Monday, January 28, 2013
What you need to know: Weekend edition
By Scott Burnside
-- The Blackhawks ran their record to an NHL-best 6-0 with a hard-fought 2-1 overtime win over Detroit on Sunday. Corey Crawford continues to prove that he’s forgotten about last spring’s playoff disappointment with a .933 save percentage and 1.78 GAA. The Hawks continue to get balanced scoring with goals from two defensemen, Duncan Keith and Nick Leddy, to pace them.
-- Meanwhile, Patrick Marleau did not score two goals for the first time this season -- you knew he wasn’t going to score 96 goals, right? -- but he did add his league-leading ninth goal and added an assist as the Sharks beat another Western Conference power in Vancouver by a 4-1 count. The Sharks are 5-0-0 and have outscored opponents by a whopping 23-8 for a league-best plus-15 goal differential.
-- The weekend brought with it respite for the NHL’s last winless team, the Washington Capitals, as they defeated the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Sunday afternoon. The Caps, now 1-3-1, got their first win thanks in part to the first goal of the season by captain Alex Ovechkin, who scored the game winner early in the third period to give the Caps a 3-1 lead. The Sabres, meanwhile, have seen a strong 2-0 start to the season evaporate into a three-game losing streak that has seen them outscored 12-6. Thomas Vanek did not play Sunday because of an injury, although it’s not believed to be serious.
-- Wade Redden -- remember him? -- scored for the second straight game for the St. Louis Blues as they topped Minnesota in a topsy-turvy affair that ended with Vladimir Sobotka scoring in overtime for a 5-4 Blues victory. St. Louis is off to a 5-1-0 start while the revamped Wild continue to look for consistency as they blew a 3-1 lead in this one and are 2-2-1 on the season as a result.
-- The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a two-game losing streak by beating the Ottawa Senators in a shootout 2-1 on Sunday. The Penguins, now 3-2-0, got a nice piece of work from Marc-Andre Fleury, who stopped 31 of 32 shots and then the Pens scored on all three shootout attempts against Craig Anderson. The Sens remain a pleasant surprise, though, with a 3-1-1 record. They have given up just nine goals in five games.
-- The Montreal Canadiens won their third straight game Sunday and in the process knocked the New Jersey Devils from the ranks of the undefeated. The Habs scored on the power play in overtime -- Andrei Markov delivering the knockout blow with his fourth of the season, most among defensemen -- to defeat the Devils 4-3. New Jersey had allowed just three goals while going 3-0-0 to start the season.
-- After winning two in a row to arrest a season-opening three-game losing streak, the Philadelphia Flyers came back to earth Sunday, dropping a 5-1 decision to Tampa. The loss came on the road 24 hours after Philadelphia crushed Florida 7-1 but also highlighted a potential problem for the Flyers as backup Michael Leighton earned his first start of the season and gave up five goals on 26 shots. It was Leighton’s first NHL action since the 2011 playoffs. The Lightning, meanwhile, won their third in a row and own a 4-1 record and top spot in the Southeast Division, having scored 24 goals in five games. Teddy Purcell led the way for the Lightning with a goal and two assists.
-- The Jets and the Islanders didn’t disappoint as Winnipeg won a 5-4 barn-burner in overtime in a game that featured five third-period goals. The Jets are a surprising 3-1-1 as Evander Kane scored the winner to give Winnipeg a three-game winning streak. John Tavares had a goal and two assists for the Isles, who are 2-2-1.
-- Other notable moments from the weekend? How about Anaheim’s shootout victory over Nashville that saw Daniel Winnik score his fifth of this young season and 30-year-old Viktor Fasth earn his first-ever NHL win in his first-ever NHL start? The Ducks are 3-1. And the Los Angeles Kings got in the "W" column Saturday with a 4-2 victory over the slumping Phoenix Coyotes.