Nugent-Hopkins added more fuel to the CBC's burning fire for him, putting up 5 assists in the Hockey Night in Canada late game, a 9-2 (!!!) thumping of the Chicago Blackhawks. He would have had 6 assists too, tying Gary Suter's official rookie record, but the scorekeeper took one away. Presumably, the scorekeeper was fired.
No. 2 Star: Mikko Koivu, Minnesota Wild
Koivu scored three times in the Wild's 3-2 shootout victory over the St. Louis Blues -- once shorthanded, once on the powerplay to tie the game late, and once in the shootout. Suffice it to say, he wanted it more than anyone, and I'm just talking about the puck on his shorthanded goal:
With the win, the Wild are now 1st overall in the NHL. Do I have crow to eat? No. They still have to play 60 more games. But if you need me, I'll be at AllRecipes.com.
No. 3 Star: Taylor Hall, Edmonton Oilers
Not to be outdone by Nugent-Hopkins (although he sort of was), Hall picked up his second-career hat trick, scoring once in all 3 periods of the Oilers' rout.
Honourable mention: Bryan Little scored twice early, and Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and an assist as the Jets won their third straight, 6-4, over the Philadelphia Flyers. Scott Hartnell had two goals an an assist and Matt Read scored twice in the 3rd... Jonas Gustavsson made 40 saves for his team-leading fifth win (seriously), and his teammates did the rest as the Toronto Maple Leafs embarrassed the Washington Capitals in a 7-1 shellacking... Paul Bissonnette was the unlikely game-winning goal scorer and Mike Smith made a whopping 43 saves as the Coyotes knocked off the Sabres, 4-2... Pavel Datsyuk scored twice as the Detroit Red Wings topped the Los Angeles Kings, 4-1. It would have been a shutout, too, if Mike Richards didn't skate so damn hard:
Chris Kelly notched 2 goals and an assist, Gregory Campbell went 12-for-14 in the faceoff circle and Tim Thomas picked up the shutout in the Boston Bruins' 6-0 rout of the New York Islanders... Ryan Carter and David Clarkson each put up a goal and an assist as the New Jersey Devils topped the Tampa Bay Lightning, 4-2... Stephen Weiss had two assists and the game-winner late in the third to lift the Florida Panthers over the Pittsburgh Penguins, 3-2... Joffrey Lupul had a goal versus the Capitals and three assists, one of which came on this pretty Phil Kessel goal:
David Backes, Alex Steen, and T.J. Oshie combined for both St. Louis goals in the loss to the Wild... Brian Gionta scored twice and Carey Price made 17 saves for his second consecutive shutout in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-0 win over the NY Rangers... Jeff Carter scored his first goal in Columbus and James Wisniewski did the same in overtime as the Columbus Blue Jackets edged the Nashville Predators, 4-3. The BJs are riding a two-game point streak, their longest of the season... Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton had two assists apiece as the Sharks beat up on the Dallas Stars, 4-1...
Did you know? Leafs' GM Brian Burke has joined Twitter (@LeafsBB20). Not sure why he needed his own account when it seemed fairly obvious he was sharing one with Damian Cox, but there you go. Should be fun. Of course, once he realizes that he can't shoehorn words like "pugnacity", "truculence" and "obstreperousness" into a tweet like he can a press conference, I'm sure he'll let Rick Dudley and Dave Nonis manage this as well.
Dishonourable mention: The Flyers won only 24 of 71 faceoffs in Winnipeg... Alex Ovechkin took 8 shots, scored on none of them, and finished a minus-3 in 19:29 of action versus Toronto... the Chicago Blackhawks got scored on nine times...
- Edmonton Oilers
- Chicago Blackhawks
- Mikko Koivu