<
>

Need to know: Sharks unbeaten, Pens stunned

1/30/2013



• The beat goes on for the San Jose Sharks as they beat Anaheim 3-2 in a shootout to start 6-0-0. Logan Couture tied the game at 2-2 with less than three minutes to go in regulation and then Michal Handzus won it during the shootout. Antti Niemi ran his record to 5-0, stopping 28 of 30 Ducks shots. The Sharks’ plus-16 goal differential is tops in the league.

• The New York Islanders have been the butt of more than a few hockey jokes in recent years, mostly for good reasons. But in the early stages of the 2013 season, the Isles are doing their best to put those days behind them, and Tuesday they took another step away from being a laughingstock by shocking Pittsburgh 4-1 in Pittsburgh. The win, buoyed by two second-period power-play goals, pushed the Isles’ record to 3-2-1 and reinforced that this emerging young group of forwards is not to be trifled with. The 3-3-0 Penguins, coming off a 2-1 shootout victory against Ottawa, continue to struggle to put consecutive strong efforts together.

• The Rangers' 2-1 defeat of the Flyers might have been costly. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan left the game after a third-period fight with Max Talbot. Callahan scored the eventual game winner for the Rangers, who moved to 3-3-0 on the season. The Flyers tumbled to 2-5-0, and while many wondered about the defense and goaltending coming into the season, the team has scored just 14 goals in seven games.

• The Ottawa Senators continue to make a case for themselves as the real deal as they erased a 2-0 Washington lead Tuesday night to win 3-2, even though they were without the services of top center Jason Spezza, who was out with an injury. Craig Anderson was again outstanding, stopping 31 of 33 Caps shots as the Sens moved to 4-1-1. The Capitals could not build off their only win of the season and fell to a disappointing 1-4-1. Captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored the winner against Buffalo, was held without a point against Ottawa and registered just two shots on goal.

• The good news is that the Florida Panthers got Kris Versteeg back in the lineup after he missed the first five games of the season. The bad news is that the Panthers got the same result, a 5-2 spanking at the hands of the Tampa Bay Lightning. The win was the fourth in a row for the 5-1-0 Lightning, while the Panthers lost their fifth in a row. The Cats, the defending Southeast Division champs, have managed just five goals after winning their season opener. Their minus-14 goal differential is the worst in the league. The Lightning, on the other hand, have averaged five goals per game during the course of their winning streak. Cory Conacher had a goal and an assist for Tampa to take over the rookie scoring lead with nine points.

• It was somehow fitting that when the last two teams without a regulation loss in the Eastern Conference met that, well, no one would lose. At least not in regulation. And so it was that the Boston Bruins edged the New Jersey Devils 2-1 in a shootout to run their record to 5-0-1. The Devils, with Johan Hedberg getting his first start of the season in place of Martin Brodeur, fell to 3-0-2. New Jersey has allowed just nine goals on the season.

• The Toronto Maple Leafs got the winner from Matt Frattin with 1.5 seconds left in overtime, Frattin’s second of the game, to edge Buffalo 4-3 in Buffalo, a place where traditionally the Leafs have struggled to win. James Reimer took another step toward establishing himself as the Leafs' starter by turning aside 29 of 32 shots to get the win and halt a two-game Toronto losing streak. Meanwhile, the Sabres are 0-3-1 in their last four as Ryan Miller allowed four goals on 24 Toronto shots.

• The Montreal Canadiens continue to surprise, winning their fourth straight, edging Winnipeg 4-3. P.K. Subban was not in the lineup after signing a two-year deal with the Habs on Monday. Still, the defense was again a factor as Andrei Markov added an assist and Raphael Diaz picked up two helpers for the 4-1-0 Canadiens.

• The Detroit Red Wings are slowly rebounding from a pedestrian start as they spotted Dallas a one-goal lead before scoring four unanswered goals to defeat the Stars 4-1 on Tuesday. Valtteri Filppula scored his first two goals of the season for the 3-2-1 Wings, who were starved for depth scoring early on. The Stars, meanwhile, cannot find the back of the net as they’ve lost three in a row, are winless in four and have scored just 13 goals in seven games.

• The Minnesota Wild blew a 2-0 lead against Columbus but still found a way to pull out two points thanks to a Pierre-Marc Bouchard goal with less than six minutes to go in regulation as the Wild edged the Blue Jackets 3-2. The victory halted a three-game winless streak for the Wild. Meanwhile, Columbus has mastered the art of playing just well enough to lose. The Blue Jackets mustered just 19 shots on Niklas Backstrom and are 2-4-1 on the season with a conference-worst minus-9 goal differential.