|Rick Nash turned a 1-on-2 into a 1-on-none and putting the puck into the open left side of the net with 21.5 seconds left to break a 3-3 tie.
See the goal!
A few thoughts as we approach the last weekend before the All-Star break.
Goal of the year? -- If you haven’t seen it yet, check out Rick Nash’s highlight-reel game-winner against the Phoenix Coyotes. Nash's goal
Nash turned a 1-on-2 into a 1-on-none, maneuvering past Phoenix defensemen Derek Morris and Keith Ballard before weaving past goalie Mikael Tellqvist and putting the puck into the open left side of the net with 21.5 seconds left to break a 3-3 tie.
”It just seemed like the puck was on a string,” Nash said. “I made a couple of dekes and the puck just stayed with me. Pecs made a nice pass up and it was a 1-on-2. We had three guys back, so I figured I might as well try something.”
Talk the talk, walk the walk -- All it needed was a chorus of John Fogarty’s Center Field -- you know, the line that says, “Put me in coach, I’m ready to play.”
As shooter after shooter was denied in the shootout between Washington and Edmonton, Matt Bradley kept waiting for coach Bruce Boudreau to call his name. After 11 scoreless rounds, he couldn’t wait any more.
”He just said; 'I'm going to score, put me out there,' and he jumped over the board and he went in,” Boudreau said. “He told me, he didn't ask.”
And he scored. Bradley, who has all of two goals this season, beat Dwayne Roloson. When Olaf Kolzig stopped Sheldon Souray, the Caps had a 5-4 win.
”I was hoping I got to go before (backup goalie) Brent Johnson went,” Bradley said. “I figured if I can go before him, I'll be doing OK.”
He also admitted he might not have felt as confident as he acted.
”I told him, 'I'll score, let me go,’” Bradley said. “I don't think either of us actually believed what I was saying.”
Redemption -- Cristobal Huet’s gaffe helped the Atlanta Thrashers get the tying goal in the third period of Thursday night’s game against Montreal, so he was glad for the chance to redeem himself in the shootout.
He did. Montreal scored twice in the penalty-shot competition and Huet didn’t allow a goal, giving the Canadiens a 3-2 win.
”It was a good opportunity for me to really step up and make sure we didn't get beaten in the shootout,” said Huet, who also saw Marian Hossa’s first-period pass go into the net off his arm. “I definitely felt I owed the team something after the two goals.”
At last --Vesa Toskala had never won a shootout. In fact, the Toronto netminder didn’t even know how many he had lost.
”It seemed like I was 0-10 in shootouts ... 0-7 doesn't seem that bad now, but it's nice to get the two points,” Toskala said after Toronto’s 3-2 shootout win in Boston.
Toskala stopped shots by Phil Kessel and Marc Savard for his first shootout win in eight tries.
Mutual admiration society -- Henrik Zetterberg had nothing but praise for the goalie he beat in the shootout to give the Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
Zetterberg scored the only goal of the shootout by slipping a backhander between Luongo's pads after a fake.
”I could have gone high, but he opened up the five-hole,” Zetterberg said. “Luongo played a great game.”
The Canucks' goaltender also praised Zetterberg's move.
”It was a simple-yet-brilliant play,” said Luongo, who stood on his head much of the night and finished with 47 saves. “He carried from his forehand to his backhand, waited for the opening and put it five-hole.”
Filling in -- Ottawa’s big guns are taking a battering. Dany Heatley went down with a separated shoulder on Saturday, Jason Spezza missed the last half of Sunday’s game after a big hit, and now Daniel Alfredsson is hurting. The Senators’ captain left Thursday night’s 5-1 win in Carolina early in the second period with a hip injury.
”If you have the choice, you always want to have him in the lineup,” center Antoine Vermette said. “He's our best player. He's been our best player this year.”
Vermette did his part against the Hurricanes, scoring two goals. But he’s hoping Alfredsson, the Sens’ leading scorer with 29 goals and 60 points, is back soon.
”You want to play well overall, but definitely when you have some offensive guys going down, you know you have to regroup as a team and try to find some offense throughout the lineup,” Vermette said. ''Some nights it's going to be some other guys because we know we don't have another Heatley in our lineup. We're comfortable with the depth that we have so that we can play well as a team and win some games, and we did that tonight.”
Bad break -- Another argument for wooden sticks?
Anaheim’s Brandon Bochenski scored a power-play goal to open the scoring in Thursday night’s 2-1 win at Nashville, tipping in Mathieu Schneider’s shot. Schenider had a clean lane to shoot because penalty-killer Jerred Smithson had broken his stick on the play.
”That's the nature of the composite sticks,” Nashville goalie Chris Mason said. “If you are trying to block a slap shot, and it hits your stick, there's not much else you can do.”
Home-ice disadvantage -- San Jose has had troubles winning at home all season. But the Sharks have been at their worst against the Dallas Stars, one of the teams they’re battling for the Pacific Division lead.
Dallas’ 4-2 win on Thursday was the Stars’ sixth in a row at the Shark Tank. The Stars are 3-for-3 this season, and San Jose coach Ron Wilson can’t understand why his team struggles against Dallas at home.
“It seems every time we've played them in our building, they have outwaited us, and as the game has gone on, we've found a way to shoot ourselves in the feet," he said after the Sharks fell to 9-10-4 at home.
The only consolation for the Sharks: They’re 3-0-0 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.