Enjoy our morning recap as Russia and Sweden play in the semi-finals of the World Junior Championship, while Canada and Finland anxiously wait for their 1:30 p.m. EST game.
Essential Water Cooler
On Thursday it was Carolina’s Jeff Skinner who recorded a hat trick and last night it was Chicago’s Patrick Sharp. The 32-year-old lit up New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur for three goals, two of which came in a third period that featured six goals in total from both sides. The Winnipeg, Man. native pushed his goal total to 25 on the season, which ranks him second in the league behind only Alex Ovechkin. The Blackhawks walked away from the game with a 5-3 victory over the Devils.
Men of the Night
Ben Lovejoy, Anaheim: 2014 is off to a great start for Lovejoy. His wife gave birth to their first child on New Year’s Eve and on Friday he potted two goals in Anaheim’s 5-2 win over the Oilers.
Marek Zidlicky, New Jersey: Like Lovejoy, Zidlicky was another defenseman to score two goals in a game on Friday, but his Devils wound up on the losing end of a 5-3 score against the Blackhawks. Zidlicky was in the mood to shoot, firing the puck on net six times, more than any other player in the game.
Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh: The left-winger scored two goals and added an assist in the Penguins 5-2 win over the Rangers. Kunitz is tied for the team lead in goals with Sidney Crosby and is having a career year.
Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay: Sure, ‘Big Ben’ only had to stop 19 shots against Calgary in his team’s 2-0 win, but a shut out is a shut out. The 27-year-old is having a sensational year for the Lightning posting a record of 22-5-3 with a 1.83 goals against average and four shutouts to his credit.
Better Luck Next Time
Edmonton has already been picked on a lot this season, in the media and on the ice, but there’s good reason. They looked awful in Thursday’s loss to the Sharks and didn’t look much better in Friday’s loss to the Ducks. The team’s top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and David Perron were ineffective and benched at one point in the game on Thursday and were a combined -10 on Friday. The team also allowed ten goals in the two games, while only scoring three.