Dose: Strome Lights!
The trade between Dallas and San Jose was an interesting one in which Dallas sent Brenden Dillon west while Jason Demers and a third round pick were sent to the Stars.
A few years ago the Stars made another trade which I didn’t understand when they acquired Alex Goligoski from the Penguins and gave up James Neal AND Matt Niskanen. I’ve always thought that Dillon was much the better player than Demers, who I think is a five-six defenseman at best and more likely a seventh on the depth chart while Dillon is a pretty good defensive player, especially shot blocker. Both have little fantasy value at this time as Dillon has one assist in 20 games while Demers has three.
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There were four scheduled games on Friday with the Rangers-Sabres game being postponed until February 20th due to the mountains of snowfall in Buffalo so let’s get to it.
New York Islanders 5 Pittsburgh 4 (Shootout)
Ryan Strome led the way for the Islanders with a goal and two assists as the former number one pick from the 2011 Draft is finally getting his chance in the NHL and making the most of it. He has 15 points thus far and is giving the Islanders a second scoring line that other teams must think about, taking some of the pressure off John Tavares to produce. Nikolay Kulemin with his fourth and Matt Martin, known more for his hits and penalty minutes, than offensive prowess, with his first, also scored for New York .
Patric Hornqvist had a goal and an assist for the Penguins as Evgeni Malkin helped out with two assists. Nick Spaling, Brandon Sutter and Blake Comeau, who moved up to the top line alongside Sidney Crosby with Pascal Dupuis out of action for the season with a blood clot in his lung, also scored. Crosby has been slumping of late with only a goal and an assist in his last five games.
Chad Johnson stopped 26 of 30 for the winners including two of three in the shootout while Marc-Andre Fleury made 31 saves but allowed Frans Nielsen and Kyle Okposo to beat him in the shootout to give the Islanders the win.
Comeau led both teams with eight hits while Robert Bortuzzo along with Anders Lee led in blocked shots with five. John Tavares was eight for 13 on the draw and Sidney Crosby won 12-of-21 for the Pens.
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Boston 4 Columbus 3 (Shootout)
It was shootouts only in the early games as it took seven rounds for anyone to score when Alexander Khokhlachev finally beat Sergei Bobrovsky to give the Bruins the victory.
Ryan Johansen is moving up the scoring ladder as he now has seven goals and 23 points. He was in on all three goals, finding the back of the net once and setting up Nick Foligno for his 10th and Jack Johnson for his first of the season.
Dennis Seidenberg scored the first for Boston to cut the Blue Jackets lead in half at the time in a goal from between center and the blueline which reminded me of Jacques Lemaire’s goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final in 1971 when he beat Tony Esposito from roughly the same spot on the ice. Matt Fraser, who has taken over for the injured Brad Marchand on the second line alongside Patrice Bergeron, also scored , as did Daniel Paille with his first.
Niklas Svedberg stopped 25 shots plus all seven in the shootout, while Bobrovsky kept his Blue Jackets in the game, turning aside 38 shots.
David Savard and Milan Lucic had six hits apiece to lead both teams. Lucic took a roughing penalty and a game misconduct at the end of the overtime to increase his stats in that department while still playing the whole game. Dennis Seidenberg and Jordan Leopold (in his third game as a Blue Jacket) each had four blocked shots.
Bergeron won nine of 20 faceoffs while Artem Anisimov was strong at the dot, winning 14-of-23 while Johansen won seven of 10.
New Jersey 2 Edmonton 0
Cory Schneider set a New Jersey record with his 20th consecutive start to begin the season and celebrated that with a 29 save shutout to lead the Devils to the 2-0 win.
Adam Henrique and Tuomo Ruutu were the only Devils to beat Viktor Fasth but it was enough to ensure the victory.
The Devils blocked 23 shots compared with only six by the Oilers as Stephen Gionta and Travis Zajac each had four. Andy Greene led both teams in hits with six. Zajac was outstanding in the circle winning 11-of-15 while Boyd Gordon led the Oilers with 10 wins and eight losses.
The Oilers received some bad news as Benoit Pouliot broke his foot in the second period and is out indefinitely.