Now that the All-Star Game festivities have come to a close, the push for the playoffs has officially begun. The Metro has a long way to go before it becomes settled, but the Capitals still remain the cream of the crop with the Penguins as the only team within striking distance as of today. Several teams have gone on extended win streaks and you never know which team will be the next one to flip the proverbial switch.
The Penguins came out of the break at home against the Flyers last Friday night, and also got the return of Justin Schultz who has been out since December. It wasn’t the best start for either team as they combined for only 7 total shots on goal, but it was the Flyers who got on the board first with a power play goal in the final minute of the 1st period.
Both teams came to life in the 2nd period, but it was the Penguins who took control with three goals in an 8 minute span to jump ahead 3-1 a little past the midway point in the game. The Flyers would score late in the 2nd period to cut the Penguins’ lead to one.
Scott Laughton scored for the Flyers 2:20 into the 3rd period to even the score at three and it would remain that way until the end of regulation. Sidney Crosby continued his dominance over the Flyers when he scored his 9th goal of the year only 55 seconds into overtime to give the Penguins the 4-3 win.
The Penguins have a rough path to begin February. It starts with one of the most anticipated games this season when the Capitals host the Penguins this afternoon on NBC. The Lightning will then host the Penguins on Thursday and the Penguins end the week in Sunrise on Saturday night.
The Capitals began play after the All-Star break dealing with their obligatory one game suspension for Alex Ovechkin in Montreal last Monday night. They wouldn’t need him despite Montreal scoring less than two minutes into the game. Tom Wilson got the scoring started for the Capitals on the power play with less than two minutes remaining in the 1st period.
The Capitals pulled away in the 2nd with two goals from Travis Boyd and Jakub Vrana to lead 3-1 after 40 minutes. Dale Weise got his first goal of the year for Montreal 7:30 into the 3rd period to cut the lead to 3-2 but Nicklas Backstrom scored his 10th goal of the year into an empty net to give the Capitals the 4-2 win.
The Capitals, and Ovechkin, returned to DC on Wednesday night to face the Nashville Predators. Richard Panik scored his sixth goal this year to start the scoring 9:28 into the 1st, but the Predators ripped off three goals in the next six minutes to lead 3-1. Ovechkin scored his 35th goal of the year in the 1st period to make it 3-2 and that goal would break the tie with Steve Yzerman for 10th all time in goals scored.
Panik added his second of the game in the 2nd period and Tom Wilson put the Capitals ahead on the power play just past the midway point of the game where it would stay until the 3rd period. The Capitals were rewarded with a power play early in the 3rd period, but the Predators were the beneficiaries when Ryan Johansen scored shorthanded to tie the game at four with three minutes into the 3rd period. Yannick Weber scored his first goal this year with less than five minutes remaining to put the Predators ahead 5-4. The Capitals did their best to even the game again, but could not tie the game after blowing a 4-3 lead in the last 20 minutes.
The Capitals then flew back to Canada on Friday night to play against Ottawa. The Capitals dominated the 1st period by outshooting the Senators 16-5 and, more importantly, scored two goals to lead 2-0 after 20 minutes. The Capitals surrendered another shorthanded goal in the 2nd period, but Ovechkin would get it back and tie Mark Messier for 9th on the all-time NHL goal scoring list. The Senators wouldn’t go down without a fight, and scored only a minute later to make it a one goal game heading into the 3rd period.
Carl Hagelin would get a shorthanded goal of his own early in the 3rd, but the Senators scored on the same power play to once again bring it to within one. The Senators would pull their goalie late in the game, and it was Ovechkin scoring his second of the game and 695th career goal to pass Messier and is now alone in 9th place on the all-time goals list.
Since the beginning of January, Ovechkin has passed Teemu Selanne, Mario Lemieux, Steve Yzerman, and now Mark Messier on the all-time list. He now sits 13 goals behind Mike Gartner for 7th place and 199 goals behind Wayne Gretzky in first place.
The Capitals return to action this afternoon with a massive matchup against the Penguins at Capital One Arena. The Kings are next in DC on Tuesday and the Capitals close out the week in DC on Saturday night for the Capitals.
The Islanders began play post All-Star Game at home against Vancouver on Saturday afternoon. It was quite an interesting and back-and-forth game. The Canucks kicked off the scoring only two minutes in, but the Islanders answered only five minutes after the puck dropped which was the last of the scoring in the 1st period.
