Hey, remember when MAF was going to lose his job to Brent Johnson(notes) and everyone was kvetching about his lackluster play? He made 30 saves to shut out the Buffalo Sabres, 1-0, and has backstopped the Penguins to a 6-0-1 streak. Pascal Dupuis(notes) had the lone goal.
The Blues put two pucks behind Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne(notes), and Andy McDonald had them both. He scored nine seconds into the game with a wrister, missing the team record by one second. In the fifth round of the overtime shootout, McDonald scored on a backhander to give the Blues a key Central Division win, 2-1.
No. 3 Star: Jakub Voracek, Columbus Blue Jackets
While the fans back home were witnessing the debut of the team's new third jersey, the Blue Jackets kept rolling on Long Island. Kris Russell's(notes) strong move to the net set up a rebound goal for Voracek 2:31 into overtime, giving Columbus its fifth straight win, 4-3. R.J. Umberger's(notes) second-period goal tied the game after the Islanders rallied with two goals to take the lead. Mathieu Garon(notes) made 21 saves in the win.
Honorable mention: Brooks Laich(notes) scored a power-play goal just under four minutes after Eric Staal's(notes) power-play tally had tied the game for the Carolina Hurricanes; Laich and the Washington Capitals snapped a three-game losing streak with the 3-2 win, as Alex Ovechkin(notes) had three assists and Nicklas Backstrom(notes) had 2 goals. Semyon Varlamov(notes) got the victory with 30 saves. ... The Atlanta Thrashers received goals from five different players, including two former Blackhawks in Andrew Ladd(notes) and Dustin Byfuglien(notes), in a 5-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings. Ondrej Pavelec(notes) made 32 saves. ... Andrei Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist while Carey Price(notes) made 24 stops in the Montreal Canadiens' 4-1 home win over local boy Jonathan Bernier(notes) and the Los Angeles Kings. Lars Eller(notes) scored his first goal as a Hab; Alec Martinez(notes) scored his first in the NHL for the Kings. ... Brenden Morrow's(notes) third-period goal, assisted by Mike Ribeiro(notes), was the difference in the Dallas Stars' 2-1 win at the Ottawa Senators, breaking a 4-game road losing streak. Andrew Raycroft(notes) made 18 saves in the win. ... We mocked him for his shootout FAIL; so, in fairness, here's Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) not failing on the power play, scoring the game-winner for the New Jersey Devils in their 2-1 victory over the Calgary Flames.
Johan Hedberg(notes) made 25 saves, and three more in the shootout, to spoil Brent Sutter's return to Newark for the first time since leaving the Devils for Calgary. ... Ryan Malone(notes) had two goals, both on the power play, and Steven Stamkos(notes) scored goal No. 21 in a three-point night as the Tampa Bay Lightning survived a late New York Rangers' rally for the 5-3 win. ... Mark Recchi(notes) became the 13th player to reach 1,500 career points with two third-period goals, as the Boston Bruins defeated the Florida Panthers, 3-1. ... The Philadelphia Flyers rolled to a 6-1 win over the Minnesota Wild, with six different goal scorers. Danny Briere(notes) and Jeff Carter(notes) both scored their 11th of the season, and Andreas Nodl(notes) had a shorthanded goal. Patrick O'Sullivan(notes) had the lone goal for the Wild in his debut. ... Energized by a 30-save effort from Antti Niemi(notes) against his former team, the San Jose Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-2. Patrick Marleau(notes) had two third-period goals to ice it. ... Finally, the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Colorado Avalanche, 4-2, with this Ryan Kesler(notes) goal serving as the game-winner. At first, the goal was waved off because the refs felt Jeff Tambellini(notes) hit it with a high stick. The War Room saw it as Tambellini missing the puck and hitting goalie Peter Budaj(notes) in the mask. Which made Budaj wonder why there wasn't a penalty called on Tambellini for high-sticking or interference. Take a look:
Said Budaj on Kesler's 100th NHL goal: "It's just a tough way to get scored on. ... The puck went straight up and I was turning. Somebody hit me in the face or the back of the head."
Did you know? A slap shot by
Claude Giroux(notes) Kimmo Timonen(notes) shattered a pane of glass along the side boards in the Minnesota end with 1:57 left in the first period. The teams went to their dressing rooms, and the remaining time was played before the second period. (AP)
Dishonorable mention: Jimmy Howard(notes) was pulled by Mike Babcock in the second period after giving up four goals for Detroit, as a wake-up call for the Wings. ... The Senators have lost four of five. ... Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist(notes) continues to struggle, giving up five goals on 34 shots to Tampa. ... Craig Anderson(notes) injured his groin against the Canucks, and was replaced by Budaj. ... John Madden(notes), Antti Miettinen(notes) and Greg Zanon(notes) were minus-3 for the Wild. ... Trevor Gillies(notes) of the Islanders was given an instigator and a game misconduct for a scrap against the Jared Boll(notes). ... Finally, the Islanders have now lost 14 games in a row. The NHL record is 17 straight losses, shared by the Capitals in 1974-75 and the Sharks in 1992-93. Which means the record-tying game would be the same night we're having an Islanders/Rangers viewing party in New York.