All good things must come to an end.
That end just happened to come on Monday for both the undefeated Dallas Stars and Toronto Maple Leafs. The one thing that could be said of both early season powerhouses is they went down fighting. Toronto took the play to overtime thanks to their bread and butter– a powerplay goal by Phil Kessel with helpers from Dion Phaneuf and Tomas Kaberle. Dallas scored two goals in the third period but eventually fell to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-4.
In Toronto, Isles head coach Scott Gordon played the matchups and threw Dwayne Roloson between the pipes. His choice seemed to be the right decision as Roli turned aside 29 of 30. John Tavares seems right back in the groove as he scored the game winner in overtime and assisted on Matt Moulson’s tally to originally take the lead.
Tampa Bay’s high octane offense proved too much for Kari Lehtonen and the Stars. Victor Hedman was named first star of the game thanks to his two helpers although Steven Stamkos and Dominic Moore both had multi-point contributions. Dallas juggled their lines and finished with Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro each having good nights, even though they only forced 19 shots on goal.
Brent Johnson led the Pittsburgh Penguins to his fourth win in a rematch of their first round victory over the Ottawa Senators. The Pens scored at a higher clip thanks to secondary players like Mark Letestu and Mike Comrie chipping in and Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby producing like they should. Both of the franchise centers finished with a goal and an assist. Their offense is really clicking so try to ride the stream accordingly, meaning grab Letestu or trade for Paul Martin, Chris Kunitz or Alex Goligoski.
At Madison Square Garden, the New York Rangers fell to the Colorado Avalanche. Struggling with key injuries to their captain Chris Drury and leading scorers Vinny Prospal and Marian Gaborik, the team only put across a goal from now primary scorer Alexander Frolov. Chris Stewart put across his fourth and fifth of the year, which was more than enough to beat Henrik Lundqvist and the Rags.
Everyone wants a piece at the defending Stanley Cup Champions. Last night was no exception as the St. Louis Blues took it to their longtime rivals. David Perron got his team the lead by scoring the first two goals of the night until Marian Hossa countered with two of his own. Patrick Sharp scored the game winner, scoring an unbelievable three game-winning-goals in a row; unreal if you own him and still count that category.
Despite the small schedule this night provided some exciting matchups. Both of the frontrunners for the President’s Trophy fell back to earth while strong teams showed off their potential. Could be an interesting trend moving forward and more interesting to see how the Leafs and Stars bounce back from their first losses.