With almost the entire division in action last night, let’s take a quick tour around the games to see how everyone fared.
Atlantic Division Round Up:
Lightning 4, Blackhawks 2
Most importantly, the good guys secured a victory over the Hawks last night. Check out Justin’s recap to get all the details but the Bolts played shorthanded for most of the night. They started in an 11/7 alignment with Nikita Kucherov missing the game and then during the game, Steven Stamkos got dinged and didn’t play after the first period. With just ten forwards and missing their two best, the Bolts still managed to pull off the victory.
Anthony Cirelli was the best player on the ice for most of the night scoring one goal, nearly getting another, and then creating the empty netter that put the game away. Ondrej Palat also looked great continuing to suggest that he’s healthier than he has been in a couple years.
After the game, Jon Cooper announced that Stamkos had a lower body injury and chose to stay on the bench instead of going back to the locker room, which suggests it isn’t serious.
Cooper said Stamkos sustained a lower-body injury, aggravated something early on. "It was good on him. We gave him the option to leave the game and he didn't want to do it, wanted to hang out w/ his teammates on the bench and cheer them on." #Bolts #TBLvsCHI— Bryan Burns (@BBurnsNHL) November 22, 2019
The Sabres were the only team in the Atlantic that left their fans disappointed last night. They played well controlling 54% of the expected goals but because they’re the Sabres and they were playing the Bruins, they still lost. The win kept Boston in first place in the division and left Buffalo just one point ahead of the Lightning for fifth place despite having played three more games.
The Panthers continued their hot start to the season winning an improbable game against the Ducks. They trailed 4-0 in the second period before reeling off five straight goals including two in the third period to tie and the game winner in overtime.
Anaheim controlled the game even as the allowed the goals getting nearly 60% of the expected goals. But a heater’s a heater and the Panthers are on one. They continue to hold down second place in the division
Maple Leafs 3, Coyotes 1
The Sheldon Keefe era in Toronto started with a win on the road over the Yotes. For the people convinced Mike Babcock was the problem, this must feel like sweet vindication as the Leafs controlled the game and got a good result. But forgive me if I’m a little skeptical that a new coach can make a big impact in one game. It will take weeks before we really know that this new version of the Leafs will look like.
But for one night at least, Leafs fans have hope that they can salvage their season. The win moved them past the Sabres and into fourth in the division.
Blue Jackets 5, Red Wings 4
The Red Wings scored four goals and lost by one, which is probably a perfect game for their fans as they progress toward another draft lottery. When a team is mid-tank, nothing is better for their fans than losing a fun high scoring game. So enjoy it, Wings fans. And go watch some Alexis Lafreniere highlights or something to celebrate.
Yesterday was a slow news day. The Leafs did announce that Sheldon Keefe’s contract is for three years meaning that it will expire one year before Mike Babcock’s. I guess one benefit of being the richest team in the league is you can pay as many coaches as you want whether they’re still actually coaching for you or not.