For Phil Kessel and the Toronto Maple Leafs, losing three straight games had been disheartening. Putting the city of Toronto on their shoulders, the team failed to stay consistent after a 4-0 start. Last night, Kessel sealed the game with an unassisted tally- his seventh of the year- as the team changed their luck.
Tyler Bozak scored his first goal of the year as JS Giguere cruised to his fourth win of the year, turning aside 21 shots on goal. The Leafs looked better than their last couple of outings but faced a poor Florida Panthers team that started their backup Scott Clemmensen.
In Ottawa, the Sens knocked backup Jason LaBarbera out of the game early with three first period goals. Similarly inconsistent in this early going, the team received solid efforts from Alex Kovalev, Peter Regin and Daniel Alfredsson as they dug deep to win without top line center Jason Spezza.
Brian Elliott also won for the second time in his last three games, evening his record at 3-3-0. On the other hand, the Phoenix Coyotes only received contributions from defensemen Sami Lepisto and Keith Yandle as they fell 5-2 and lost their third straight game.
Unlike the two aforementioned teams, the Buffalo Sabres continue to suffer. Looking oddly human, Ryan Miller let in five goals on 33 shots and fell to a even worse 3-5-1. Those of you who took him in the first round might be wondering what to do with your investment. The simple solution would be to continue to live or die by that elite player hoping he comes around. His talent level hasn’t slipped, his team just needs to find the same consistency they had last year.
Their opponent felt no fatigue after losing to the Columbus Blue Jackets the night before. Showing some of the success that got them to the Stanley Cup last season, the Philadelphia Flyers exploded against the Sabres with goals from six separate players. Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux both had multi-point efforts as Sergei Bobrovsky was good enough to obtain his third NHL win.
Roberto Luongo improved to 11-15 against the Avs last night with an overtime victory. The Canucks received some balanced scoring as Jeff Tambellini, who is still playing with the Sedins, got the team on the board followed by goals from Ryan Kesler, Peter Schaefer and the OT marker by Mason Raymond. On the other end of the ice, Matt Duchene, David Jones and Daniel Winnik contibuted as the Colorado Avalanche, without Craig Anderson, lost 4-3.
In a surprise turn of events the Anaheim Ducks defeated the streaking Dallas Stars 5-2, effectively knocking starting goalie Kari Lehtonen around. Bobby Ryan scored two goals as Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry and George Parros also tapped one in for the Ducks. Perhaps most impressive was the start by the rested Jonas Hiller, who turned aside 35 of 37. Without Hiller between the pipes the Ducks would probably not be in most games, but facing 35+ shots every game has to worry any fantasy owner.
Now on to the third Battle of Alberta of this young season in which we saw heroics and comebacks.
The Edmonton Oilers almost spoiled Miikka Kiprusoff’s 34th birthday as they came back from a 4-1 deficit. A surprise two goal effort from Brendan Morrison as well as goals from Curtis Glencross and Jay Bouwmeester seemed to have put the game away before Jordan Eberle scored the first even-strength goal of his career. Magnus Paajarvi and Tom Gilbert would add two more markers in the third as the Oil tied the game in dramatic fashion.
Kiprusoff would recover, preventing his adversary from taking the lead and then shutting the doors in the extra period/skills competition. A fitting end to what could have been an awful way to turn your jersey number.