The first half of the NHL season came to an end with five games on Wednesday night and it was not an evening to remember for the home teams.
Wednesday marked the 94th time this season that there were at least four games on the schedule, and it was the only time that the visiting team won each. Visiting teams swept all three completed games on Nov. 1, 10 and 17 as well as on Jan. 28, but this marked the only time this season that a schedule with at least four contests finished with the home team losing each game.
Three of the five visiting teams were favored according to the Las Vegas odds, which speaks more about the teams playing on home ice.
The Los Angeles Kings gave up a first-period goal to the Detroit Red Wings. Los Angeles scored in the final two minutes of both the second and third periods to rally for the 5-3 victory.
Phillip Danault scored twice while Jonathan Quick stopped 22 shots as the Kings went 4-0-2 on its road trip. Los Angeles outshot Detroit 45-25 and heads into the break 11-6-5 on the road to move into second place in the Pacific Division behind Vegas.
Detroit, which was in playoff position for several weeks earlier in the season, goes into the All-Star break nine points behind Boston for the final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference.
The Minnesota Wild saw Kevin Fiala, Frederick Gaudreau and Mats Zuccarello finish with a goal and an assist each while 10 of the 12 forwards had at least one point in a 5-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Minnesota (+2000) has the best odds to win the Stanley Cup among the five teams to win on Wednesday.
Minnesota, which has played the fewest games in the Western Conference, is in third place in the Central Division. The Wild, who have allowed the second-fewest goals in the Western Conference, blocked 25 shots in the win while All-Star Cam Talbot stopped all 30 shots for his first shutout of the season.
The Arizona Coyotes head into the break not only with the fewest points in the Western Conference, but with the fewest goals scored and most allowed among teams in the Western Conference. The visiting Calgary Flames handed Arizona a 4-2 loss.
Defenseman Christopher Tanev, who hasn’t had more than two points in a game since the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, had a goal and three assists for his first four-point game in 611 regular-season games.
Make it a career night for Chris Tanev. His first ever four-point game.
— Pat Steinberg (@Fan960Steinberg) February 3, 2022
Blake Coleman had two goals and an assist as the Flames take a three-game winning streak and 16-7-2 road record into the break. The game never budged from the 5½-goal total set by the NHL betting lines as the result headed over that total on Coleman’s third-period goal.
The Washington Capitals was playing without Alex Ovechkin, who leads the Capitals with 29 goals, due to COVID-19 protocols. Without their top finisher, the Capitals lost their third straight home game against a Western Conference team. Washington failed to score on three power-play opportunities.
Washington will be in fourth place in the Metropolitan Division when the regular season resumes on Monday.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored twice in the final 4:03 to lift the Edmonton Oilers to a 5-3 win. Nugent-Hopkins prevented Edmonton from losing after taking an early three-goal lead. Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist to move within a point of Jonathan Huberdeau of the Florida Panthers for the NHL scoring lead. His 32 goals are one back of Chris Kreider of the New York Rangers for the top mark in the league.
Finally, the expansion Seattle Kraken recorded the franchise’s first shutout as Philipp Grubauer stopped 19 shots in a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders.
It was a scoreless game until Jared McCann’s 19th goal at 6:04 of the third period had the Kraken on their way to their sixth road victory of the season. It matched Seattle’s largest margin of victory on the road.
Next up is the NHL All-Star Game festivities featuring 3×3 games between the divisions culminating with Saturday’s title game. Play resumes on Monday when Carolina plays at Toronto and the New Jersey Devils head on the road to meet the Ottawa Senators.