Quinn Hughes put the Canucks up by one midway through the 2nd period and the Canucks added another to lead 3-1 but Jordan Eberle would bring the score to 3-2 in the 2nd period. Brock Nelson scored his 21st goal of the year with the Islanders net empty and less than thirty seconds in regulation to force overtime. Quinn Hughes added his second goal of the game and eighth of year only 42 seconds into overtime and the rookie blue liner gave the Canucks the win but the Islanders managed to come away with a point despite trailing in the last minute.
That pity point gave the Islanders a one point cushion over the Blue Jackets and Flyers with 63 points, each. The Islanders begin this week with two games at Barclays Center against Dallas on Tuesday and Los Angeles on Thursday before hitting the road to Tampa on Saturday night.
Columbus was riding quite a hot streak over the last month and have turned their fortunes around after struggling most of the first half of the season. The Blue Jackets’ first game after the break was Saturday in Buffalo that wast the first of a back-to-back in Montreal on Sunday afternoon. Columbus hit the break as winners of six in a row.
The game in Buffalo was almost exactly the way coach Tortorella wanted to go defensively. Despite the Sabres scoring the only goal of the 1st period they were limited to only five shots on goal. It was a defensive and goalie duel as the rest of the way as it took the Blue Jackets 45 minutes to finally score a goal and tie the game at one in the 3rd period where it would remain until the end of regulation. Jack Eichel made it a quick one when he scored his 31st goal of the year only 36 seconds into the overtime to give the Sabres the 2-1 win.
The Blue Jackets remain one point behind the Islanders for third in the Metro but tied with the Flyers with 63 points. Columbus wraps up their back-to-back in Montreal this afternoon before finishing with three games this week at home beginning against Florida on Tuesday before a back-to-back at home against Detroit and Colorado on Friday and Saturday. Columbus will make it three home games in four days on Monday the following week.
Philadelphia resumed play against the team they left off with when the Penguins hosted their cross-state rivals in Pittsburgh on Friday night. It took nearly the entire 1st period, but Jake Voracek got the Flyers on the board first in the final minute of the period on the power play to give the Flyers the advantage after 20 minutes. The Penguins would rattle of three goals in a seven minute in the 2nd period span that saw the Flyers one goal lead turn into a two goal deficit.
However, the Flyers recollected themselves and Tyler Pitlick scored his fifth goal of the year late in the 2nd to cut the Penguins lead in half heading into the 3rd. Scott Laughton scored 2:20 into the 3rd period and the game would head to overtime. It only took Sidney Crosby 55 seconds to crush the hopes an dreams of Flyers fans for the millionth time when he ended the game with the only shot of overtime.
Philly didn’t have much time to dwell on that loss as they were back in Philadelphia to play Colorado less than 24 hours later. This game had a much different feel and result for the Flyers than the Penguins game. The Flyers scored twice in the 1st period to lead 2-0 after one. The Avs scored two minutes into the 2nd but it was quickly answered by Joel Farabee with his sixth of the year for the Flyers. The Avalanche scored on a power play a minute after that as the two teams combined for five goals in only 24 minutes of game time.
The game calmed down for the remainder of the 2nd period before Farabee added his seventh of the year to put the Flyers ahead by two again. Once again the Avs scored to make it 4-3 but Kevin Hayes scored the dagger while shorthanded to put the Flyers up by two again and Scott Laughton added an empty net goal to finish off the Avs by a 6-3 final score.
The Flyers head to Detroit for a quick one game road trip on Monday before returning home to face their Metropolitan rival New Jersey on Thursday night. The Flyers close out next week against another rival when they meet the Capitals at Capital One Arena on Saturday night.
The Hurricanes only had one game last week as they returned from their bye week at home against Las Vegas on Friday night. The Golden Knights struck twice in the 1st period and Teuvo Teravainen got the Canes on the board with his 11th goal this season near the midway point of the 2nd period. The Knights scored once more 12;09 into the 3rd, but Brock McGinn scored scored 16 seconds later and Sebastian Aho added one more to tie the game at three on the power play with just over three minutes remaining in the game.
Aho was called for hooking at 17:26 and Alex Tuch scored only six seconds later to give Vegas a 4-3 advantage that they would not surrender as the Hurricanes dropped their lone game with that late goal by Vegas.
The Flyers moved ahead of the Hurricanes with three points last week. Carolina plays Vancouver in Raleigh this afternoon before heading through the Midwest into next week starting in St. Louis on Tuesday before finishing up next week in Arizona on Thursday and a rematch in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The Rangers return to action from their ten day absence with a home-and-home series against Detroit starting at Madison Square Garden last Friday night. The game was scoreless for nearly half the game until Pavel Buchnevich scored 9:23 into the 2nd period that started an avalanche of goals for the Rangers as Chris Kreider and Artemi Panarin also scored in the 2nd period. Mika Zibanejad added one more five minutes into the 3rd on the power play to give the Rangers a 4-0 lead.
