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While all eyes in the sporting world may have been on Duke-UNC and Coach K’s final dance, the NHL offered up one of its more absurd slates of the season, one which included a four-goal third-period comeback, a four-combined-goal sprint over the final two minutes and an epic rematch between last year’s Stanley Cup participants. All while we continue to search for the Fountain of Youth which Marc-Andre Fleury has discovered since being traded to the Minnesota Wild.
Florida 7 New Jersey 6 (OT)
Andrew Hammond offered up one of the worst late-game performances in net this season, surrendering seven goals on 41 shots while dropping a 6-2 third-period lead. The Panthers scored the final five goals of the game – all across the third period and overtime – to send Hammond and company to the showers in very, very sad defeat.
Aleksander Barkov provided a few of the late heroics in this comeback win, scoring two goals over the final four-plus minutes of the third period to force overtime.
Gustav Forsling had the final laugh of the night, scoring the game-winner on Hammond a minute-and-forty-five seconds into overtime. That was his second goal of the evening. His first came just over seven minutes into the third period, as Florida was beginning to mount its epic comeback.
Sergei Bobrovsky should have been the proverbial media punching bag on Saturday, giving up six goals on just 25 shots, but when you’re on the right end of the comeback, it’s easier to laugh when it is all over. That Bobrovsky shut out Chicago in his last start makes this outing feel like some kind of delayed April Fool’s joke.
Yegor Sharangovich put up a hat trick which instantaneously became overshadowed by Florida’s monster comeback. Perhaps the most marginalized hat trick of the season? Sharangovich has posted 19 goals and 39 points in 62 games.
Colorado 3 Pittsburgh 2
Darcy Kuemper could probably use a bit of a breather, having now faced 40 or more shots in each of his last two starts. That he has given up three combined goals (against the Flames and Penguins) in the midst of this cruel barrage is impressive. That he earned wins in both contests, the cherry on top of the sundae.
Tristan Jarry surrendered three goals on 38 shots. Jarry was fine, if never really rising above that marginal level. At least had a chance at overtime when Mike Matheson tied up the game with under five minutes left in regulation, but fumbled that chance by allowing a Devon Toews goal just 27 seconds remaining.
Devon Toews posted just one point on the evening, but arguably the biggest one of the game, as he scored the game-winning go-ahead goal versus Jarry as time was winding down in the third period. Toews had gone 11 straight games without a goal prior to striking it clutch against Pittsburgh.
Jake Guentzel assisted on both goals for his team in the loss. He has knocked in 32 goals and 68 points in 64 games played this season. He still has a chance at setting a career-best in points, needing nine more to eclipse his 2018-19 numbers. The Penguins have 12 games remaining in the regular season.
Minnesota Wild 3 Carolina Hurricanes 1
At it once again and proving that hockey is a job just like any other and sometimes you just need a change of scenery whether your office is an office or a net, a rejuvenated Marc-Andre Fleury has now won three straight starts since landing with the Wild at the deadline, with two or fewer goals surrendered in each of those Minnesota appearances. He did not yield a goal in Saturday’s contest until Teuvo Teravainen beat him for the score past the midway point of the third period.
Frederick Anderson stopped 16-of-19 shots. While he was not an outright abomination ala Andrew Hammond on Saturday, he came up shy in dueling with Happiest Trade Deadline Mover of the Season, Marc-Andre Fleury.
Teuvo Teravainen managed the only goal of the game for Carolina while extending his point streak to seven consecutive contests.
Toronto Maple Leafs 6 Philadelphia Flyers 3
After giving up six goals to the Avalanche last time out, Carter Hart more/less turned in a carbon copy of the assignment on Saturday, with six more goals yakked up to Toronto. Hart has allowed five or more goals in four of his last nine appearances. Egads.
Jack Campbell was dinged for a pair of goals in the second period, but otherwise allowed just one goal (that coming to Ivan Provorov in the third period). Campbell had been mashed for at least four goals in each of his last five starts coming into the weekend. Baby steps such as Saturday’s are steps nonetheless.
