Alex Underwood takes a look at some of the best action from the NHL this week, including big wins for Columbus, Toronto and Colorado.
Columbus upset Lightning
The Blue Jackets were aiming to extend their two game win streak away to the Lightning who currently hold the best home record in the NHL. Blue Jackets goalie Sergie Bobrosky saved 33 shots in the game Saturday. Two nights prior in their win over the Florida Panthers he played even better saving a total of 52.
Columbus opened the scoring just over two minutes into the first period, Matt Calvert aiding goal scorer Boone Jenner to make it 1-0. Midway through the first and the Jackets made it 2-0. David Savard scoring the power play goal. The second period provided a host of shots for the Lightning, however Bobrosky was equal to them all and kept the Lightning at bay. The second period ended scoreless.
Five minutes into the third period and the Jackets added a third, Michael Chaput scoring making it 3-0. Just before the end the Lighting added a consolation goal to make it 3-1. The goal means they have not been shut out so far this season. Due to other results the Lightning stay top of the Eastern Conference Atlantic division. Columbus meanwhile are one above the Carolina Hurricanes at the bottom of the Eastern Conference Metropolitan division.
New Jersey star beats flu to move up the record books
On Tuesday New Jersey Devils star Jaromir Jaga played his 1500 NHL game and scored to put his all-time goal tally to 710, just 7 behind Phil Esposito for 5th. To add to his record the 42 year old star played the game suffering from flu.
After the game in an interview Jaga stated “I told the coach at 4 o’clock don’t play me a lot, I don’t feel very well. I had no energy. But something changed with one hour to go. I started feeling more excited about the game. Everything changed in a minute.”
The game itself is the first of four to be played between the Devils and the Carolina Hurricanes and saw no goals in the first period. In the second it was the Hurricanes who struck first. Justin Faulk took advantage as the Devils failed to clear the front of goal. Just over ten minutes later and the Devils drew level with Jagr’s landmark goal assisted by Scott Gomez. At the end of the period it was Jagr who turned provider assisting Adam Henrique in the goal. The third period belonged to Devils goal keeper Cory Schneider who stopped 17 third period shots (39 in total for the game) to end the period scoreless and give the Devils the 2-1 win. The Hurricanes have now lost 10 out of the last 13 games and sit rock bottom of the Eastern Conference metropolitan division with 19 points. The Devils are forth in the same division with 27 points, 12 behind leaders Pittsburgh.
Toronto burn Calgary in a closer encounter than the score suggests
The Toronto Maple Leafs defeated the Calgary Flames 4-1 on Tuesday to keep pace with the leaders in the Eastern Conference Atlantic division; six teams are all within 10 points of the top spot. The Flames meanwhile are in third place in the Western Conference Pacific division, 5 points behind the Anaheim Ducks who lead the division on 41.
Toronto goal tender Jonathan Bernier was unstoppable in the first period with 13 saves to prevent the Flames from scoring. Ten minutes into the first and a save from Bernier is passed to Peter Holland for the score and a 1-0 Toronto lead. The only score in the second period came three minutes in. James van Riemsdyk assisted by Nazem Kadri increased Toronto’s lead to 2-0. The goal gives James van Riemsdyk his 11th so far this season.
Fewer than four minutes into the third and Calgary got back on track thanks to a power play goal from Markus Granlund. Toronto held on and scored two in the final minute after the Flames removed the goal tender to provide extra attack in the hope of drawing level. The first was courtesy of Phil Kessel and the second by Mike Santorelli to end the game 4-1
Ducks squeak past Oilers
In the Eastern Conference Pacific division game on Wednesday bottom club Edmonton made the trip south from Canada to California to face the Anaheim Ducks who sit top of the table with 43 points. The Ducks are in form having won four games in a row. The Oilers are now lynched to the bottom of the table 4 points behind Arizona Coyotes who themselves have a game in hand.
Midway through the first period and Matt Beleskey made it 1 – 0 on the power play to the Ducks with his 14th goal this season. The Ducks continued to pressure but failed to find the back of the net. Second period and again midway through Ryan Kesler gave a lesson in skate to stick skill. Hampus Lindholms pass controlled by Keslers skate to set up his goal and give the Ducks a 2-0 lead. In the opening 53 seconds of the third and Ryan Nugent Hopkins brought Edmonton right back into the game with his seventh goal of the season. Edmonton continued to pressure throughout the final period but could not score, giving the ducks their fifth win in a row by just one point.
Jets get swept away by Avalanche
Winnipeg Jets came into the game on Thursday having won five of their last seven including a 6-2 win over the Avalanche on Friday (5th). Colorado meanwhile have struggled are now well adrift of the leaders in the division, with only the Dallas Stars for company. A win for ether club would be critical in the Western Conference Central division.
The first period ended with no goals. It was just over one minute into the second that the Jets opened the scoring, Andrew Ladd with his eleventh goal of the season on the power play. Just over two minutes later and the Avalanche replied thanks to Matt Duchene assisted by Jan Hejda. The Jets restored their lead five minutes before the end of the second thanks to a Paul Postma power play goal. Five minutes into the third period and on yet another power play goal the Jets extend their lead to 3-1, Mark Scheifele with his fourth this season. However Colorado was to score two goals within five minutes to level the game at 3-3 and bring in overtime. The first came from Jarome Iginla and the second from Ryan O’Reilly just minutes before the end of regulation.
The Jets were given a golden opportunity to win in overtime when Andrew Ladd broke away on goal. However Avalanche rookie goal keeper Calvin Pickard, who was only signed while Semyon Varlamov recovers from injury was equal to the shot and made what turned out to be the game changing save.
In the shootout Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene both scored against Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec to secure the win for the Avalanche and move them above Dallas, The Jets meanwhile are fourth in the division behind St Louis.
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.