Tag:San Jose Sharks
Posted on: February 29, 2012 3:25 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 3:27 pm
 

Vlasic hit latest to not warrant suspension

By Brian Stubits

Marc-Edouard Vlasic is the latest player who will not face a supplemental discipline hearing. An NHL source told CBSSports.com earlier on Wednesday that no hearing had been scheduled and Renaud P. Lavoie of RDS in Canada later reported that no hearing will be scheduled.

Late in the Sharks' 1-0 win on Tuesday night against the Flyers, Daniel Briere was chasing the dumped puck into the corner boards when Vlasic's contact from behind sent Briere head first into the boards and into a heap on the ice.

There wasn't even a minor called on the play, which turned out to be pretty key with the Flyers trying to score so late in the game. Briere didn't seem like the biggest fan of the play after the game (from the Philadelphia Daily News).

“I wasn’t expecting to be bulldozed there,” Briere said. “It was a dangerous play, there’s no doubt about it. Usually when you’re in a vulnerable position like that, guys will try to bear-hug you or go around you. It was scary. I think I got fortunate that it wasn’t worse than it is. I knew there was someone coming, but I just didn’t think I was going to get run over like that.”

Remember, Briere just came back from a concussion a few weeks ago. That had a few more people in orange and black holding their breath. But Briere did return to the game a short while later. It was a little surprising he didn't go to the quiet room considering his recent concussion and the fact that he admitted to reporters after the game that he was dizzy and a bit lost.

Back to the decision not to take any action from the league. While this one does not seem as egregious as others recently -- particularly the decision to do nothing to David Clarkson -- I thought there was a chance. We've seen similar calls this season. I can see the merits on either side of the equation in this one. It didn't seem particularly malicious from Vlasic and he did seem to slow down before impact.

It just seems like Brendan Shanahan has decided the first half of suspensions was enough, doesn't it? It seemed like every other day or even more often in the first few months there was a new suspension video from Shanahan. Now they've become as rare as Scott Gomez goals. There has only been one suspension handed down since Alex Ovechkin's just before the All-Star break, Minnesota's Warren Peters.

Has the play really been that much cleaner since the All-Star break? Did the message finally get through to the players? Well I haven't noticed as many bad hits so that's working, but only one play in more than a month that warranted a suspension?

I'm not going to make the leap here, I'll just say it's a little bit more intriguing to look back at the reports from earlier in the season about some GMs complaining about how tightly Shanahan's era was being run.

More NHL Discipline news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:02 am
Edited on: February 28, 2012 2:09 pm
 

Morning Skate: Playoff outcasts meet in Toronto

Florida and Toronto haven't made the playoffs post-lockout. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The Morning Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Playoff Race

7 ET, Florida at Toronto

Considering how the last six years have gone in the NHL, it's pretty amazing to think that we're talking about this game and playoff implications at the end of February. They are the only two franchises not to see the postseason in that stretch.

And there is certainly no guarantee both or even one are going to get in this go-round. That's especially true when talking about the Maple Leafs. In playoff position almost all season long, they have hit hard times in the month of February. The goalies are a mess (so it is still like the previous six years in Toronto). All told, the Leafs have lost four in a row and eight of their last nine. Their last regulation win? Feb. 6 vs. Edmonton.

Now they're three points back of Winnipeg (with three games in hand, mind you) and two behind Washington in the battle for that last playoff spot (five behind Florida if the Panthers fall out of the Southeast lead).

The Panthers this season, by the way, are 10-2-2 against Canadian teams. Not that that means all too much. But they're 2-0-0 against the Leafs including a 5-1 win in Toronto at the beginning of the season. And they've won three consecutive on the road.

Florida is guaranteed to be in first place still by the end of the night. But if they want to take their first Southeast crown in franchise history they'll need to win games like this against struggling teams like Toronto.

My question: Who will Capitals fans be rooting for while they're team plays the Islanders? The only way they're happy is as long as it's not a three-point game.

8 ET: Los Angeles at Minnesota

It's the same story, different day for Minnesota. If they lose you have to think they're done in the playoff race. I seem to write it all the time these days and every time they pull off the win. But chasing so many teams in the logjam ahead of them they aren't gaining much traction.

One of those teams ahead of them is in town on Tuesday night, so that helps. Especially when that team has about as hard a time scoring as the Wild. Actually harder, but they have a new addition in L.A. who is supposed to help out that department.