Ivan Provorov played well in an end defeat, scoring two goals and assisting on another while taking a (very) active role in every goal scored by his team.
Auston Matthews scored his 51st goal of the 2021-22 campaign when he beat Hart for a score in the third period. The star forward has already set personal bests for both goals (51) and points (88) in a season.
Everybody on the Maple Leafs lives in the shadow Matthews, naturally, but on Saturday, it was Morgan Rielly who set a fire under his team with three points on a goal and two assists.
Boston Bruins 5 Columbus Blue Jackets 2
Elvis Merzlikins buckled late in the third period, when Erik Haula scored against him on a go-ahead goal with under four minutes remaining. That goal – which put Boston up 3-2 on the scoreboard – forced Columbus to the empty net, after which the Bruins netted two more goals to give the final score a more cushy feel than it deserved.
Brad Marchand led the Bruins with three points on a goal and two assists. He is up to 31 goals and 71 points in 57 games played this season.
Los Angeles Kings 3 Winnipeg Jets 2
While this was a low-scoring one, the Kings led the contest almost from wire-to-wire, holding an advantage on the scoreboard across 49:28 of ice time.
Cal Petersen has now given up two goals in three of his last four games. That’s how you bury a six-goal-allowed toughie against the Kraken. Against the Kraken?
Montreal Canadiens 5 (1) Tampa Bay Lightning 4 (0)
Though Florida’s huge comeback (and New Jersey’s corresponding collapse) sucked up much of the NHL energy on Saturday, this might have been the game of the night, a Stanley Cup rematch which saw a wayward Montreal squad rise to the moment.
The Lightning probably should have won this game, as they handed multiple leads over to Brian Elliott, who dropped them all. Most crucially, Jesse Ylonen (playing in just his 11th career NHL game) beat Elliott for a game-tying goal early in the third period. That forced overtime and paved the way to shootout glory for the Canadiens.
Jake Allen very nearly cost Montreal a win on Saturday, equaling the mediocrity of Elliott by surrendering four goals on 41 shots during regulation and overtime. It’s just that the damage against Allen came early. Allen did not allow a goal after Brayden Point scored in the closing seconds of the second period.
Nikita Kucherov scored a goal and assisted on two others over the first 40 minutes of ice time before his stick – and the Lightning offense writ large – went quiet in crunch time.
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St. Louis Blues 6 Calgary Flames 4
Those who stayed up late after Coach K breathed his basketball last were treated to a fun fireworks display on the ice. With the contest tied at 3-3 and just under two minutes remaining in regulation, the Blues and Flames exploded for four combined goals, with St. Louis jumping up 4-3 on a Nathan Walker goal and proceeding to essentially race the Flames to the finish with that newfound lead in hand.
The Blues were playing without Jordan Kyrou, who was unable to take the ice due to illness, and throwing Ville Husso out there for a second straight night. Husso faced 43 shots and turned away 39 in a gutty performance.
Jacob Markstrom went from a 3-3 tie and an almost lock for overtime, at the least, to an outright loss in regulation. That’s tough. Markstrom made 19 saves (on 23 shots) in the contest.
Justin Faulk led the victorious Blues with three points on a goal and two assists. Long time coming. This was Faulk’s first multi-point performance since he put up a couple against the Sabres back on Feb. 25.
Dallas Stars 5 San Jose Sharks 4
This was Dallas’ third straight win and their hot streak could not have come at a better time, as they are in a fight for the postseason with Vegas. If the season ended on Saturday, Dallas would have the second Wild Card.
The Stars essentially won this one in the first period, posting goals by Vladislav Namestnikov, Jani Hakanpaa, Roope Hintz and Jason Robertson to take a 4-1 lead into intermission. They took starting Sharks netminder Kaapo Kahkonen out of the picture, too, with James Reimer sliding into the crease at the beginning of the second period. Understandable enough.
Those Leonard and Couture goals were kind of a bummer for Scott Wedgewood, who just came over to the Stars from the Coyotes at the trade deadline and was in line for a nice win before he had to settle for a somewhat-muddied final line.
Source: Yahoo Sports