There were 11 games on the National Hockey League slate on Tuesday, and there was a little bit of something for everyone in terms of fantasy production. Of course, we had our goal scorers, with one guy notching a hat trick for the first time. We had a first-time scorer in the NHL, albeit in a blowout loss, but it still looks good on the stat sheet. And we also had two goaltenders post shutouts, and two skaters managed game-winning tallies in overtime, the very best kind of winner. Let's get started!
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Buffalo Sabres 4, Vegas Golden Knights 2
The Golden Knights visiting Western New York, and they were looking to kick off their road trip on a high note. Tomas Nosek opened the scoring at 1:55 of the second period to give the visitors a 1-0 lead, but that's the only lead VGK would enjoy.
Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart notched power-play goals to take a lead into the third period, before Reilly Smith leveled things with his 19th of the season, also on the man advantage. However, Jack Eichel notched the game-winning tally, and Curtis Lazar added an empty-net goal for good measure to send Vegas on its way with a loss.
Toronto Maple Leafs 7, New Jersey Devils 4
The upset-minded Devils had slayed the Washington Capitals on the road, and the Tampa Bay Lightning at home, so they were looking for a third straight win as a heavy underdog in Toronto. Louis Domingue made his third straight start, but this one didn't last long, or go nearly as well.
Domingue was peppered by John Tavares, Frederik Gauthier and Zach Hyman (power play) in the first period, setting the tone for the evening. William Nylander scored early in the second to make it 4-0 before the Devils were able to break through from Blake Coleman. Auston Matthews notched a power-play goal, and it was an early shower for Domingue, as Cory Schneider was summoned.
Matthews greeted Schneider with a goal to kick off the third before the Devils made things a little interesting. Coleman banged home his second and third of the night, giving him his first-career hat trick. P.K. Subban scored on the power play, and all of a sudden it was a two-goal game with two to play. Matthews erased all doubt with a hat trick of his own, and the Leafs won by three goals.
Frederik Andersen, who was pulled last time out in Florida on Sunday, was sharper than the box score might indicate. He had a 6-1 lead, so perhaps he wasn't as crisp down the stretch since he had such a huge cushion.
Tavares ended the night with three points, and William Nylander was able to reach the 20-goal mark, which makes the contentious contract situation last season look a little more worth it.
Tampa Bay Lightning 4, Los Angeles Kings 3 (SO)
Jeff Carter and Kyle Clifford got the visitors off to a quick start, striking for two goals against defending Vezina Trophy winner and red-hot backstop Andrei Vasilevskiy. However, Alex Killorn and Steven Stamkos beat Jonathan Quick within 79 seconds of each other to reel the Kings back in and level the game 2-2 before heading to the room.
There were no goals in the second before Dustin Brown quieted the Tampa crowd with a power-play goal. However, Nikita Kucherov sent the place into a frenzy with a game-tying goal late in the third to force overtime. Eventually the game was decided in a shootout, with Nikolai Prokhorkin striking for the visitors, and Brayden Point and Stamkos beating Quick for the win.
Vasilevskiy has now won nine straight outings, moving to 23-9-2 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .916 save percentage. He hasn't lost since an overtime loss against Dallas on Dec. 19, and he hasn't lost in regulation since mid-December, a span of 11 straight starts.
New York Islanders 8, Detroit Red Wings 2
The Islanders were all over Jimmy Howard, and it's uncertain how long the Red Wings can afford to keep him on the NHL roster. He is just awful these days. Howard allowed three goals on seven shots and head coach Jeff Blashill yanked him before the eight-minute mark in favor of Calvin Pickard. Howard is now an awful 2-16-1 with a 4.26 GAA and .876 save percentage, and the 35-year-old veteran might be in the final days of his NHL career.
After Jordan Eberle, Josh Bailey and Brock Nelson chased Howard, Filip Hronek got one back for the visitors before Anders Lee greeted Pickard with a goal to restore the three-goal lead. The Isles were far from done.
Nelson bagged another, and Noah Dobson got in on the goal party, to make it 6-1 after 40 minutes. Anthony Beauvillier impressed actress Anna Kendrick with a screamer into the net at 5:12 of the third period, while Leo Komarov potted a goal midway through the third to make it 8-1. Komarov also had an assist for his first multi-point game since Nov. 15, 2018.
Pittsburgh Penguins 7, Minnesota Wild 3
The Penguins were yet another team to score a touchdown on Tuesday. The Pens were pumped from the jump, as Sidney Crosby was back in action for the first time in over two months after being sidelined due to a core muscle surgery. Perhaps the only one not happy to see Crosby back was Sam Lafferty, who was a healthy scratch.
