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It was Timo Meier Day in San Jose and if it wasn’t on the tickets, it sure felt like it all game long.
Meier had a career game with five goals, all in the first two periods as he led the Sharks to a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings.
It was the fifth time this century that a player has had five in a game. Marian Gaborik, Johan Franzen, Patrik Laine, Mika Zibanejad and now Meier have turned the trick with all five being European born and raised. The last North American to turn the trick was the great Mario Lemieux, who did so on March 26, 1995.
It was an amazing performance by Meier, who hit the 20-goal mark in 35 games and has 45 points, good for eighth place in NHL scoring. He had the hat trick in the first period and added two more in the second.
He also only needed six shots on goal to score the five.
The effort should wrap up one of the three stars of the week that will be handed out next Monday.
DETROIT 3 BUFFALO 2 (Overtime)
The Red Wings spotted the Buffalo Sabres a 2-0 lead and then roared back in the third period and overtime for a 3-2 victory.
After a scoreless second period, Jeff Skinner made it 2-0 with his 14th of the season. So many fantasy managers gave up on Skinner after a couple of horrible seasons with seven goals in 53 games last year and only 14 in 59 games the year before. But he has been hot of late with five goals in his last six games, giving him 23 points in 36 games, tying his mark of two years ago and nine better than last season.
But shortly after Skinner’s goal, Detroit’s Vladislav Namestnikov scored his 11th of the season with the Red Wings shorthanded on a nice two-on-one pass from rookie sensation Moritz Seider to cut the lead in half. Seider has 22 assists this season.
Dylan Larkin evened the score with his 17th of the season at the 13:28 mark of the third and then won it in overtime. Larkin is another player who had a horrible 2021-22 with only nine goals and 23 points in 44 games, who is having a renaissance of a season with 18 goals and 36 points in 35 games.
Nedeljkovic picked up the win, making 26 saves and is 12-10-4 with a 2.69 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
Aaron Dell, the Sabres fourth stringer goalie, made 32 saves in taking the OT loss as he is 1-6-1 with a 3.75 GAA and a .892 save percentage.
Pius Suter had six shots on net.
COLORADO 4 MINNESOTA 3 (Shootout)
This was one wild game between two Central Division leaders.
Mikko Rantanen scored the only goal in the shootout to give the Avs a 4-3 win over the Wild.
The Avs started off quickly in the first as Rantanen potted his 20th of the season on the power play to give Colorado a 1-0 lead at the 15:57 mark of the first and rookie Alex Newhook made it 2-0 just 1:42 later. The Avs were in control during the whole first period as they had 32 shot attempts to the Wild’s nine.
But things turned around in the second as Kevin Fiala scored his ninth of the season and 100th in his career, at the 33 second mark of the period to make the score 2-1.
And then it got worse for the Avs as Jordan Greenway gave a shot to the head of goaltender Darcy Kuemper at the 8:53 mark. Kurtis MacDermid went after Greenway for the hit, resulting in MacDermid getting an instigator penalty, five for fighting and a misconduct while Greenway took a minor for interfering with Kuemper and a major for his fight.
While Kuemper tried to continue, he was taken off the ice 33 seconds later and did not return. Pavel Francouz took over and could be the starter for a while if Kuemper suffered a concussion.
Nathan MacKinnon gave the Avs the lead with 3:32 to go in the third as his shot was deemed to go over the line after a review from the war room in Toronto and Kaprizov tied it once again 41 seconds later to send the game into extra time.
Francouz picked up the win as he turned aside 25-of-27 shots after Kuemper made 12 saves on 13 shots. Francouz won his fourth in a row and is 4-1-0 with 2.94 GAA and a .902 save percentage.
Kaapo Kahkonen started for Minnesota and made 35 saves as he is 7-2-2 with a 2.58 GAA and a .918 save percentage.
Cale Makar had an assist and has a six-game points streak with two goals and seven helpers.
MacKinnon reached the 600-point mark in his NHL career.
SAN JOSE 6 LOS ANGELES 2
As written above, it was Timo Meier Day in San Jose as he singlehandedly defeated the Los Angeles Kings 6-2. Meier is the first San Jose Shark to score five in franchise history.
The shots on net did not reflect the final score as the Kings outshot San Jose 41-17.
Overlooked in this game was the outstanding play of James Reimer as the netminder stopped 39-of-41 shots to hold the Kings in check. Reimer has been terrific for the most part this season as he is 12-7-1 with a 2.65 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He had been struggling in his last four games before today as he was 2-2 but gave up 19 goals on 112 shots.
It was not a good afternoon for Jonathan Quick who gave up all six goals while making only 11 saves. Quick is 11-9-4 with a 2.53 GAA and a .915 save percentage.
ARIZONA 5 MONTREAL 2
The battle of the bottom dwellers wasn’t much of a battle as the Montreal Canadiens looked like the worst team in the NHL, dropping a 5-2 decision to the Arizona Coyotes as the Habs are three points in arrears of the Yotes.
It was Arizona that got off to the early lead and they never looked back as Travis Boyd and Johan Larsson (his fifth of the season with all five coming in the last six games) gave them a 2-0 lead before Rem Pitlick cut the lead in half with his seventh of the season and first as a Montreal Canadien since being claimed off waivers from Minnesota on Wednesday.
Janis Moser scored the eventual winner in the second to make it 3-1. The Habs cut the lead to one once more when Ryan Poehling’s deflection on the power play got past Karel Vejmelka and into the Arizona cage, but that was as close as Montreal got as Nick Schmaltz made it 4-2 with his second of the season to end the second period.
Clayton Keller scored into the empty net to make the final 5-2.
