NHL: 3 stories from Monday night
Leafs begin road trip with loss; Flyers bury Lightning
The Toronto Maple Leafs began their road trip with a rugged loss to the Los Angeles Kings; powerhouse Tampa Bay had a surprise in Philadelphia; while a team record-setting goal by Alex Ovechkin spelled the difference in a Capitals' victory.
Catch up on what happened Monday night in the NHL:
Leafs get 'Jonesed' in L.A.
Buoyed by a win over Columbus in their first game of the second half of the NHL season, the Maple Leafs knew they'd have their work cut out for them in a four-game road swing featuring a trio of games in California and one in St. Louis.
They quickly found out just how rugged it would be when they surrendered a goal in the opening minute in Los Angeles and an empty-netter in the final minute to fall to the Kings 2-0.
In a hard-hitting affair where they held the Kings to only 19 shots, it took only 37 seconds and a video review for the Kings to get on the board. Anze Kopitar's shot in the opening minute was quickly in and out of the net, striking the camera behind Jonathan Bernier. Play went the other way but was whistled down for a review, yielding the opening goal.
After that, it was a matter of how many hits the Leafs would absorb from Drew Doughty and the Kings and the inability to put a puck past Kings netminder Martin Jones who stopped 20 shots for his 7th career shutout.
With one minute remaining in the game, Marian Gaborik iced the victory with an empty-net goal.
Flyers erupt to shock Lightning
It wasn't a good night for goaltenders' save percentages as the Lightning and the Flyers lit the red light often in Tampa Bay's 7-3 victory.
With the Lighting leading the NHL in goals scored and the Flyers employing 33-year-old rookie Rob Zepp in just his second start, it might have been forecast that Tampa Bay would be the team doing the majority of the scoring. Not so.
The evening's barrage began with Philadelphia's Chris Vandevelde finding the range with a skillful tip-in.
VandeVelde gets the screen and the tip to open the scoring in <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBLvsPHI?src=hash">#TBLvsPHI</a>. 1 - 1 in the 1st. <a href="https://t.co/J6QQWRRQr9">https://t.co/J6QQWRRQr9</a>—@NHL
Philly led 2-1 after the first period when the scoring began in earnest. Five more different Flyers marksmen scored, two in 53 seconds against Evgeni Nabokov and then three more against his replacement, Ben Bishop. For the game, Nabokov allowed four goals on 13 shots and Bishop three on 12 chances.
Zepp, called up when Steve Mason was injured against Boston, earned his second victory is as many NHL starts and his first at Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center. He was the oldest goaltender to make his NHL debut since 1926.
Capitals edge Avalanche with Ovechkin power
Semyon Varlamov has been a key factor in Colorado's three-game winning streak, matching their season high, with his strong play. Since his return from injury on Dec. 23, Varlamov has posted a 6-2-0 record with a 1.97 goals-against average. But it was a roughing penalty called against him with the score tied at 1-1 than put Washington on the power play and they converted on Alex Ovechkin's 22nd goal of the season, the decider in the Capitals' 2-1 victory.
Troy Brouwer found Ovechkin with room to operate and the Washington sharpshooter zipped a shot past Varlamov. it was Ovechkin's 74th game-winning goal, breaking a tie with Peter Bondra for the club's record.
Braden Holtby stopped 30 of 31 Avalanche shots to earn his 21st victory of the season.
Jay Beagle opened the scoring for Washington with a first period score on a backhander.
Beagle backhand breaks the deadlock. <a href="https://twitter.com/washcaps">@washcaps</a> 1 - 0. End of the 1st. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/COLvsWSH?src=hash">#COLvsWSH</a> <a href="https://t.co/7JWVwntADY">https://t.co/7JWVwntADY</a>—@NHL
Alex Tanguay's second period power play tied the game for Colorado before Ovechkin went to work on his decisive score.
It was the sixth win in a row on home ice for the red-hot Capitals who have a 13-1-4 record in their last 18 starts.