This is best of the NHL, a look at the best plays, performances and players around the league on a nightly basis.
|Best of the NHL: Jan. 25|
The Washington Capitals might not be the "best of" anything right now but put themselves in a position to win. Scoring twice in the latter half of the third period to come back and tie the New Jersey Devils, the Caps had a chance to break their season-opening drought. It wasn't meant to be.
Ilya Kovalchuk ensured Washington would remain winless in its first four games for the first time since 1993-94 with an overtime goal from a tough angle. Kovalchuk's winner came after Alex Ovechkin got caught between his own defensemen and was unable to get back into Marek Zidlicky's passing lane, giving him a clear look to Kovalchuk.
The defensive-zone breakdown was just another mishap in a series of mishaps for the Caps in the young season. The good news for Washington fans is that the team showed some resiliency while trailing in the third, but it's far from comforting in an 0-3-1 start.
|Best Comeback: Winnipeg Jets|
While the Capitals' comeback was nice, Winnipeg was able to complete a turnaround of its own and actually win.
In his first visit to the MTS Centre, Sidney Crosby scored twice in the first period to put the Penguins in the driver's seat after 20 minute. The Jets, however, rattled off three of their own in the middle period. Evander Kane started the comeback after finishing off this pretty tic-tac-toe play started on a drop pass by Dustin Byfuglien.
Byfuglien added a goal on the bullet from the point to tie things up, and Winnipeg captain Andrew Ladd scored the go-ahead goal 4:21 later. An empty-netter from Blake Wheeler sealed the deal and gave the Jets a nice home victory.
|Best Shot: Damien Brunner|
Brunner scored 25 goals for Zug in just 33 games before leaving for Red Wings camp. Some wondered how his scoring in the Swiss league would translate at the NHL level. If the release on this shot is any indication, pretty well.
|Most Fun Game: Ottawa at Tampa Bay|
Ten goals, 66 shots on net, back-and-forth action, a rocking building and the most beautiful in-arena video board in the league made for a highly-entertaining match-up in Tampa.
Matt Carle got things started with a goal just 1:09 into the game, his first since returning to the Lightning this offseason. Eric Condra then knotted the game early in the second period before things just went and got crazy.
There were five goals scored between 14:30 and 18:10 of the second period, three from Ottawa, including a pair just 15 seconds apart before Steven Stamkos stopped the bleeding … 15 seconds later. Kyle Turris then potted his fourth goal of the season to give Ottawa a 4-2 lead before Victor Hedman got the Lightning back within a goal.
There was more of a flow to the third period, but Tampa Bay ended up scoring three unanswered with Ryan Malone netting both the game-tying and go-ahead goals. I probably could have saved some time by just rolling the video, I guess. Here it is, anyway.
|Best Goaltender: Cory Schneider|
Though Vancouver's offense cruised at the Honda Center, scoring five goals, Schneider made several key saves early. Coming off that disastrous opening-night start, Schneider now has back-to-back 30-plus save games and his first shutout of the season. The goaltending situation might be far from solved, but Schneider and the Canucks can be very happy with how Friday night went.
|Best One-Two Punch: Pavel Datsyuk to Henrik Zetterberg|
It might be easier to count games where Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg don't do something amazing. These world-class teammates connected for another one for the highlight reel in Detroit's 5-3 win over Minnesota.
Datsyuk makes it look easy, but slinging a cross-ice backhand pass through traffic is just silly. Zetterberg made sure to make that dish an assist by faking the shot and hesitating just long enough to create the space that he needed to slide the puck into (and under) the net.