Coming into the night, the Wild continue to hang on by their chinny chin chin. They are five points back of the Stars and Avalanche who are tied with 70 points in the eighth spot. They're three back of the Kings. They have games in hand entering the night on all of them. So, you know, have to make those games count and all that, otherwise they're missed opportunities.

For the Wild keen an eye on veteran Matt Cullen. It might just be coincidental but he didn't have a single point in the Wild's seven-game losing streak but has scored a goal in three of the last four games. They are 3-1 in those games. I'll let you guess which one they lost.

10:30 ET, Philadelphia at San Jose

Welcome back home, Sharks. It must be nice to be swimming in friendly waters again after more than two weeks straight on the road. Philly is waiting for you.

San Jose's nine-game jaunt that began Feb. 12 in St. Louis wasn't very kind to them. They won only two of those games picking up five points in total. They lost a late lead in the final game and they're coach Todd McLellan was knocked out of the game by a fluke play near the bench. Oh, and they lost first place in the Pacific Division to the Coyotes.

So yeah, it's probably very nice to be back home.

And while they have to be tuckered out after playing that final road game on Sunday evening in Minnesota, the Flyers are going to be a well-rested group who has had some extra time to enjoy the sites of San Francisco and the Bay Area, having last played on Saturday in Calgary.

Philadelphia is comfortably in the playoffs, its fight is for the No. 4 seed. But San Jose? You will start to wonder if they're going to even make it here pretty soon if they lose tonight. I'm not saying it's panic time, it's certainly not. A road trip like that is brutal. But if they fail to get any points tonight, they will remain just one point ahead of the two teams in eighth. That starts making it pretty interesting.

Others worth watching

9 ET, Vancouver at Phoenix: Arguably the two hottest teams in the league right now (and not much argument for anybody else) this is a huge measuring stick game for the Coyotes. If they get at least one point tonight they will have earned a point in every game in the month of February. Only once so far have they failed to get two points this month -- a shootout loss to the Canucks, no less.

7 ET, Ottawa at Boston: These two renew acquaintances after the weekend's hotly contested game in Ottawa, a Bruins win. The spread is three in the division for the B's with games in hand, so head to head is Ottawa's best chance to gain ground. Look for some fireworks after last game and Kyle Turris' hit on Joe Corvo that avoided supplemental discipline.

7 ET, Islanders at Washington: Interestingly enough, the Isles are the only team from the Eastern Conference the Capitals haven't beaten this season. This is their third crack at them. With just one point the Caps vault into the eighth spot in the East with the Jets, two points give them the No. 8 spot all to themselves.

Your promised miscellany

  • Check out our brand new Facebook page and like us, because we like you!
  • Monday's Winners & Losers
  • After the Jets allowed four unanswered goals to the Oilers at home last night, Kyle Wellwod called it the "worst loss of the year." (Winnipeg Sun)
  • Did Cody Hodgson ask for a trade out of Vancouver? Canucks GM Mike Gillis won't say one way or the other. (The Province)
  • Sheldon Souray is back and it means the return of one of the best nicknames I've seen this season: Studly Wonderbomb. (Dallas Morning News)
  • Think Mike Mottau is happy to be a Bruin? “I always said that I’d take a puck in the teeth to play for the Boston Bruins,” said Mottau. “Now I’ll get that chance.” (CSN New England)
  • Lastly, here's a pretty neat inside look at what happens when NHL teams make a trade and the call they make to the league, this one the Hodgson-Zack Kassian swap. (Also, note that the Sabres and Canucks made two separate deals, Alexander Sulzer and Marc-Andre Gragnani were technically their own trade.)

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 3:34 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 8:22 pm
 

Nash stays put; Howson says Nash requested move

Columbus did exactly that, keeping No. 61. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

The deadline has come and gone and Rick Nash remained with the Columbus Blue Jackets. That's going to make for an awkward end to what has been a very miserable season in Columbus.

Blue Jackets general manager Scott Howson didn't help it become less awkward when he told the media at his post deadline news conference that it was Nash who approached the team about a trade, not the other way around.

