Game recaps from a busy Saturday night in the NHL.
CSNWASHINGTON.COM/THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Center Nicklas Backstrom made a triumphant return from offseason hip surgery, scoring once and setting up two others to lead the Washington Capitals to a 4-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. Alexander Ovechkin also scored for the Capitals, who held the Hurricanes to just 19 shots. Jeff Skinner tallied the lone Hurricanes goal.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Artem Anisimov, Teuvo Teravainen, Marian Hossa and Patrick Kane scored to give the Chicago Blackhawks a 4-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, handing the latter their sixth straight loss.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been talk of a coaching change for the Blue Jackets if they don’t snap out of their early-season swoon soon. A trade is possible, though I don’t see how a significant shake-up deal can take place this early in the season with 18 teams carrying less than $4 million in cap space, with 11 of those carrying less than $2 million. That’s why I think a coaching change is more likely.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE/THE BUFFALO NEWS: Goaltender Ben Bishop set a franchise record for wins (84) with a 31-save performance backstopping the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Alex Killorn netted the game winner later in the third, while the Sabres’ Sam Reinhart tallied his first career NHL goal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Believe it or not, the Sabres were the better team in this one, as they outplayed the Lightning for long stretches of this game, holding a 16-3 advantage in shots on goal in the first period.
NEWSDAY/SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: Kyle Okposo enjoyed a three-point performance with a goal and two assists to lead the New York Islanders to a 6-3 win over the San Jose Sharks. Already missing Logan Couture (broken fibula), the Sharks were without veteran defenseman Paul Martin (lower-body injury) for this game.
THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS/MIAMI HERALD: Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn scored two goals each while goalie Kari Lehtonen stretched his record this season to 3-0-0 as the Dallas Stars overcome a 2-0 deficit to double up the Florida Panthers 4-2. Aleksander Barkov and Brandon Pirri scored for the Panthers.
BOSTON HERALD/THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC: Patrice Bergeron scored twice as the Boston Bruins downed the Arizona Coyotes by a scored of 5-3. Coyotes captain Shane Doan had a three-point night (1 goal, 2 assists) in a losing cause.
NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
THE DENVER POST: Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie received a three-game suspension for charging and interference on Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres in a recent game.