A Happy Martin Luther King Jr. Day to all! There were two NHL contests on tap this afternoon. Both of local note, the New Jersey Devils scored early and often in their 5-2 win over the New York Islanders and the Boston Bruins did much the same in their 7-0 destruction of the Carolina Hurricanes.
On the Island it was a good day for some former Albany Devils. Vladimir Zharkov registered his first career NHL goal as the puck slid of the far post and onto his stick as he pushed it home for a 1-0 Devils edge. Zharkov’s Albany teammate Mattias Tedenby and Jason Arnott were credited with the assists. More on Tedenby in a bit.
Not 57 seconds later New Jersey was at it again, this time on the power-play. Ilya Kovalchuk blasted his 13th over the blocker of Kevin Poulin, doubling the Devils lead. Andy Greene and one-time Albany River Rat Travis Zajac had the assists. There were also a couple of scraps involving a couple of “Devil-Rats,” Mark Fraser and David Clarkson against Zenon Konopka and Matt Martin.
Starting the scoring in the second was Tedenby on a pretty goal. The Devils flashy forward picked up the puck, faked out Islanders defenseman Andrew MacDonald and then swooped in to lift a backhanded goal over Poulin to triple the Devils advantage. Tedenby’s fifth came from Fraser and Rod Pelley.
Then New York went on the attack with two tallies in 56 seconds from P.A. Parenteau and Michael Grabner, the eleventh for each respectively which pulled the Isles to within one. The Islanders would later have a controversial goal waived off due to intereference in front of the cage that saw Marty Brodeur get knocked over. It didn’t look like interference to this writer initially but the call was made nonetheless, no goal.
The Devils then went back to work with two goals in 56 seconds of their own. Pelley lifted one past Poulin for his fourth and the Devils fourth marker on the day from Fraser and Arnott. Then it was Dainius Zubrus putting home a loose puck in front as it bounced off Patrik Elias after a drive from Brian Rolston.
Meanwhile in Boston the Bruins routed their former New England rivals the Carolina Hurricanes who must’ve thought they were playing a night game.
B’s Captain Zdeno Chara posted a hat-trick with goals number eight, nine and ten on the season, including two on the power-play to key the Boston blowout.
Canes netminder Cam Ward was chased after just the first two Bruins tallies, though ex-Rats netminder Justin Peters fared no better stopping just 28 of 33 as the onslaught continued. On the other end the Bruins All-Star keeper Tim Thomas was very much up to the task snatching all 31 biscuits sent his way for a shutout victory.