The Outdoor Game Sunday between Philadelphia and Boston was quite a spectacle. The game looked so great without the fans and reminded me of the local rink on a crisp Sunday afternoon after the Zamboni had cleaned the ice.
Of course, there weren’t mountains in the background at Wilmington Park but the scenery, especially before the start of the second period with the sun setting behind the mountains, was unbelievable.
That was a perfect setting at Lake Tahoe and hopefully the NHL can do it again, perhaps at Lake Louise or another breathtaking site.
The NHL was smart in moving the game from a late morning/early afternoon start to a late afternoon/early evening time as they learned from the previous day when the sun wreaked havoc on the ice, forcing the second and third periods to be pushed back nine hours so the game could be completed between Vegas and Colorado. It was not a great sight to see the players and officials tripping over holes or water on the ice due to the sun on Saturday.
There were four games in the NHL on Sunday.
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WASHINGTON 4 NEW JERSEY 3
It was a battle of the third-string goalies in the afternoon game as Aaron Dell got the start for the Devils while Craig Anderson was in goal for Washington.
It was the first start of the season for both goaltenders and Anderson came out on top as he made 23 saves to give the Capitals a 4-3 win over New Jersey.
But it was Dell who was terrific as he made 37 saves and kept the Devils in the contest as Washington fired 15 shots on goal in each of the final two periods after he made 11 saves in the opening period.
The problem was the Capitals power play was firing on all cylinders as they went 3-4 with T.J. Oshie scoring twice with the man-advantage and then set up Alex Ovechkin for an easy tap-in as Washington fought back from a 2-0 deficit in the second period by scoring four straight goals for the victory.
Jack Hughes was impressive the whole game, showcasing his talent and showing why he was the top pick in the 2019 Draft. He scored his fourth of the season and looked so good the whole game.
Andreas Johnsson gave the Devils an early 1-0 lead with his third of the season. It was the only goal of the first as New Jersey came out flying and had the first seven shots on goal. Johnsson’s power play goal was the only goal of the first period.
John Carlson tied the game at 2 early in the third after both teams swapped goals in the second. Carlson had a two-point afternoon and broke a three-game pointless streak.
Nikita Gusev, with his first of the season, scored with 11.9 seconds to go to make the score close. Gusev has only two points in 10 games this season and has been a major disappointment to both the Devils and his fantasy managers, if he has any left.
Nicklas Backstrom and Kyle Palmieri each had two assists.
Ryan Murray had six hits.
Congratulations go out to Travis Zajac on becoming the 351st NHL player to play in 1,000 games. He joins Martin Brodeur, Ken Daneyko and Patrik Elias to hit the 1,000 mark in games played with the Devils.
OTTAWA 3 MONTREAL 2 (Overtime)
Brady Tkachuk scored the game-winner as he tried to pass the puck, it banked off the skate of Montreal defenseman Alexander Romanov, right back to Tkachuk and he fired it home to give Ottawa a 3-2 overtime win.
The Canadiens, who started the season with so much promise at 7-1-2, have now dropped five of their last seven, going 2-4-1, and are starting to get dangerously close to the fifth spot in the North standings and out of the playoff picture.
The Canadiens received good goaltending once again from back up Jake Allen who stopped 36 shots but a couple of fluke goals in regulation proved to be his undoing.
The Senators struck back on a fluky goal by Drake Batherson who made some nice moves to get in front of the net where his toe drag and shot bounced high and over the shoulder of Allen and into the net.
Allen got unlucky again in the third as Ottawa took a 2-1 lead when Zaitsev’s shot from the point was tipped by rookie Josh Norris. It bounced high and over Allen and into the net.
The Habs tied it with 5:25 left in the third as Corey Perry gathered in a pass from Jeff Petry at center, went around Erik Gudbranson like he was a pylon and then went wide on Murray and tucked it past him into the net.
Murray redeemed himself from Thursday’s contest when he gave up six goals on 26 shots in relief of the injured Marcus Hogberg, as he stopped 30-of-32 shots to pick up his third win of the season.
Jonathan Drouin was injured in the second period and did not return.
Tkachuk had eight shots on goal.
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BOSTON 7 PHILADELPHIA 3
It was a beautiful afternoon, twilight and evening as the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers hooked up at Lake Tahoe. It turned out to be a lot better evening for the Bruins.
David Pastrnak had the hat-trick as he was re-united with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron after he played second line time on Thursday with David Krejci and Nick Ritchie. The trio of Pastrnak, Bergeron and Marchand are one of the top-three lines in the NHL and they play so well together. It was the second hat-trick in outdoor competition as Tyler Toffoli turned the trick last season on February 15, 2020 for the Los Angeles Kings.
Charlie Coyle, Ritchie, Charlie McAvoy and Trent Frederic with his first ever NHL goal in his 33rd game over three seasons completed the scoring for Boston. That’s quite a record, no goals in 32 indoor games for Frederic and a perfect one-for-one in outdoor contests.
James van Riemsdyk continued his outstanding season with a hand in all three Flyer goals as he scored once and added a pair of assists. Linemate Joel Farabee scored his eighth of the season, matching last season’s total, and Sean Couturier, who also had an assist, scored his third of the campaign. Van Riemsdyk has eight goals and 21 points in only 15 games with the Flyers this season.
It was a horrible evening for Carter Hart who gave up six goals on only 23 shots before he was replaced at the start of the third period. It was a 3-2 game late in the second period when Boston struck for three goals in 1:39 and that was the hockey game.
Brian Elliott came on in the third period and stopped 12-of-13 shots.
Tuukka Rask made only 16 saves on 19 shots but picked up his seventh win of the season.
Marchand, Craig Smith, Connor Clifton and John Moore each had two assists for Boston while Kevin Hayes had a pair of helpers for the Flyers.
Jeremy Lauzon suffered an upper-body injury and played only 34 seconds before his night was over.
Pastrnak was a plus-four.
WINNIPEG 4 VANCOUVER 3 (Overtime)
Pierre-Luc Dubois scored his second of the game only 27 seconds into overtime to lead Winnipeg to a 4-3 win over Vancouver.
The Canucks managed a point when Elias Pettersson scored his second of the game with only 38 seconds remaining in the third to send the contest into overtime.
Mark Scheifele scored once and added two assists to give him 10 goals and 26 points this season.
Neal Pionk on the power play also scored for the Jets who moved into sole possession of third place in the North with 23 points, one behind Edmonton with two games in hand. The Canucks sit three points out of fourth but the Canadiens have five games in hand.
Brandon Sutter opened the scoring for Vancouver with his sixth of the season.
Connor Hellebuyck stopped 31 shots for his eighth win of the season.
Braden Holtby made 27 saves and took the overtime loss.
Blake Wheeler had three assists while J.T. Miller had two.
Derek Forbort had nine penalty minutes including a fight with Zack McEwen at the 2:40 mark of the first. McEwen ended the evening with five minutes. Forbort also had five blocked shots.
Kyle Connor had seven shots on goal.
David Pastrnak – 3
Elias Pettersson – 2
T.J. Oshie – 2
Pierre-Luc Dubois – 2
Blake Wheeler – 3
Mark Scheifele – 2
J.T. Miller – 2
Kyle Palmieri – 2
Nicklas Backstrom – 2
James van Riemsdyk – 2
Kevin Hayes – 2
Craig Smith – 2
Brad Marchand – 2
John Moore – 2
Connor Clifton – 2
Shots on Goal
Brady Tkachuk – 8
Kyle Connor – 7
Ryan Murray – 6
Ben Chiarot – 6
Derek Forbort – 9
Zack McEwen – 5
Anders Bjork – 4