A mediocre Friday night around the league featured a Lightning-sized blowout, tight defensive battles and a goalie without a home.
Philadelphia Flyers 2, Washington Capitals 3 - You're in trouble when the Capitals beat you without Ovechkin scoring.
Ottawa Senators 0, Carolina Hurricanes 1 - Two overachieving goalies combined to stop 67 shots as Carolina's Dan Ellis bested Ottawa's Craig Anderson.
Winnipeg Jets 3, Tampa Bay Lightning 8 - Eight different Tampa Bay skaters scored in a game that wasn't even as close as the score suggests, and that's saying something. The Lightning took advantage of Jets miscues and scored three-straight power-play goals in the first period, jumping all over Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec early. Pavelec has had a rough go lately, allowing 14 goals in his last three starts (including five in this game). Meanwhile, Tampa Bay is back in championship-contention form and should be feared.
St. Louis Blues 3, Detroit Red Wings 5 - Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg scored a hat trick in what turned out to be a solid offensive performance against St. Louis. The Red Wings took advantage of their chances, which included breakaways and a 5-on-3 power play, and were able to overcome a 3-2 deficit in the third period. The Red Wings proved they're still capable of beating a team that makes mistakes down the stretch, which comes as a sigh of relief to fans who thought they were going to have a rough time beating top-tier clubs this season.
Phoenix Coyotes 3, Dallas Stars 4 (S/O) - Two evenly matched teams played an average, competitive game. Coyotes goalie Mike Smith made his fist start since Jan. 23 and didn't look too good, but his teammate Martin Hanzal helped him out by scoring two goals (2, 3). The second period in this game was a rough one and had a fight, so it'll be interesting to see if any bad blood carries over when they face off again tonight in Phoenix.
Chicago Blackhawks 1, Vancouver Canucks 2 (S/O) - Vancouver trade-bait Roberto Luongo played well once again and is now considered by many to be the No. 1 Canucks goalie. I think that this game served more as measuring point to establish his trade value and he'll be gone at a high price before long, but who knows.
Minnesota Wild 1, Anaheim Ducks 3 - Teemu Selanne assisted on all three Anaheim goals as the Ducks won with their typical grind-it-out style. The Ducks tactically shut down Minnesota's top line of Parise, Koivu and Heatley, holding the threesome without a shot through 55 minutes of play. Anaheim's defensive tandem of Francois Beauchemin and Sheldon Souray were mostly responsible for that shutdown, as they were able to limit the duration of each Minnesota attack. In turn, the Wild were unable to gain an offensive rhythm since they were always to having to regain the offensive zone after a Ducks clear.
New Jersey Devils at Pittsburgh Penguins - (10 AM PT) - (NHL Network) - Pittsburgh is trying to win two games in a row for just the second time this season, while the Devils are trying to get back on track following an eyeopening OT loss against the Islanders.
Buffalo Sabres at Montreal Canadiens - (11 AM PT) - The hit-or-miss Sabres just laid a shellacking on Boston, and the Canadiens still haven't really showed us anything. We'll learn absolutely nothing about either team in this one.
Edmonton Oilers at Colorado Avalanche - (Noon PT) - The Avalanche scored a flurry of goals Thursday night thanks to Calgary miscues. While the Oilers are young and vulnerable to mistakes, the Avalanche rely on young scoring, too, and don't have enough of it to match up with Edmonton. As a team, Edmonton is just a better Colorado with more potential.
Boston Bruins at Toronto Maple Leafs - (4 PT) - We established this week that Toronto is now a legitimate contender for a playoff spot. Boston is a legitimate contender for a Stanley Cup championship.
Carolina Hurricanes at Philadelphia Flyers - (4 PT) - One team has a defense and lacks consistent scoring, the other has no defense but can score some goals. It's a toss up.
New York Rangers at Tampa Bay Lightning - (4 PT) - A focused Henrik Lundqvist could help the Rangers stop Tampa's ferocious attack, but even then I haven't seen enough out of Rick Nash and Brad Richards this year to think they could go goal-for-goal with the Lightning.
Detroit Red Wings at Columbus Blue Jackets - (4 PT) - It'd be a huge letdown for Detroit to lose this game right after a big win over St. Louis.
Dallas Stars at Phoenix Coyotes - (5 PT) - Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen let in some soft goals on Friday night, so I wouldn't be surprised if Dallas came out and took it to Phoenix this time around. Both teams could take their physicality up another notch if they aren't too gassed from playing back-to-back games.
Chicago Blackhawks at Calgary Flames - ( 7 PT) - Chicago is just a better team.
Los Angeles Kings at Anaheim Ducks - (7 PT) - Pick 'em.
Nashville Predators at San Jose Sharks - (7:30 PT) - Sharks.