The effort It's an unusually busy Monday night in the NHL with nine games on tap. This is the second to last week of the season, and every team has six or seven games remaining, save for Buffalo, Los Angeles and the Rangers who all have eight, and Anaheim who has give.
Let’s get to it.
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TORONTO 7 FLORIDA 5
It was John Tavares night in Toronto as the prized off-season signing scored four times to lead the Maple Leafs to a much needed 7-5 win over the Florida Panthers. The effort gives Tavares 45 goals this season (his previous career best was 38) and he is only three goals behind leader Alex Ovechkin in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy.
The whole Tavares line was great as Zach Hyman had a goal and two assists to give him 20 goals for the first time in his career, as well as 38 points, while Mitch Marner had three assists to give him 65 assists and 90 points. He has a shot at 100 with only six games left, while Tavares needs five in six games to reach the magical 50-goal mark.
The Leafs opened the scoring with a couple of goals in the first 4:21 as Patrick Marleau with his 16th and Jake Muzzin with his ninth beat Sam Montembeault who saw only four shots before he was replaced after the Muzzin goal by Roberto Luongo.
Both teams scored twice in the first period after that point as Tavares scored his first two while Jayce Hawryluk and Mike Matheson beat Frederik Andersen as the first period ended with Toronto up 4-2.
Tavares scored the only goal of the second and then he opened the third with his fourth of the night as Toronto took a 6-2 lead. Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice in the third with Hawryluk picking up his second of the game as the Panthers scored twice after Hyman made it 7-3 to make it close.
Andersen stopped 31 shots to pick up the win as he is 35-15-5 with a 2.7 GAA and a .917 save percentage. Roberto Luongo took the loss as he gave up the last five goals on 33 shots after Montembeault was pulled.
Vincent Trocheck had seven shots on goal while Tavares needed only five to score his four goals.
NEW JERSEY 3 BUFFALO 1
Cory Schneider was sensational as he turned aside 45-of-46 shots to lead the Devils to a 3-1 win over Buffalo.
Schneider is 6-12-3 with a 3.07 GAA and a .904 save percentage as he has played well of late to give the Devils two capable goaltenders alongside Mackenzie Blackwood.
Blake Coleman gave the Devils the 1-0 lead inside the two-minute mark of the first as he scored his 22nd of the season. It was a power play effort.
Sam Reinhart tied it at 1 at the 7:23 mark of the first as he stole the puck at center ice and flipped it into the New Jersey zone. The puck bounced and went past the shocked Schneider. The period ended at 1-1.
There was no scoring in the second and the Devils took a 2-1 lead in the third when Pavel Zacha scored on the power play. Zacha had a two-point night as he set up Miles Wood scored into the empty net to seal the win.
Linus Ullmark stopped 18 shots to pick up the loss. The Devils couldn’t get a puck past him in five-on-five situations, but gave up both goals on two shots when the Sabres were shorthanded.
Jeff Skinner led the way with six shots on goal. He has 37 goals this season but only one in his last 18 games.
PITTSBURGH 5 NEW YORK RANGERS 2
Teddy Blueger scored twice to lead the Penguins to a 5-2 win over the New York Rangers Monday to move into a tie with the New York Islanders for second, just a point back of the Washington Capitals. The Penguins have played one more game than New York and Washington.
The Rangers actually had a 2-0 lead as Brendan Lemieux (who saw first-line action with Chris Kreider on the shelf) and Vinni Lettieri with his first of the season in 21 games, scored for New York but it was all Pittsburgh after that.
Nick Bjugstad cut the lead in half to end the first period while Justin Schultz on the power play, and Matt Cullen, gave the Penguins a 3-2 lead. Blueger scored a shorthanded goal to give the Penguins a 4-2 lead after two and he scored the only goal of the third period.
TAMPA BAY 5 BOSTON 4
Steven Stamkos scored twice and added a pair of assists while Anthony Cirelli scored the winner with 53 seconds left in the third to cap a furious Tampa Bay rally and lead the Lightning to a 5-4 win over Boston.
Stamkos scored a pair of goals in the first as they sandwiched a Brad Marchand goal to give Tampa Bay a 2-1 lead after one.
Andrei Vasilevskiy made only 13 saves on 17 shots but still picked up the win. He is 37-9-4 with a 2.36 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots in taking the loss.