The Red Wings would finally get their first goal less than a minute after the Zibanejad goal and add another with nine minutes remaining, but rookie goalie Igor Shesterkin stopped 23/25 shots he faced to win his third NHL game in four opportunities as the Rangers held on for the 4-2 victory.
The two teams met in Detroit the following night and Henrik Lundqvist got the start for the Rangers as they juggle a three goalie rotation. That proved to be the correct call as King Hank recorded his first shutout in two years with 33 saves and Zibanejad’s power play goal 12 minutes into the 1st period was the only scoring in the game as the Rangers swept the home-and-home with Detroit.
New York begins a four game home stand this week with games against Dallas on Monday, Toronto on Wednesday and Buffalo on Friday next week before wrapping up against Los Angeles on Sunday evening.
New Jersey began the second half of a long season on a positive note last week when they returned to action on the road in Ottawa last Monday night. Damon Severson got the Devils on the board first in the 1st on the power play, but it was answered late in the period on the power play by Ottawa. Kevin Rooney put the Devils ahead with the next goal five minutes into the 2nd period and then the Devils were given a power play opportunity midway through the 3rd period that nearly cost them the game.
Ottawa scored two shorthanded goals only 35 seconds apart to give the Senators the 3-2 advantage with just over 10 minutes left in the game. Kyle Palmieri would have the response, however, with his 17th goal of the year at the 16:39 mark to even the score once again where it would remain into overtime and both goalies were perfect so the game needed a shootout to decide the victor. New Jersey scored on both of their attempts and Mackenzie Blackwood stopped both Ottawa shooters to preserve a 4-3 victory for the Devils.
The Devils returned to the Prudential Center for the first time since January 12th when they hosted the Predators on Thursday night in what turned out to be a barn burner. John Hynes also made his return to The Rock, this time as the bench boss of the Predators.
His new team got to work quickly when the Predators struck only 42 seconds into the game. Pavel Zacha would get the Devils their first goal while shorthanded nearly five minutes into the period and the Predators added one more before the 1st ended to lead 2-1 after 20 minutes. The Devils scored a pair of power play goals less than two minutes apart at the midway point in the game to go ahead 3-2. Nick Bonino and Jesper Bratt would trade goals for both teams and the Devils went into the 3rd with a 4-3 advantage. That advantage didn’t last long, however, as the Predators scored only 33 seconds into the 3rd to tie the game at four. John Hayden scored his second goal of the year 6:37 into the 3rd to give the Devils the lead once more, but the Predators would again tie the score at five on the power play ten minutes into the 3rd period where the game remained until overtime.
Neither team would score and the Devils headed to their second straight shootout. This time the Devils allowed the first two shooters to score and Pekka Rinne turned aside two New Jersey attempts and the Predators came back multiple times and come away with the 6-5 shootout victory in New Jersey.
The Devils closed out last week and opened the month of February again at home against Dallas on Saturday. Kevin Rooney scored for the second consecutive game with his third goal of the year, shorthanded, which was the only scoring of the 1st period. The Stars tied it 18:42 into the 2nd when they finally got a puck past Devils goalie Louis Domingue and the game was tied at one heading into the final frame.
Joel Kiviranta scored his first career NHL goal for the Stars five minutes into the 3rd to give the Stars the lead, but Nico Hischier scored his 13th goal of the season 11:53 into the 3rd to tie the game where it would stay as the Devils played in their third consecutive game that required extra time to decide the winner. Joe Pavelski came up with that deciding goal 1:39 into the overtime and the Stars went home with the 3-2 win.
New Jersey wraps up their home stand on Tuesday against Montreal before a short road trip to Philadelphia on Thursday night. The Devils then return to Newark to begin another home stand against Los Angeles on Saturday night.
32-14-5; 69 pts; 172 Goals For (8th in the NHL; 7th last week); 139 Goals Against (6th; 7th)
1-0 record last week
PIT: 4 OT
Sidney Crosby’s OT goal sends Pittsburgh to victory
Sunday, February 2 - @ WSH, 12:30 p.m. ET
Thursday, February 6 - @ TBL, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 - @ FLA, 7 p.m.
- 11/14/19, C Nick Bjugstad - IR; Core muscle surgery
- 11/29/19, D Brian Dumoulin - IR; Lacerated ankle tendons
- 12/29/19, LW Jake Guentzel - IR; Shoulder surgery
- 1/18/20, LW Dominik Kahun - Day-to-day; Concussion
35-12-5, 75 pts; 190 GF (1st; 3rd); 154 GA (11th)
2-1 record last week
Washington Wins in Captain’s Absence
Sloppy Game Costs Caps in 5-4 Loss
Caps Captain Conquers Canada’s Capital City
Sunday, February 2 - vs PIT, 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 4 - vs LAK, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 - vs PHI, 7 p.m.
