Boy was yesterday an up-and-down night for the Atlantic Division. The Kovalchuk-less New Jersey Devils got torn apart by the Sabres. The Penguins got shut out by Jaroslav Halak and the St. Louis Blues in overtime. The Islanders lost a close game in which John Tavares scored his first hat trick. However, the Rangers pulled off a win in Beantown and the Flyers burned the hot Maple Leafs in Philly.
New Jersey Devils
Favorites to go far in the offseason, the Devils are now 2-5-1 and last in the Eastern Conference after losing to the Buffalo Sabres, 6-1 today. Who would have thought that the Devils would be in the cellar while the Maple Leafs were on top? The Devils are still missing a few players and to make things worse, Ilya Kovalchuk was benched by Devils coach John Maclean to send a message to the wealthy superstar.
New York Islanders
Although the Islanders lost, it was a night to remember for John Tavares in Florida. Last year's first overall pick in the draft scored his first hat trick. Not too shabby. Also Rick DiPietro's three-game winning streak was broken tonight. Both teams played a solid game. However, Radek Dvorak put in a late goal to seal the deal for the Florida Panthers.
New York Rangers
The Rangers got lucky. Although some might call Artem Anisimov's goal a fluke, it looked to me as if the young Russian has been working on his hand-eye coordination. Alexander Frolov's goal was a godsend as it gave the Rangers a very quick 2-0 lead. Soon a Zdeno Chara-bomb was set off, making it 2-1. Seconds into the third period, Marc Staal scores the game-winning goal on a breakaway as he makes his way out of the penalty box.
Mike Richards finally scored his first goal of the season, got two helpers and was named the first star of the game. The Flyers out-shot the hot Maple Leafs, 40-15. The Leafs are now on a two-game losing streak thanks to the Rangers and Flyers.
The Penguins played a great game in St. Louis today. Too bad none of that good play translated into a goal or two. Both sides played solid two-way hockey, which led to a 0-0 game going into overtime. Erik Johnson scored the game-winning goal 50 seconds into OT, helping hot goaltender Jaroslav Halak get the shutout.
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