"With respect to Rick Nash. He approached us and asked us to consider a trade. We agreed to accomodate his request as long as we could get a deal that would provide us with cornerstone pieces to help us compete for a Stanley Cup championship in the coming years," Howson said. "It did not happen by 3 o'clock today. This is too important to our franchise and our fans to do a deal that is not in our best interest. We pursued a number of options, but none provided the value back that we could justify trading a player of Rick's caliber.

"It doesn't really matter how close we were because it didn't happen. We had significant discussions today, but it didn't happen."

For the last two weeks the ebbs and flows of the Nash story were as constant as the ocean tides. The biggest name on the trade block by a long ways, the deals being discussed were more than blockbusters. They would have been franchise definers.

But much like the rest of the 2012 trade deadline, it didn't get done. Really, it exemplifies the entire deadline. It was a dull a trade deadline as we've seen in a long, long time. We thought last year was quiet with only 16 deals on deadline day. This year beat that by one deal.

All along the Jackets were demanding a very high price for Nash, and rightfully so. Scott Howson absolutely had to get a huge return for Nash and was dead set on getting it.

"The price was high and I don't apologize for that," Howson said. "It had to be high."

The Rangers, long viewed as the front-runners, were reportedly out on Sunday night of the Nash hunt. But they ramped it back up according to reports. A lot.

In fact, Darren Dreger of TSN said they made a very serious final push in the waning hours.

That mammoth offer? According to Larry Brooks of the New York Post, this is what it looked like:

Columbus GM Scott Howson rejected what is believed a Rangers' final offer of Dubinsky, 21-year-old defenseman Tim Erixon, 2011 first-rounder J.T. Miller, 2010 second-rounder Christian Thomas and a first-round selection in this June's Entry Draft.

That didn't fit Howson's high price and I can't blame him too much. He wanted one of four guys (Michael Del Zotto, Derek Stepan, Chris Kreider, Ryan McDonagh). The addition from previous reported offers was Christian Thomas, but it still wasn't enough.

Now all this means is that the talks will be put on hold. It really seems like this whole thing spun out of control so much that there is no way Nash can return to the Blue Jackets next season. The activity will pick up again in the summer time and you're likely going to see the same teams mentioned in the chase: The Rangers as well as the San Jose Sharks and Toronto Maple Leafs. Nash's agent said his list of teams he'll accept a trade to won't expand in the summer, so there likely won't be many surprise contenders, but you never know.

"He's a member of our team right now, he's our captain," Howson said. "That's not going to change, nothing's going to change. Obviously we are going to look at all of our options as we move forward. We'll see what happens once we get around the draft and this summer."

Howson essentially backed the bus up over his captain today. In no way did he really help this situation with his comments. Admitting that Nash came to him wasn't a great start to rehabbing the image, nor is it good in his pursuit of getting a great return. It became even more clear after this that Nash can't remain in Columbus now. He actively wants out and now everybody knows that. That strengthens the suitors' resolve in not caving to Howson's demands. Eventually if anyone caves you have to think it is Howson.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 27, 2012 2:11 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 2:18 pm
 

Sharks get Galiardi, Winnik from Avs for McGinn

By Brian Stubits

The San Jose Sharks picked up some solid depth forwards from the Colorado Avalanche with just about an hour left in Monday's trading window, acquiring Daniel Winnik and T.J. Galiardi from the Avs.

In return, the Sharks send Jamie McGinn, Mike Connelly and Michael Sgarbossa to Colorado according to Adrian Dater of the Denver Post.

You have to like both the additions from San Jose's perspective. Winnik and Galiardi both give them some grit and some scoring. Galiardi in particular could be the steal in this move. But I am a bit surprised to see the Sharks giving up McGinn in the process. He has been having a good season with the Sharks with 12 goals already. In Colorado he sort of fits in with the addition from earlier this week in Steve Downie.

It's not the biggest deal we'll see all day but it's a nice little move for San Jose. And we can't finish this blog without using this terrible pun:

The Sharks are now in it to Winnik.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:19 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 10:34 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Stars, Wild get comeback wins

By Brian Stubits

There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Winners

1. Dallas Stars

Talk about a huge two points. The Stars were down 2-0 to the NHL-best Vancouver Canucks, down 2-1 with less than a minute to play in Dallas. Insert Mike Ribeiro with the tying goal and the Stars had themselves a point. Dallas then picked up the second point on a Loui Eriksson tally in overtime.

