Uhhhhh… what happened to Montreal?
Around this time last month the Canadiens were in a stretch in which they won nine of 11 and had just one regulation loss. Now, they’re on a four-game losing streak to teams like Atlanta, New Jersey (not so embarrassing, but more on the Devs later), Tampa last night and Florida tonight, the latter by a 5-1 margin.
How’s that even happen? It’s not like they’re unhealthy, though Alex Tanguay’s going to be out another two weeks or so, and there doesn’t seem to be any real reason for this mortifying skid. They’re just playing awful hockey.
Does this underscore the need to trade for a guy like Lecavalier to shake up a stale dressing room and light a fire under everyone’s ass? Does it say something about the improvement of the East in general that the team which was so dominant last year is so, I dunno, “blah” now? Christ, they’re only six points above the ninth-place Hurricanes and Florida and Pittsburgh seem to be gaining fast too.
Maybe the problem is that Carey Price gave up five goals on 36 shots tonight, five on 24 last night and four on 33 on Jan. 21.
Yeah. That’s probably it.
New Jersey 4, Boston 3 (OT)
Good sign for the Devs: They beat freakin’ Boston in OT to win their seventh in a row. Bad sign for the Devs: They gave up three third-period goals. There’s a lot to be said for the Devils this year, obviously, given how they’ve played sans Brodeur, and as good as they are, they still ain’t the Boston Bruins. Great game, though.
Carolina 3, Tampa 2
What a gift it is that every Southeast team was in action tonight. I can’t be bothered to watch any of these Southeast-on-Southeast games but I imagine them to be painfully dull and poorly played. Can anyone confirm whether or not this is the case? It was nice, though, to see Eric Staal fill his one-goal-every-five-days quota against a weak opponent.
New York Islanders 5, Atlanta 4
The Isles opened up a 4-0 lead through the first 13 or so minutes. Atlanta cut that lead to one with three goals in 8:10 in the third period. Then the Islanders scored again, then gave up another goal. Ah, it must be fun being a fan of these teams. You never know exactly how your team is going to completely crap themselves on a nightly basis.
Dallas 4, Detroit 2
Hahahahaha oh man. Marty Turco dominated the Red Wings. Marty Turco! The Red Wings! What a goaltending duel this appeared to be on paper though. Too bad Chris Osgood got chased after giving up three goals on 12 shots in the first period. I was really looking forward to seeing this one end 12-9. Games like this, by the way, are why I don’t buy for a second that the Red Wings are going to go very far in the playoffs. Chris friggin’ Osgood and Ty friggin’ Conklin. Please.
Ottawa 3, St. Louis 1
Wow, Ottawa won. Big Mikey Fisher’s sixth and seventh goals of the year, the latter into an empty net with three seconds left. Keep earnin’ that big contract, Mike, because you have fewer goals than Brad Winchester. Haha.
Toronto 7, Colorado 4
Another marquee goaltending matchup! For the Leafs: stalwart backstop Vesa Toskala, he of the 3.29 goals-against average and .885 save percentage! For the Avs: airtight netminder Andrew Raycroft, whose stats sparkle (by comparison) at 2.71/.905! Who will win this ultimate test of iron will and steel resolve? Well, turns out that Toskala’s .750 in-game save percentage (that’s four on 20 shots) was more than enough to best Rayzer’s .767 (seven on 30!). Just brutal.
Los Angeles 5, Chicago 2
The Kings got out to a three-goal lead and, apparently, that was all they needed. Dustin Brown continued his quietly very-good season with two goals and an assist and Jon Quick (ugh) made 31 saves. Chicago’s another team that’s only been alright lately. Dunno why that is.
San Jose 2, Phoenix 0
And with that San Jose reclaims sole possession of No. 1 in the league. It took the Sharks about 42 tries to put it into an empty net though, so things are tough (by varying degrees) all over. Evgeni Nabokov had a 24-save shutout.