By Ryan Boyd, Featured Writer
Sunday’s slate of games saw winning streaks extended and losing trends ended.
In all, the four NHL games were decided by only six goals in what proved to be an entertaining night on the ice.
Shocking Scene of the Night
Anaheim Ducks 1, Columbus Blue Jackets 3
Drop your gloves, this is about to get ugly.
The Columbus Blue Jackets (2-9-1) and Anaheim Ducks (5-5-1) matchup felt more like a UFC main event than a hockey game Sunday night at Nationwide Arena.
In all, the two clubs got in four fights, committed eight penalties a piece and combined to rack up 56 minutes in the penalty box before the clock hit zero. It was one of the most aggressive games of hockey that NHL fans have seen in the 2011-2012 season.
However, the violent nature of the contest seemed to fuel the play of the Blue Jackets. As a team Columbus appeared different then they had for the majority of the season – as if they have finally realized how they can win.
Anaheim, on the other hand, appeared rattled by the brutality of the contest.
The Ducks went scoreless on the power play and only fired 21 shots on goal throughout the evening. They also only put one goal on the board, which is a full tally below their usual average.
Defensively, backup goaltender Dan Ellis gave the struggling Blue Jackets three goals and only stopped 85 percent of the pucks put on net. The three goals allowed was nearly a point higher than his 2.01 goals against average on the year.
Overall, it was a dominating performance by Columbus. In fact, even though it was truly unbelievable to see four fights in one game, it was almost as shocking watching Ducks be defeated fairly easily by the worst team (statistically) in the NHL.
Moving forward, Columbus will enjoy four of its next five games at home. The Jackets are 2-3-1 at Nationwide Arena so far this season. Conversely, Anaheim will continue their current road trip on Tuesday at Washington.
Other Games Sunday Night
St. Louis Blues 2, Edmonton Oilers 4
The Edmonton Oilers (7-2-2) pushed their winning streak to five games with an impressive victory over the St. Louis Blues (5-6-0). The game was won in the second period when the Oilers ambushed the Blues with three goals to extend the lead to 4-1. Ryan Smyth scored twice and outstanding rookie Ryan Nugent-Hopkins provided two helpers in the winning effort. Edmonton will attempt to continue the streak Thursday at Los Angeles. St. Louis suffered their second defeat in a row but will return home to face off with the Vancouver Canucks who they beat 3-0 this past Wednesday.
Los Angeles Kings 2, Colorado Avalanche 3
It took four tries, but the Colorado Avalanche (7-4-0) have finally won a game at the Pepsi Center. They snuck by the Los Angeles Kings (6-3-2) on a third period goal by center Matt Duchene (my player to watch Sunday night). Avalanche netminder Semyon Varlamov was impressive in the contest saving 30 of 32 shots fired on goal. Colorado will continue its recent home stand Wednesday when the Coyotes come to town. Los Angeles, on the other hand, will look to end their current funk against the streaking Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Ottawa Senators 3
The Ottawa Senators (7-5-0) just keep on winning, except this time they didn’t need a third period comeback to pull it off. The Senators improved their winning streak to six straight by scoring once in all three periods to narrowly defeat the Toronto Maple Leafs (7-3-1) in front of an above capacity crowd at Scotiabank Place. The Leafs had chances to tie the contest late, but could not convert on on goalie Robin Lehner. Ottawa will take on the defending champs Tuesday in Boston, while Toronto will travel to new jersey for a battle with the Devils.