Vejmelka made 24 saves to go to 5-14-1 with a 3.21 GAA and a .907 save percentage. He has been a nice find for the Coyotes despite his record which is more a reflection on the state of the Arizona Coyotes franchise rather than his play.
Schmaltz had two assists in addition to his goal to give him 10 points in 18 games. Jonathan Drouin had two helpers for Montreal.
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SEATTLE 3 CHICAGO 2 (Shootout)
Ryan Donato and Joonas Donskoi scored in the shootout while Philipp Grubauer stopped Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane missed the net, to lead Seattle to a 3-2 shootout victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
After a scoreless first period Dominik Kubalik opened the scoring in the second frame with his ninth of the season but Kraken blueliner Vince Dunn evened the score with his fourth of the campaign. Brandon Hagel, who has been a pleasant surprise, scored on the power play with his 10th of the season to give Chicago a 2-1 lead heading into the third.
Ryan Donato tied the game at two as he gathered in the puck in his own zone, outraced Jake McCabe to make it a two-on-one and then banged in his own rebound after his original shot was stopped by Marc-Andre Fleury to send the game into overtime and then the shootout.
Philipp Grubauer made 25 saves for the win as he halted an eight-game losing streak. Grubauer is 8-15-4 with a 3.31 GAA and a .882 save percentage, a far cry from last season when he was a Vezina Trophy finalist with the Avalanche.
Dunn had six shots on goal.
NEW YORK ISLANDERS 4 PHILADELPHIA 1
The New York Islanders are likely too far behind to challenge for a playoff spot in the East but they are 5-1-1 in their last seven games and have played less games than any other team in the NHL, after a 4-1 win over divisional rival, the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Islanders got it going in the second period after a scoreless first as Brock Nelson scored his 11th of the season.
Ilya Sorokin stopped 26 shots, continuing his outstanding play by slamming the door continuously on the Flyers. He is 10-7-5 with a 2.37 GAA and a .927 save percentage.
Martin Jones gave up three goals on 30 shots in taking the loss. He is 6-6-2 with a 3.31 GAA and a .908 save percentage.
Cal Clutterbuck had a pair of assists.
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ST. LOUIS 5 NASHVILLE 3
The Blues got a huge performance out of their top line of Brayden Schenn, Ivan Barbashev and Ryan O'Reilly as the trio combined for all five goals and 11 points to give the Blues a 5-3 win over Nashville.
Barbashev and Schenn each had two goals and four points with O'Reilly picking up a goal and two helpers.
The Predators could not handle the top line, but did get off to a 2-0 lead as Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg scored but the Blues would tie it before the end of the period as Barbashev and O'Reilly lit the lamp.
The Blues extended their lead with a pair of second period goals by Schenn and Barbashev early in the period and took a 4-2 lead heading into the third.
Yakov Trenin scored for Nashville to make it a 4-3 game with his 10th of the season but Schenn with his second of the game and seventh of the season completed the scoring.
Ville Husso made 32 saves for the win as he is 6-2-1 with a 2.22 GAA and a .933 save percentage. He has played great in limited action for the Blues and perhaps it is time to see what he can do with a bigger role.
It was not a great night for Juuse Saros who gave up all five goals on only 29 shots. The Nashville netminder is 20-11-2 with a 2.43 GAA and a .923 save percentage. He has lost three straight games, giving up 12 goals.
PITTSBURGH 5 VEGAS 3
The Pittsburgh Penguins had the best come from behind win of the night as they spotted the Vegas Golden Knights a 3-0 lead after one period and roared back with five unanswered goals to win 5-3.
Las Vegas raised Jason Zucker led the Penguins comeback with a pair of goals, giving him six on the season.
The Golden Knights got off to a great start with three goals in the opening stanza as Chandler Stephenson with his 11th, Evgenii Dadonov with his 10th and Nicolas Roy with his eighth of the season made it look like it was going to be a runaway.
But the Penguins struck for a pair in the second, just 49 seconds apart, as Zucker scored on the power play and Teddy Blueger scored his eighth of the season.
Zucker evened the score just 28 seconds into the third period and Jake Guentzel gave them the lead for the first time in the game at the 2:12 mark with his 20th of the campaign. Sidney Crosby scored his sixth into the empty net.
Tristan Jarry made 23 saves in the win and is 19-7-4 this season.
Robin Lehner stopped 32 shots to drop to 15-11-1. He has been a disappointment as the Golden Knights thought he would be a lot better after getting rid of Vezina Trophy winner Marc-Andre Fleury in the off-season.
Zucker had seven shots on net.
Timo Meier -5
Dylan Larkin – 2
Kirill Kaprizov – 2
Brayden Schenn – 2
Ivan Barbashev - 2
Tomas Hertl - 4
Erik Karlsson - 3
Mats Zuccarello – 2
Jonathan Drouin – 2
Nick Schmaltz – 2
Cal Clutterbuck – 2
Brayden Schenn – 2
Ivan Barbashev – 2
Ryan O'Reilly – 2
Alex Pietrangelo – 2
Jeff Carter – 2
Kasperi Kapanen - 2
Shots on Goal
Jason Zucker – 7
Jeff Carter – 6
Pius Suter – 6
Jeff Skinner – 6
Devon Toews – 6
Cale Makar – 6
Nathan MacKinnon – 6
Clayton Keller – 6
Timo Meier – 6
Vince Dunn - 6
Brayden McNabb - 10
Liam O'Brien – 6
Robert Bortuzzo – 6
Kris Letang - 6
Kurtis MacDermid – 17
Jordan Greenway – 7
Will Borgen – 7
Robert Bortuzzo – 7
Ben Harper - 5
Brendan Lemieux – 5
Jeffrey Viel – 5
Mike Hardman - 5