ST. LOUIS 3 VEGAS 1
Jordan Binnington made 24 saves to lead the Blues to a 3-1 win over the Golden Knights Monday. Binnington is having a sensational rookie campaign and is the major reason why the Blues are in the playoffs this season as he is 21-4-1 after winning his fifth in a row.
Zach Sanford led the way offensively with a goal and an assist. Ivan Barbashev with his 13th of the season, opened the scoring with the only goal of the first period. Ryan O'Reilly with his 27th in the second period scored the winner after William Karlsson had tied it up with his 23rd of the campaign. It was a power play goal.
Malcolm Subban started his fifth straight game and it was his first regulation loss in the five starts as he was 3-1-1. Subban made 19 saves. The Golden Knights would like Marc-Andre Fleury to get the start when the Golden Knights take on the Avalanche in Colorado Wednesday. Fleury has been out with a lower-body injury for the last five games and while he could use the rest, Vegas does want him sharp for the playoffs.
NASHVILLE 1 MINNESOTA 0
Juuse Saros made 29 saves as the Nashville Predators shut out the Minnesota Wild 1-0. It was Saros’ third shutout of the season as he improved his record to 17-9-2 with a 2.53 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
Devan Dubnyk made 18 saves in the Nashville net in taking the loss.
Roman Josi blocked eight shots.
DALLAS 5 WINNIPEG 2
Tyler Seguin scored twice including his 30th and 31st goals of the season, to lead the Dallas Stars to a 5-2 win over Winnipeg. It was a huge win for Dallas as they are five points ahead of Minnesota and Arizona with five and six games left respectively.
Ben Bishop continued his stellar play as he stopped 21-of-23 shots to pick up his 26-15-2 with an amazing 2.05 GAA and a .932 save percentage as he has been a top-three goalie this season.
Connor Hellebuyck made 32 saves in taking the loss.
Alexander Radulov had two assists.
Jason Spezza was a healthy scratch for the third time in his last four games.
LOS ANGELES 3 CALGARY 0
It was the Jack Campbell show on Monday as he stopped all 42 shots to lead the lowly Los Angeles Kings to a 3-0 win over the first place Calgary Flames. It was Campbell’s eighth win of the season as well as his second shutout of the year.
Derek Forbort and Jonny Brodzinski each scored their second of the season, while Tyler Toffoli clinched it with an empty net goal. It was Toffoli’s first goal in 19 games as he has really struggled this season. He fought former teammate Oscar Fantenberg late in the first period and was only an assist shy of the Gordie Howe hat trick.
Mike Smith picked up the start and made 18 saves in taking the loss.
DETROIT 3 SAN JOSE 2
Jonathan Bernier stopped 39 shots to lead the Detroit Red Wings to their second straight win as they upset the San Jose Sharks 3-2.
The Sharks are reeling as they have dropped six straight (0-5-1) and despite every chance the Calgary Flames have given them to get back into first place in the Pacific division and Western Conference, the Sharks just keep on handing it back to them.
The Red Wings took a 3-0 lead as Dylan Larkin with his 28th, Andreas Athanasiou and Christoffer Ehn with his third all scored. Ehn’s goal was shorthanded at the 8:35 of the third but Evander Kane scored on the power play just 20 seconds later to get San Jose on the board. The Sharks outshot the Red Wings 18-5 in the third but could only beat Bernier once more and that was with just five seconds left in the third so there was no real opportunity to tie the score.
Martin Jones took the loss as he gave up all three goals on only 23 shots. Jones is 34-17-5 this season but his peripherals leave a lot to be desired as he has a 2.91 GAA and a .898 save percentage.
Niklas Kronwall led both teams with five blocked shots.
John Tavares – 4
Steven Stamkos – 2
Brad Marchand – 2
Teddy Blueger – 2
Jayce Hawryluk – 2
Tyler Seguin – 2
Mitch Marner – 3
William Nylander – 2
David Pastrnak – 2
Patrice Bergeron – 2
Phil Kessel – 2
Zach Hyman – 2
Morgan Rielly - 2
Evgenii Dadonov – 2
Mike Hoffman – 2
Steven Stamkos – 2
Shots on Goal
Brent Burns - 10
Vincent Trocheck – 7
Evander Kane - 7
Mikael Backlund – 7
Mark Giordano - 6
Jeff Skinner – 6
Brandon Tanev – 8
Erik Cernak – 7
Adam Erne - 6
Brian Boyle – 7
Jordan Greenway – 5
Tyler Toffoli – 5
Oscar Fantenberg - 5