They went from picking up nothing to gaining a huge two points. That moved them out of the logjam that is the race for eighth in the Western Conference and into a playoff spot by their lonesome. It also brings Dallas to within three points of the Pacific Division-leading Phoenix Coyotes. And yet this team is still on the fence about buying or selling?

As an extra note, saw this on the Stars broadcast during the game. Going back to 2006, the Canucks were 183-3-12 when leading over two periods. Make that 183-3-13.

[Related: Stars 3, Canucks 2 (OT)]

2. Minnesota Wild

Unlike the eighth seed race in the East where nobody seems to be able to step up and take it, the West is getting carnivorous, in a good way. The Wild, absolutely having to beat the San Jose Sharks to keep any hope of staying in the race alive pulled off their own late comeback.

When Brent Burns slapped home the go-ahead goal with less than 10 minutes left against his old team in his old barn, you had the feeling that it was going to be the dagger. The all-too painful dagger based on the circumstances.

Then Matt Cullen tied it up with his third goal in the last four games. OK, a point is looking good. Unless Jed Ortmeyer tips one in for his first goal in almost two calendar years. Seriously, it was his first goal since March of 2010. Granted, it was only 22 games, but still. Talk about timing.

The task is still tough, especially with every team in the Pacific Division deciding it wants to catch fire right now except for the Sharks, but they remain at that magical five-point mark behind in the race for the playoffs.

[Related: Wild 4, Sharks 3] | McLellan OK after scary incident

3. Robin Lehner, Ottawa Senators

When Craig Anderson went down for an undetermined amount of time, people wondered if the Sens weren't going to fall like a rock. They've been riding Anderson hard all season long.

Well that precipitated the recalling of Lehner from the AHL and he responded well. Particularly on the day that the Sens went out and acquired another goaltender who presumably is going to be getting playing time down the stretch in Ben Bishop.

The Islanders might have scored three in the loss, but don't read too much into it from Lehner's end. He was good enough to make a good impression.

[Related: Senators 5, Islanders 3 | Sens get Bishop from St. Louis]

4. Martin St. Louis

He gets the award as the top performer of the day with his hat trick for the Lightning in their win over the Devils in New Jersey. It was his second trick this season, in fact.

With Florida's win, the Lightning didn't gain any traction in the Southeast race and are still eight points out. But what it tells you is that the Lightning are going to be one aggressive spoiler down the stretch. They have been playing much better of late but it's likely going to prove to be too little too late. That doesn't mean they won't have an impact on the rest of the playoff race.

[Related: Lightning 4, Devils 3]

Losers

1. Southeast Division chasers

The Florida Panthers began the day already tied for first place in the division and they had games in hand on the chasing Jets and Capitals. For the second straight night, the rest of the division was able to get excited to see Florida down 2-0 in the game. And for the second straight night, the Panthers overcame that 2-0 deficit to pull out two points against the Montreal Canadiens.

After being honored pregame for becoming the Panthers franchise's all-time games played record holder, Stephen Weiss took the celebration two steps further, potting two scores as the Panthers dominated after giving up the second goal and won really going away, 4-2.

They became the last division leader to hit 70 points to move two points up on the Jets, three on the Caps. They still have played three fewer than Winnipeg and one less than Washington. This is why those games in hand can be so big, but only if you convert them into points.

[Related: Panthers 4, Canadiens 2]

2. Chicago Blackhawks

For the first time in 40 chances, the Blackhawks finally scored a power-play goal. It came from Patrick Kane, who has struggled himself to score this season, no less. That was pretty much the end of the good news.

The Ducks got the benefit of the doubt when Andrew Cogliano was awarded a goal after a very long review where it appeared he might have kicked the puck in. Did he hit it with his stick? It looked like he could have, but there was no indisputable proof that Cogliano legally played it after or not. Still, Cogliano was given the game-tying goal and Anaheim went on for the win.

The bad news for the Ducks, the teams that were in action that they're chasing each won. That's why it's so hard for them to overcome this deficit. Despite a big win over Chicago, they remained six points out of the playoffs.

Light-hearted moment of the night

We're adding this section tonight just to share this video from the Canucks-Stars game and coach Alain Vigneault cracking up uncontrollably on the bench.

