Buffalo 4 (OT)
Tampa Bay 2
Calgary 5 (OT)
Los Angeles 0
New Jersey 0
St. Louis 3
* David Krejci had a goal and two assists, while Milan Lucic had two goals in the Bruins 6-2 assault of Tim Thomas. Er, the Panthers. Same diff.
* Nazem Kadri scored twice and Jonathan Bernier stopped 40 shots in the Leafs 3-2 win over Tampa Bay.
* Scott Hartnell had two and one, Giroux had one and two, and Steve Mason had a shutout. The Flyers, they had an okay night.
* The Great Eight, Mr. Ovechkin, had a two and two for four, including an assist on Mike Green’s OT winner (he had two and one for three) in the Caps narrow 5-4 OT win over the Sabres.
* Carey Price had a 36 save shutout over the Canes. Canada is saved.
* Thomas Greiss also had a shutout (30 saves). Jaroslav Halak (23 saves) did too. Goooo, goalies, or whatever.
* Oliver Ekman-Larsson played a reasonable amount of minutes (26+) and scored twice. But still, the highlight below was the one most worth clipping.
It wasn’t the game-winner or anything – that came late courtesy James Van Riemsdyk – but Nazem Kadri’s goal was a whole bunch of special. (Just ask him.)
After the Leafs pulled ahead late, Jonathan Bernier made this sick save to preserve the win for the Leafs…on Marty St. Louis, no less.
I mean, this Drew Doughty hit on Oliver Ekman-Larsson…damn. Dude got straight-up smoked.
Corey Crawford is probably an NHL starter…but not by much. That’s today’s opinion, and it has nothing to do with him giving up one fluke goal on 14 shots last night in relief of Antti Raanta.
It needs to be okay for us, as hockey fans, to admit that you can win a Stanley Cup with an average (or slightly worse) goalie if your team is good enough. We really need to get there. You can win it with weaknesses at other positions if you’re compensated for everywhere else. Goalie is no different.
It’s an absolute fact that having good goaltending matters, and having great goaltending can flat-out steal you games. If your goalie can stop one extra puck in playoffs and it puts you up 3-2 in a series instead of the opposite, it changes everything.
But there ARE cases where teams are just so good that average goaltending is good enough. Chris Osgood being the easiest example here.
Corey Crawford isn’t bad, at all. That’s not my point. But he’s always played behind rock-solid D in Chicago, is sporting a .911 (which is a pinch below average) and has a career save percentage just below the current NHL average as well. Put him in the net in Edmonton, and frankly, I think he gets lit. I don’t believe he’s rockin’ that same .911.
He’s not bad. But it’s okay to say that a guy who was talented enough to make the NHL and is in his prime happened to luck into a great team despite only being average at the world’s highest level. It’s okay to say that. It’s not a diss. It’s the reality of who Corey Crawford is as an NHLer.
* Happy Islanders/Rangers outdoor game day – this rivalry is somehow still fun in 2014. Tonight could be a blast.
* Being “tough” is just part of the job of being a hockey player. Like, literally. You won’t make it far if people don’t think you’re tough. And so, players do tough things. Here’s Danius Zubrus telling a story about returning to the Stadium Series game after having his broken nose reset.
* Brian Rafalski’s NHL comeback has hit a roadblock, in that he was released by an ECHL team (vaguely injury related, I guess).
* Dan Girardi is going to be a Ranger for awhile. 5, 6 years…what do you care. He’s going to be one of their core guys.
* The Leafs wore the decal below on their helmets last night, because we all need to talk about mental health issues. I’ve had my struggles over the past few years, as many other people have. Maybe you’ve had your own. In particular, I’m indebted to my wife, but also Jake Goldsbie, Ryan Eligh and Derek Snider (hell, theScore in general) for being patient with me when I first moved up to Toronto. A little support goes a long way. Write me at justin.bourne@theScore.com if you want to talk. I’ll write back.
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) January 28, 2014