Sid the Kid made up for lost time, too, bagging a goal with four points. Evgeni Malkin was happy to have his partner back on the power play, too, as he scored two goals on the man advantage while setting up another.
Tristan Jarry was thankful for the support, moving to 16-6-1 with a 2.12 GAA and .930 save percentage in 21 starts and 23 appearances. Devan Dubnyk wasn't as fortunate, as he was bombed for seven goals on just 29 shots, slipping to 8-12-1 with a 3.35 GAA and .892 save percentage.
In a losing note, Zach Parise lit the lamp twice, which was nice since he had no goals in the past 10 contests.
Columbus Blue Jackets 3, Boston Bruins 0
Elvis has left the building. And he is leaving with a second straight shutout. Elvis Merzlikins picked up his first NHL shutout on Saturday, and he followed it up with a 34-save gem against the B's. He has really stepped up for the injured Joonas Korpisalo, who might have a tough time securing the No. 1 gig again if things continue on this way.
Alexander Wennberg opened the scoring with a dipsy-doo which confused Jaroslav Halak, opening the scoring. Halak was thrust into action early in the first period when Tuukka Rask suffered a concussion after an inadvertent elbow from Emil Bemstrom in a first-period collision in the crease. The B's had their thoughts on it, and made Bemstrom a marked man all night. He'll need the cold pool.
Chicago Blackhawks 3, Ottawa Senators 2 (OT)
Robin Lehner was back in his original stomping grounds, and he made 20 saves on 22 shots for the overtime win. Jonathan Toews won it in OT on his first shot on goal of the game, helping Lehner avoid the shootout, which he has publicly stated he dislikes very much.
Dominik Kubalik scored in his fifth consecutive game, and he now has seven goals and 10 points across his current six-point point streak. Patrick Kane was also in the multi-point club with two helpers.
Winnipeg Jets 4, Vancouver Canucks 0
Connor Hellebuyck stood on his head Tuesday, turning back all 41 shots he faced to pick up his 18th career shutout. In doing so he moves to the top of the franchise's all-time list in the category. Congrats to the Michigander doing big things north of the border.
All of the fantasy production was obviously on the home side. Kyle Connor was the big winner with his two goals and three points, while Patrik Laine added a pair of assists. Connor, Laine, Neal Pionk and Mark Scheifele each ended up with a plus-2, as did Anthony Bitetto, although the latter went scoreless.
Dallas Stars 3, Colorado Avalanche 2 (OT)
The Stars-Avalanche game was exciting, and perhaps I had more riding on it than just fantasy purposes. Dallas fell behind by a 2-0 score early, but scratched back. They led the NHL in wins while trailing after two periods, a testament to their stick-to-it-iveness.
Nikita Zadorov and Gabriel Landeskog made it 2-0 heading to the room after 20, and it looked like Ben Bishop didn't have it. But he was a brick wall the rest of the way, helped out by some clinks from the goalie's best friend, the pipes.
Denis Gurianov scored a power-play goal, but was benched for most of the third period and overtime, as head coach Rick Bowness said he wasn't having a great game. Ouch. Thankfully Bowness isn't in attendance at any of my C league games on Thursday or Saturday in North Carolina.
Edmonton Oilers 4, Nashville Predators 2
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins beat Pekka Rinne midway through the first period to open the scoring, but Fiip Forberg and Colin Blackwell answered for the Preds. It was Blackwell's second NHL goal, each happening in the past three outings. Leon Draisaitl struck on the power play very late in the first, drawing the Oil even 2-2.
That was all for the Nashville offense, and really, the Edmonton offense, too. Draisaitl scored again on the power play late in the third, but that was an empty-net goal. Only Josh Archibald was able to net an even-strength goal in the final 40 minutes of the game. It was enough for Mike Smith, who made 30 saves in the victory.
Connor McDavid was up to his usual tricks, posting three assists.
Arizona Coyotes 6, San Jose Sharks 3
Phil Kessel opened the scoring with his 10th goal of the season, and he liked it so much he blasted one in on the power play to open the second, making it 2-0. The Sharks fought back with goals from Kevin Labanc and Timo Meier, but Taylor Hall made his presence felt with the go-ahead goal, and eventual game-winning tally late in the second.
While Kessel and Hall landed on their 11th goals of the season, not many expect Lawson Crouse to also be at that number. He had a goal and an assist, giving him 11 markers on the season, as he added insurance. It was needed, too, as Evander Kane scored on the power play to make it interesting late in the third. However, Conor Garland, and Hall again, added empty-net goals to double up the Sharks.