Last night, the Philadelphia Flyers were beaten badly at the sport they play professionally, so they punched the other team in the head a lot. Elsewhere, two games required extra time and three goaltenders posted shutouts. Here’s the rundown of a dramatic Friday night in the NHL.
Essential Water Cooler
Hey, do you like line brawls? Goalies assaulting goalies? Blowouts? Chants for a GM to be fired? Had Bob Cole been at the Wells Fargo Center last night to witness the rock-bottom Flyers get trounced by the Caps 7-0, he’d have surely told you that everything is happening. The Caps scored five times in a chippy second period and chants of “Fire Holmgren” filled the building. Tensions exploded at 5:31 of the third. It started with a tilt between Tom Wilson and Wayne Simmonds. Then Ray Emery charged down the rink and engaged Braden Holtby in fisticuffs, landing several shots to the back of Holtby’s head. More scraps broke out, eight fighting majors in all, resulting in 164 total penalty minutes. The game was also the return of Steve Downie to Philly, five years after the Flyers dealt him to Tampa Bay. He was brought in to provide a spark offensively, but instead he provided 17 penalty minutes while suffering a concussion in a fight against Aaron Volpatti. Downie was later carted to hospital. Adding to the Philadelphia’s humiliation, the Capitals were Ovechkin-less as Ovie sat with an upper body injury. Check out the silliness:
Forget that Kari Lehtonen makes this save because he dropped his stick trying to cover the puck and stumbled while tracking the puck around the net. Just enjoy the result: the desperation save of the year.
Men of the Night
Alex Steen, St. Louis: Apparently no one told Alex Steen to stop masquerading as Alex Ovechkin after Halloween. The 29-year-old left winger scored his 12th goal in 11 games. He leads and league in tallies and helped the Blues to a 4-0 victory.
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay: The 6-foot-7 stopper turned aside all 31 Hurricanes shots in a 3-0 Lightning win. Bishop’s numbers this year are quietly stellar (8-2, .924, 2.16).
Brian Elliott, St. Louis: Sure, it was against the Panthers, but Elliott’s 31-save shutout still counts.
Braden Holtby, Washington: The Caps’ No. 1 netminder posted a goose egg and is probably sporting a few goose eggs on the back of his head after being pummelled by ‘Sugar’ Ray Emery.
Various Washington Capitals, Washington: Lost in the dramatics of their fight-filled affair were the stellar offensive showings of several Capitals. Joel Ward scored his first career hat trick; Mikhail Grabovski notched three assists to move to a point-per-game on the season; Jason Chimera scored a goal and three assists and has scored in four straight; Nicklas Backstrom lit the lamp twice and added an assist.
Jason Pominville, Minnesota: The left winger scored goals number eight and nine on the season and notched his first assist, which puts him firmly in the lead for the Cy Young. Teammate Mikael Granlund, with zero goals and 10 assists, will likely be sent down to triple-A to revamp his mechanics.
Paul Stastny, Colorado: After scoring the opening goal of the contest, Stastny walked in and ripped one past Kari Lehtonen to put the Avs over the Stars, 3-2 in OT.
Better Luck Next Time
Really, Ottawa Senators team defense? Allowing 57 shots? Really? Robin Lehner was blitzed by Islanders shooters and managed to turn away 53 shots, earning his team a single point, before the Isles prevailed in a breakaway competition.