open the scoring thanks to a strange goal by Jason Zucker. His shot hit Canadiens goaltender Carey Price’s shoulder, deflected off the crossbar and rolled down the goaltender’s back into the net. Because it was Zuckers shot he was credited with the goal.
Midway into the second period the Wild scored again with another odd goal. Wild defenceman Christian Folin’s shot hit the stick of team mate Jason Pominville as he was ducking to avoid being hit in the face. The puck deflected of the stick into the net for the goal. Late into the third and the Canadiens got a goal back with just 58 seconds remaining to bring the final score 2-1.
Montreal remain second in the Eastern Conference, Atlantic division. The Wild meanwhile sit fifth in the Western Conference central division.
Nashville gives St Louis the Blues
The Western Conference, Central Division saw a top of the table clash on Thursday between the Nashville Predators and the St Louis Blues.
The first period saw the blues take the lead thanks to a great goal by Vladimir Tarasenko just under 6 minutes in. Filip Forsberg brought Nashville right back ten minutes later with a Filip Forsberg goal. The goal was assisted by Mike Ribeiro. With 55 seconds remaining Ribeiro then assisted in Nashville’s second goal by Eric Nystrom.
Early in the second period and Nashville extended their lead to 3-1, this time it was Ribeiro’s turn to score as opposed to provide. The blues quickly responded with another Vladimir Tarasenko goal to bring the score to 3-2.
Midway through the third period and Nashville was to score what turned out to be the winning goal thanks to Colin Wilson. St Louis set up a tense finish when they scored the final goal of the game, Jaden Schwartz scoring this time.
However the Blues could not get the goal required for overtime and the game ended 4-3. Nashville lead St Louis in the Division 36 points compared to the Blues 34.
Los Angeles Kings march on Arizona
The Coyotes were looking to break their worst home losing streak in six years on Thursday and a six game losing streak. In the way stood the reigning Stanley cup champions, the LA Kings. The game started as it ended for the Coyotes with a great solo goal from Dustin Brown.
Midway through the second period and the kings extended their lead thanks again to a score by Dustin Brown. Five minutes later and it was 3-0 to the Kings. Jarret Stoll scored with the power play goal to end the second period. The goal ended Arizona tender Mike Smiths night as he let in 3 goals in 20 shots.
In the final period the change in tender had little impact as midway through the period another power play goal is scored, this time by Alec Martinez. The goal gave the Kings the 4-0 win and is Kings Goaltender Martin Jones second clean sheet in a row. The Western Conference, Pacific Division sees Arizona 6th and Los Angeles 4th in the table.