NHL Scores: Islanders win 7th straight, Auston Matthews scores OT beauty, and more
The East Division’s top four teams all won last night. When it comes to the Beasts of the East, the Islanders are the top dogs at the moment. They have now won seven in a row and own sole possession of first place by two points.
NHL Scores: Islanders win again, Capitals, Penguins, Bruins keep pace
Barry Trotz has his team humming and firing on all cylinders. What makes the Islanders so tough is they play as a unit of five and care more about defense than scoring a goal. This now has them on a 10 game points streak and winners of their last seven.
As usual, the Islanders (17-6-4) did not have a single offensive star as they beat the Devils (8-12-3) 5-3 with every goal coming off a different player’s stick. Unfortunately they may have lost captain Anders Lee to a lower body injury.
“He got twisted up there. He’s being evaluated and we’ll see where he is in the morning,” Trotz said. “Very few times Anders Lee struggles to get up from any kind of hit or anything. He’s a tough, tough man and everybody on our bench felt for him there.”
The Capitals (16-6-4) beat a struggling Flyers (13-8-3) team by a 5-3 score to stay two points back of the Isles. Alex Ovechkin scored his 9th of the season to get things going as the Flyers are now three points out of a playoff spot. Philadelphia has lost five out of its last six games.
The Bruins (14-6-4) pounded the lifeless Rangers (10-12-3) by a 4-0 score on the strength of a Jaro Halak 27 save performance. With Igor Shesterkin still out with injury the Blueshirts have a goaltending problem.
Finally to cap all the East action the Penguins (16-9-1) remain hot and top the Sabres (6-15-4) 5-2. Evgeni Malkin notched his 7th of the year and Tristan Jarry picked up the victory. Pittsburgh has won four in a row.
NHL Scores: Auston Matthews shakes off wrist issues for OT beauty
Auston Matthews showed off his silky mitts and launched a backhand beauty over the glove of a mystified Connor Helleybuyck. The goal was his 21st of the season and it gave the Maple Leafs (19-7-2) a 4-3 OT win over the Jets (16-8-2).
“That’s a difficult goal for a lot of people but it’s not difficult for Auston. I’ve seen him pull it off a lot of times, so I think nobody’s really surprised by it,” Mitch Marner said of the Matthews winner. Marner scored his 11th of the year in this one.
The only other North Division game saw the Flames (12-12-3) pick up a win for new head coach Darryl Sutter in his debut. They beat the Canadiens (12-7-7) 2-1 with Jacob Markstrom picking up the win on 17 saves.
NHL Scores: Red Wings shock Lightning, Panthers and Hurricanes win
The Central Division race just tightened as the Red Wings (8-16-4) pulled out a 6-4 win over the Lightning (18-5-2). For Tampa the loss cuts their first place lead to just one point as both Carolina and Florida picked up wins last night.
The Panthers (17-5-4) were down 4-1 with just over 15 minutes left in the third period before storming the Blue Jackets (10-12-6). Florida scored three times in the final period and Frank Vatrano won it for them in OT 5-4.
Of course there was some drama on the Columbus bench as Patrik Laine who scored his 9th of the year was benched late in the third by John Tortorella. “I got scored on a couple of times, but you take out the one play where the puck was bouncing a little bit and I couldn’t get it out and they end up scoring, I thought I played good,” Laine explained. “I guess I thought wrong.”
The Hurricanes (19-6-1) up an easy 5-1 win over the Predators (11-15-1). Morgan Geekie picked up his first two goals of the season in this one. He’s been mentioned as a prospect that could be moved for a veteran at the deadline.