Happy New Year!
On Monday, there is only one game in the NHL as the league celebrates the New Year with the Winter Classic as the Buffalo Sabres and the New York Rangers will play at Citi Field in New York. The Sabres will be the home team as New York must play all their home games at Madison Square Garden or MSG will lose its tax status.
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VEGAS 6 TORONTO 3
And another one bites the dust! The Vegas Golden Knights just can’t lose at home and Sunday was another example of it as the Golden Knights knocked off the Toronto Maple Leafs 6-3.
The Golden Knights are 16-2-1 at home and they are also 9-0-1 in their last 10. Anyone who thought that Vegas would fold come December (I was one of them) have been sadly mistaken.
William Karlsson had the hat trick for the winners and it was the first one in the team’s short history.
The Knights scored quickly and often in the first as Pierre-Edouard Bellemare opened the scoring at the 2:24 mark and Karlsson quickly made it 2-0 less than two minutes later. Erik Haula gave them a 3-0 lead that they took into the second period.
Matthews scored his second of the game and 17th of the season to make it 4-3 just 27 seconds into the third but Jonathan Marchessault’s 14th of the year assisted by Karlsson made it 5-3. Karlsson’s empty netter clinched it and it was his 20th of the season.
Reilly Smith had a pair of assists.
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ANAHEIM 5 ARIZONA 2
Rickard Rakell scored twice in the first period and the Ducks scored three times in the third to knock off the lowly Arizona Coyotes 5-2.
Brendan Perlini with his 10th of the season and Clayton Keller with his 14th replied for the Coyotes. For Keller, it was his eighth straight game with a point, breaking his previous best of seven games set earlier this season. Both Arizona goals were on the power play.
TAMPA BAY 5 COLUMBUS 0
Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped all 21 shots as the Lightning shutout the Columbus Blue Jackets 5-0. Vasilevskiy picked up his fifth shutout of the season and won his 25th game this season. He has a definite shot at the record for most wins of the season of 48, held by Martin Brodeur and Braden Holtby. Vasilevskiy has a 2.02 GAA and a .935 save percentage.
Tyler Johnson scored the first two goals of the game and Nikita Kucherov increased his NHL-leading point total to 56 as he had a goal and an assist. Steven Stamkos and Cory Conacher also scored for the Lightning.
Johnson increased his points scoring streak to 12 games. He has 18 points in the streak.
Joonas Korpisalo made 30 saves in taking the loss. He is 4-4-0 with a 3.10 GAA and a .904 save percentage.
WINNIPEG 5 EDMONTON 0
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 35 shots and picked up his third shutout of the season as the Jets knocked off the Oilers 5-0. It was his 21st victory of the season as he has a 2.37 GAA and a .923 save percentage.
Bryan Little and Kyle Connor each had a goal and an assist to lead the Jets offensively. Marko Dano with his first of the season, Blake Wheeler and Mathieu Perreault also scored for Winnipeg. It was Dano’s first game played in a while as he had been a healthy scratch for 30 straight games.
The Oilers gave up two goals on the power play on only three opportunities and saw their penalty killing percentage go down even further. Going into the game they had given up 23 power play goals at home in 54 chances for a 57.4 percent success rate, by far the worst in the NHL. They now stand at 56.1 percent. That’s horrible.
Cam Talbot gave up five goals on 38 shots for his 12th loss against 14 wins. Talbot is 0-2-1 in his last three but has given up 13 goals on 113 shots.
Matt Benning was a minus-three.
DETROIT 4 PITTSBURGH 1
Gustav Nyquist scored twice to lead the Red Wings to a 4-1 win over the slumping Pittsburgh Penguins. Jimmy Howard was outstanding, stopping 37 shots to pick up his 12th win. He has won two in a row and has stopped 74-of-77 shots in the two games.
Evgeni Malkin was the only Penguin to beat Howard. It was his 14th of the season and it was a power play effort.
Matt Murray returned after a one game absence as he had an upper body injury. He gave up all the four goals on only 23 shots.
Malkin was a minus-three.
COLORADO 6 NEW YORK ISLANDERS 1
Colorado scored six times on 48 shots as they whipped the New York Islanders 6-1. Gabriel Landeskog scored twice and added an assist to lead the Avs offensively.
Jonathan Bernier turned aside 27-of-28 shots for his sixth win of the season.
Nathan MacKinnon had three assists for the winners.
DALLAS 6 SAN JOSE 0
Ben Bishop stopped 26 shots for his third shutout of the season as the Stars whitewashed the San Jose Sharks 6-0. It was his 16th win of the season and his second straight win.
Antoine Roussel took a 10-minute misconduct in the second period to up his penalty minute count to 75.
CALGARY 4 CHICAGO 3 (Overtime)
Mark Giordano scored the overtime winner to give the Calgary Flames a 4-3 win over Chicago.
Brandon Saad gave the Blackhawks a point by scoring his 12th of the season with only 1:46 to go in the third. Oesterle, Toews and Saad each had an assist as well.