Kevin Bieksa is seen giving a good chuckle too. Apparently it was in response to Vernon Fiddler's awesome Bieksa impression.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 26, 2012 7:25 pm
Edited on: February 26, 2012 7:47 pm
 

Sharks coach McLellan leaves game after being hit

McLellan was apparently responsive after the fall. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

There was a pretty scary moment in the second period of the Sharks' game in Minnesota on Sunday against the Wild. The cameras for FSN Minnesota didn't catch what happened, just everybody on the Sharks bench standing and looking awfully concerned.

Soon after coach Todd McLellan was seen coming to his feet then being helped down the tunnel back to the team's locker room.

The news came from the Sharks PR that McLellan was hit in the head by a stick on the bench accidentally. It might not sound like it, but seems like pretty good news. Of all the possibilities, that seems to be as good as you could have hoped. The Sharks PR said that he was alert and responsive in the locker room.

A little more detail from the Sharks PR.

The scene was very scary to behold with paramedics coming across the ice with a stretcher in case it was needed. So it was a great sight to see McLellan walking off the bench, even if it was with some assistance.

The Sharks are finishing up a long road trip that has seen them on the road for nine games and about two weeks. The game against the Wild was their last one before finally returning back to California. Especially after this, that plane can't get back to San Jose quick enough for the Sharks.

It's been a rough month or so for NHL coaches. Buffalo's Lindy Ruff suffered a couple of broken ribs at a Sabres practice and has been wearing a flak jacket since on the bench. Edmonton's Tom Renney suffered a concussion when he was hit with a puck.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 26, 2012 10:18 am
Edited on: February 26, 2012 12:00 pm
 

Morning Skate: Sharks, Wild meet desperate for W

Marleau and San Jose are in Minnesota. (US Presswire)

By Brian Stubits

The Morning Skate is back. Every morning for the rest of the season we're going to take a look at the games that have the greatest significance in the push for the postseason for you to digest while you drink your java. We'll throw in some miscellany for the fun of it.

Playoff Race

6 ET, San Jose at Minnesota

Here's a bit of a shocker: The San Jose Sharks wake up Sunday morning in seventh place in the Western Conference, only three points up on the three-way tie for eighth place. A nine-game road trip can do that to a team.

Those numbers are slightly skewed. The Sharks are the only team in spots 1-11 in the West that have played fewer than 62 games and the only team in the conference thus far who has played only 60. So there are games in hand on others in the picture, including the Coyotes, who now lead the Pacific Division outright.

That's why the final game of the trip today is a big one. Those games in hand mean nada if they aren't converted into points. They can't really afford to let the Coyotes get some separation in the division race with how incredibly hot they have been lately.

For the Wild, it means just staying in the race for that eighth seed. The magic number is more or less five points. If you fall any further behind that, the chances of coming back become very long. The Wild enter Sunday's game five points behind that logjam for eighth. The home games need to turn into two points for them.

With San Jose having lost eight of their last 11 games -- and the division lead -- it means we should have two desperate hockey teams on Sunday evening. Sounds like fun.

5 ET, Montreal at Florida

The Florida Panthers scored an absolutely huge win on Saturday night in Raleigh, taking down the Hurricanes in a shootout, 3-2. They were down 2-0 until Tomas Fleischmann hit for a score with 6:02 left and new addition Wojtek Wolski tied it with under two to play. It was Florida's third straight win on the road and vaulted them back into first in the Southeast while keeping games in hand on everybody else.

Ironically enough, while they have won three in a row on the road, they have lost four straight at home. That has to change if Florida wants to see the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade.

This represents the first chance a team in the Southeast Division will have a shot at reaching 70 points on the season, too. Oof. But at least Florida has played fewer games than any team, so they need to use these games in hand (four on Winnipeg, two on Washington) to push themselves back ahead of the division.

With Montreal coming to town, it's a perfect opportunity. The Canadiens have not won a game in regulation in their last six tries. The only win in that time came in a shootout four games ago. They enter today's matchup having scored two goals in the last three games, all losses.

But you can bet the Habs fans will still fill up the seats in Florida. It never quite feels like a road game for Montreal when it is in Sunrise. South Florida is a popular winter destination for the Quebecois, so Habs-Panthers is one of the rare tough tickets at the BankAtlantic Center.

3 ET, Vancouver at Dallas

That aforementioned logjam in the West? The Stars are part of it. By virtue of the tie-breakers at this point, the Stars are actually the team in the playoffs if they were to start today. Not too bad for a team that still seems to be a seller before tomorrow's trade deadline.

