~New Jersey went into action tonight against Toronto with the intent of increasing their cushion over the Penguins, and got off to a roaring start towards that end. Perhaps they were motivated by the sheer will to win, or perhaps they suddenly got all fired up because it was Lawyer Night:
"There's no fee unless we get money for you"
They were everywhere, simultaneously ripping players heads off and brutalizing the refs on their way to a 2-0 lead after two periods.
Both O'Neill and the ref may never be the same again
Then, apparently, the Devils secretly put Scotty the Backup into Marty Brodeur's gear during the third so he could head to the locker room for Paul Maurice's wife, a moment that didn't go unnoticed by the Maple Leaf's bench:
This move apparently lit a fire under Toronto, and before you knew it, they tallied three goals in the span of 32:51 to take the lead. Jersey battled back with a goal at the 18:51 mark, but that was only good enough to get the game to a shootout. No sweat, right? Zach Parise is on fire! He scores, and the Devils have a 1-0 lead in the shootout. Unfortunately, it wasn't over yet, as Brodeur gave up a goal to the previously useless Yanic Perreault, and then another to the previously headless O'Neill:
"Damn, was I supposed to stop that one?"
Toronto shows the Pens a little love, keeping Jersey reasonably close in the standings.
~Atlanta gave the Pens a little help, as Eric Belanger and Dany Heatley apparently played a bit of one-on-one for the first two and a quarter periods, dueling to a 2-2 tie. Then the rest of the teams showed up to play, and Atlanta toyed with the Senators for a while, even taking time to show off for the fans:
Pascal Dupuis shows off his stickhandling skills, much to the fans' delight
In between tricks, Atlanta added two more goals to pull out the win, 4-2.
~The Montreal Canadiens' offense showed up again tonight, tallying five goals for the fourth time in their last six games. Unfortunately, they were also paying Buffalo, and had some goof named Aebischer in net. It was close most of the night, and the fans were kept abuzz (there were four times where a goal was scored within 40 seconds of another), but in the end Montreal couldn't hang with Buffalo's run and gun, falling by a final of 8-5.
Oh, and remember that Plekanec guy I mentioned a while back? I don't think we can refer to him as "Tomas who?" anymore. As I said previously, he finished 2006 with 3G and 9A in 38 games, but has made a huge leap in his game, tallying two goals and an assist last night to bring his 2007 total to 13 goals and 12 assists in 28 games (not too shabby for a guy who doesn't have regular linemates).
~Out west, the Detroit Red Wings had a great night, defeating Jason Williams by a final score of 6-2. You laugh, but I mean that literally. The final score was 6-2, and Williams (Chicago's newest young winger) scored both goals (one power play, one shorthanded) and was unassisted on both. Then again, you can't really expect the Blackhawks to win regularly when they trot out goalies like Patrick Lalime, who give up cheese goals to the likes of...Valtteri Filppula. Seriously, look at Detroit's six goal scorers:
Robert Lang: first goal in 10 games
Valtteri Filppula: second goal in 16 games
Johan Franzen: second goal in two games after one in the previous 13
Jiri Hudler: second goal in the last 18 games
Niklas Lidstrom: second goal in the last 31 games
Mathieu Schneider: third goal in the last 9 games after none in the previous 21.
So there's six goals by six guys, the most prolific of whom notched his 15th goal in 65 games. Boy, too bad we didn't hold on to Lalime all those years ago.
~Outside of that, not much. Columbus and Anaheim beat Dallas and San Jose by a combined score of 6-3. I was going to show pictures, but 90% of the Columbus ones were of players laying on the ice, and who really cares about Anaheim or San Jose.
Whew, long winded but thorough (mostly), that's me.
Games to watch tonight? Montreal tries for points again in Boston, the Islanders go at it with Washington, the Battles of Florida and Alberta, respectively, and a Rangers Blues game at 1 PM that you should be sure and miss.