29-15-6, 64 pts; 146 GF (T-22nd; 22nd); 136 GA (T-3rd)
0-0-1 record last week
VAN: 4 OT
Quinn Hughes stars after Isles’ late equalizer
Tuesday, February 4 - vs DAL, 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 6 - vs LAK, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 - @ TBL, 7 p.m.
- 12/20/19 - RW, Cal Clutterbuck - IR; Wrist
- 1/1/20 - D Adam Pelech - IR; Achilles
27-16-9, 63 pts; 139 GF (25th; 23rd); 132 GA (2nd)
0-0-2 record last week
BUF: 2 OT
Blue Jackets fall, but points-streak continues
Sunday, February 2 - @ MTL, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 4 - vs FLA, 7 p.m.
Friday, February 7 - vs DET, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 - vs COL, 7 p.m.
- 9/24/19, C Brandon Dubinsky - IR; Wrist
- 12/13/19, D Ryan Murray - IR; Upper-body injury
- 12/13/19, RW Josh Anderson - IR; Shoulder
- 12/28/19, G Joonas Korpisalo - Day-to-day; Torn meniscus
- 12/31/19, C Alexandre Texier - IR; Lumbar stress fracture
- 1/2/20, D Dean Kukan - IR; Torn meniscus
28-17-7, 63 pts; 167 GF (13th; T-11th); 157 GA (T-14th; 13th)
1-0-1 record last week
PIT: 4 OT
Flyers lose to Penguins 4-3 in overtime after a costly turnover
Flyers drop an avalanche of goals on Colorado in big win
Monday, February 3 - @ DET, 7:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 6 - vs NJD, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 - @ WSH, 7 p.m.
- 9/12/19, C Nolan Patrick - IR; Migraine disorder
- 11/6/19, D Samuel Morin - IR; Torn right ACL
- 12/10/19, LW Oscar Lindblom - IR; Illness
- 1/7/20, D Shayne Gostisbehere - Day-to-day; Knee
- 1/13/20, G Carter Hart - Day-to-day; Strained abdominal
29-19-3, 61 pts; 162 GF (16th; 10th); 136 GA (T-3rd)
0-1 record last week
Hurricanes Fall Flat in Loss to Golden Knights
Sunday, February 2 - vs VAN, 2 p.m.
Tuesday, February 4 - @ STL, 8 p.m.
Thursday, February 6 - @ ARI, 9 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 - @ VGK, 10 p.m.
- 1/15/20, D Dougie Hamilton - IR; Fractured fibula
25-21-4, 54 pts; 163 GF (15th; T-11th); 161 GA (T-14th; 21st)
2-0 record last week
Rangers Return From Break with 4-2 Win Over Detroit
Henrik Lundqvist Shuts Out Detroit in Return to Crease
Monday, February 3 - vs DAL, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, February 5 - vs TOR, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, February 7 - vs BUF, 7 p.m.
- 1/31/20, LW Chris Kreider - Day-to-day; Upper-body injury
18-24-9, 45 pts; 137 GF (26th; 27th); 185 GA (30th)
1-0-2 record last week
NJD: 4 SO
Devils Trade Two Shorthanded Goals for Two Shootout Goals to Drag Out the Win in Ottawa
NSH: 6 SO
Devils Second Period Surge Insufficient in 6-5 Shootout Loss to Hynes’ Predators
DAL: 3 OT
Same Old Story as New Jersey Devils Fall in OT to Dallas, 2-3
Tuesday, February 4 - vs MTL, 7 p.m.
Thursday, February 6 - @ PHI, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 8 - vs LAK, 7 p.m.
- 9/30/19, D Brian Strait - IR; Concussion
- 1/8/20, LW Ben Street - IR; Upper-body injury
Which Metropolitan game is the most intriguing?
This poll is closed
2.2.20 - PIT @ WSH, 12:30 p.m. ET
2.5.20 - TOR @ NYR, 7:30 p.m.
2.6.20 - PIT @ TBL, 7 p.m.
2.6.20 - NJD @ PHI, 7 p.m.
2.7.20 - BUF @ NYR, 7 p.m.
2.8.20 - PHI @ WSH, 7 p.m.
2.8.20 - NYI @ TBL, 7 p.m.
2.8.20 - COL @ CBJ, 7 p.m.