Brent Burns lost the Wildman look but retained his weirdo powers in his return with San Jose. That and more in our morning recap.
Essential Water Cooler
San Jose was virtually unstoppable at the beginning of the season, pushing the pace and racking up shots to propel them up the Western standings. But then winger Brent Burns went down with a mouth injury (“lower face,” in playoff parlance?) and the Sharks lost a bit of mojo. Burns came back last night and Los Tiburones pasted Tampa Bay 5-1. Coincidence? The fact is, Burns is both a dangerous weapon and a fun guy in the room. So how dangerous are the Sharks at full strength?
The Rangers topped the Stars 3-2 and got on the board with this awesome Rick Nash tally, the big man's first of the season.
Men of the Night
Jonathan Toews, Chicago: The captain haunted his hometown of Winnipeg, putting up four points as the Hawks wrecked the Jets 6-3.
Gustav Nyquist, Detroit: Fresh off his return from the minors, Nyquist helped snap the Wings' seven-game losing streak by potting two goals in a 4-3 triumph over Carolina.
Matt Cullen, Nashville: The veteran center pointed on all four Predators goals as the Nashville crew took out the Maple Leafs 4-2.
Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers: Not only did 'The King' stop 41 against Dallas, but he also chipped in an assist on a long pass to Ryan McDonagh.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton: The Oilers are hot – albeit against mediocre teams – but still! 'The Nuge' played early Santa for the Copper and Blue, dishing out three helpers in a 4-1 destruction of Florida.
Better Luck Next Time
Sure, the Blackhawks are deadly, but Olli Jokinen's half-hearted backchecking led to a much-too-easy Chicago score. That's not the sort of effort you want to see from one of your team's most experienced players and Jokinen ended up minus-3 on the night.