In NHL Nightly Notables we start in New Jersey where two-thirds of the old “EGG line” had the Devils scrambling for answers. Meanwhile the Gionta brother reunion started off awfully well for Brian the Montreal Canadiens captain. Gionta, the former Albany River Rat, pushed a loose rebound past Johan Hedberg eleven seconds into the first period for his eighth on the season to give the Habs a 1-0 edge.
Shortly thereafter at 1:38 into the first, Lars Eller beat the Devils defense and chased Hedberg from the game with his second score of the season. The Devils then substituted in former Albany Devils netminder Mike McKenna for his New Jersey Devils home debut.
McKenna held his ground early on a Tomas Plekanec penalty shot, but unfortunately that would be the high point for McKenna and the Devils defense on the night.
Montreal then rang up three more tallies in the second, one of which was a power-play goal from ex-Devil Scott Gomez, whose fourth goal of the season put the Habs up 4-0.
Canadiens netminder Carey Price was rolling along with a 5-0 lead into the third, until Jason Arnott added to his team leading ninth goal of the season from former River Rat Patrik Elias and Dainius Zubrus to make it 5-1. For Elias it was his team leading 12th assist and 15th point. But Montreal still skated away with a 5-1 win.
Across the river in New York, former Albany River Rat and now New York Islander Trevor Gillies got into a first period bout with the New York Rangers Derek Boogaard. Gillies now has 50 PIM on the year.
The New York – New York rivalry also produced a hat-trick performance from Marion Gaborik, including the winner in a wild 6-5 Rangers victory.
In Boston, former Albany River Rats defenseman Johnny Boychuk was a +2 on the night, as were most of the other Bruins as they routed the Tampa Bay Lightning on home ice 8-1. Boychuk is a +6 on the season.
At Pittsburgh it was Sidney Crosby three the Atlanta Thrashers two. Atlanta tried to rally late when Nik Antropov scored on an assist from ex-Rats forward Niclas Bergfors, but the Pens were still able to hold on in the end. For Bergfors it was his eleventh helper on the year and 17th point.
Down in Dallas, former Adirondack Red Wings forward Mike Knuble tied things at 1-1 netting his fourth goal of the year on the power-play for Washington’s lone goal of the night. Yet it wasn’t nearly enough as just 20 seconds later in the third period, the Stars Brandon Segal scored the eventual winner to beat the Capitals 2-1.
Finishing out west in Los Angeles, where former River Rat Brad Richardson recorded an assist in the Kings 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers.