Good evening hockey fans! Tonight was Wednesday Night Rivalry for the NHL, so you know what that means! There was plenty of excitement to be had, even with only four games. Let it begin!
Scores: Canadiens 4-3 Capitals ; Bruins 5-1 Penguins ; Avalanche 4-3 Sharks ; Ducks 1-0 Sabres
The Washington Capitals have been dominant for most of the season. Lately, though, the Eastern Conference leaders have been playing from behind. And, against the Montreal Canadiens, they couldn't pull off another comeback. Alex Galchenyuk scored two goals, Mike Condon made 33 saves and the Canadiens topped the Eastern Conference-leading Capitals 4-3 tonight. The Canadiens built a 3-0 lead and chased Capitals goalie Braden Holtby in the second period before holding on as Washington tallied two late goals. Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Fleischmann added goals for the Canadiens, who had lost four of five, and two previous meetings with Washington this season. Trailing 4-1, the Capitals scored twice inside the final minutes, including Andre Burakovsky's goal with 2:53 remaining. Jason Chimera and Dmitri Orlov also scored for the President's Trophy front-runners, who entered 17-1-1 over their previous 19 home games. Alex Ovechkin, the NHL leader with 39 goals, had one assist, but did not score for the first time in four games for Washington. The Capitals were 9-1-0 in their previous 10 games, while the Canadiens were 3-14-1 in their last 18 on the road. Off the ice, Capitals F Mike Richards will not be prosecuted on a charge of possession of a controlled substance in Canada. Prosecutors stayed the charge Wednesday morning, according to court documents.
David Pastrnak had two goals, including his first career made penalty shot, and Boston blew past the Pittsburgh Penguins 5-1 tonight. Boston entered the night in a 1-3-1 skid at home, in which it had given up 26 goals. The Bruins avoided their first three-game home losing streak since they went 0-3-1 to open the season. Pastrnak, a 19-year-old Czech, was all over the ice in the first two periods, and said he thinks he is starting to find his game in his second year after scoring 10 goals in 46 games last season. The Bruins' 2014 first-round pick now has eight goals in 29 appearances. Boston outscored Pittsburgh 14-3 while sweeping the three-game season series. Tuukka Rask made 41 saves for the Bruins. Jimmy Hayes, Landon Ferraro and Brad Marchand also scored. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 24 shots, and Pittsburgh got its first regulation loss in its last five road games. The Penguins entered the night two points behind Boston and one point ahead of New Jersey for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
Joel Ward tied the game with 1:31 to go but the Avalanche pulled out a win as Nathan MacKinnon and Matt Duchene both scored in the shootout. The Sharks' recent acquisition from Toronto, Nick Spaling, opened the scoring early in the first but Colorado stayed with them all game. Gabriel Landeskog scored midway through the third to give the Avs their first lead of the game, which lasted until Ward evened it at 3 apiece. Jarome Iginla also scored in the victory, and Avs backup Calvin Pickard stopped 30 shots in a rare appearance. Sharks netminder Martin Jones had 38 saves in the loss, and did not receive enough defensive support to get a win. San Jose trails Anaheim by three points and LA by five in the Pacific race. Colorado currently controls the second wild card spot in the West.
Anaheim held on for the win in a low scoring affair at home against the Sabres. Sami Vatanen scored the only goal of the game on a power play early in the second. Frederik Andersen stopped all 26 Sabres shots to record his first shutout of the season. The Ducks trail the Kings by two points for the division crown.
That's all for tonight, folks! Let me know in the comments if you want to be tagged in future VSNA cards. See ya tomorrow!