The Stars come into the game on a little roll, having won three in a row including Friday's 4-1 victory over the Wild. But the Canucks are a whole different cup of tea.

Vancouver has taken a lead on the Red Wings and Rangers in the Presidents' Trophy race and it would like to stay up there. The Northwest Division is damn near mathematically locked up already, they're up 18 points on Colorado. But that best record in the league is something worth fighting for, so this isn't a team that's already put it on cruise control.

Others worth watching

7 ET, Chicago at Anaheim: The up-and-down Blackhawks take on the desperate and hot Ducks. An Anaheim win could pull it within four of the eighth spot out West depending on results.

1 ET, Tampa Bay at New Jersey: It looked like the Lightning might have a little life a week ago, but not so much anymore. The Devils, though, are still fighting for that fourth spot in the East.

5 ET, Islanders at Ottawa: The above description of the Lightning describes the Islanders. The Senators are pretty safely in but still have an outside shot at the Northeast Division.

1 ET, Columbus at Pittsburgh: They most intriguing thing about this game -- other than how many points Evgeni Malkin can accumulate -- is if this is Rick Nash's final game with the Blue Jackets.

Your promised miscellany

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 25, 2012 10:50 pm
Edited on: February 25, 2012 11:03 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Coyotes, Kings and Capitals



By: Adam Gretz


There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Winners

1. Phoenix Coyotes: Is it too soon to give Dave Tippett the Jack Adams Award? Maybe, but it looks like he might have another one coming his way if this continues in Phoenix.

With their 3-1 win against the Oilers on Saturday afternoon the Coyotes won for the ninth time in the past 10 games, a stretch that has seen them go without a loss in regulation, and thanks to San Jose's loss in Nashville, they actually moved into sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division. For now, anyway.

And this is a team that looked like it may not make the playoffs as recently as three weeks ago.

[Related: Coyotes 3, Oilers 1]

2. Los Angeles Kings: Jeff Carter's debut with the Kings was a rather large success. He didn't record a point in the Kings' 4-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks, of course, but the fact the Kings scored four goals in a single game is impressive enough. Entering Saturday night they have scored just 18 goals in their previous 11 games.

Leading the was captain Dustin Brown as he did his part to respond to recent trade rumors with a hat trick, scoring two power play goals and a shorthanded goal, while also assisting on Willie Mitchell's second period goal.

Big-time performance for a Kings team that desperately needed it. Oh, hey, and another shutout for Jonathan Quick.

[Related: Kings 4, Blackhawks 0]

3. Washington Capitals: A fast start and a huge road win -- 4-2 over the Maple Leafs -- for what has been one of the worst road teams in the Eastern Conference . It's only the third road win for the Capitals in their past eight road games, and it allows them to keep pace with Florida and Winnipeg in the race for not only the No. 8 spot in the East, but also the top spot in the Southeast Division.

[Related: Capitals 4, Maple Leafs 2]

4. Wojtek Wolski and the Panthers: On the same day that the Florida Panthers acquired him from the New York Rangers, Wojtek Wolski was in the lineup for his new team and he not only scored his first goal of the season, it came with less than two minutes to play in the third period to tie the game at two, sending the game to overtime where the Panthers would eventually win in a shootout. That's how you make a debut and make an impact for your new team.

[Related: Panthers 3, Hurricanes 2 -- Wolski traded to Panthers]

Losers

1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Entering Saturday's game the playoff chances for the Tampa Bay Lightning were slim, especially now that the team has established itself as a seller. Their 8-1 loss to the Penguins can be described using only one word: Woof.

[Related: Penguins 8, Lightning 1 -- Malkin's highlight reel goal]

2. Toronto Maple Leafs: In what was a classic four-point game in the standings for both Toronto and Washington, the Maple Leafs got off to a slow start giving up two goals just three minutes into the first period and were never able to recover on their way to a 4-2 loss to the Capitals. The Leafs have now lost four in a row and eight out of their past nine. Perhaps being a buyer at the trade deadline isn't the best course of action for Toronto at this point.

Then again, Ron Wilson did his part to throw James Reimer in front of the bus during his post-game press conference, and seemed to be begging for a goaltender to be added. It could be an interesting 36 hours in Toronto.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com