The Edmonton Oilers weren’t able to extend their win streak to five games Wednesday; while Washington winger Alex Ovechkin failed to steal a single point for a fifth straight game and Columbus lost another player to injury. What were the top stories of this month’s hockey season?
Ovechkin having a hard season
It has been an October to forget for Alexander Ovechkin. After scoring five goals and six points in four games to start the season, the Washington Capitals’ star left-winger was without a point in his last five outings, the longest drought of his nine-plus NHL seasons. He only had seven shots in his previous seven games. Washington (4-3-2) had allowed three third-period goals and had lost three of four. Is the start of something new for the superstar, or will this be over quickly?
Gordie Howe has a stroke
Prior to the national anthem, a picture was shown on the scoreboard of Red Wings legend Gordie Howe, who had a stroke Sunday, but his condition is improving. Concerns for Howe and hopes for his recovery have poured in from across the hockey world and beyond since news of his stroke emerged Tuesday afternoon.
New York Rangers defenceman John Moore had served his second suspension of 2014, starting Saturday. The NHL slapped Moore with a five-game ban for an illegal check to the head of Minnesota Wild forward Erik Haula on Monday night. Moore, 23, would be eligible to return on Nov. 11 at home against Pittsburgh. In May, he was suspended for two games for an illegal check to the head of Montreal forward Dale Weise in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. Moore’s punishment follows Monday’s two-game suspension handed San Jose Sharks enforcer John Scott for leaving the bench the previous night to fight Anaheim’s Tim Jackman.
Oilers ransacked by Pekka Rinne
It took a hot goalie to put an end to the Edmonton Oilers’ four-game win streak. Nashville’s Pekka Rinne turned aside 22 of 23 shots to lift his team to a 4-1 victory after it suffered its first regulation loss of the season on Saturday against Pittsburgh. Rinne improved to 6-1-1 on the season, lowered his goals-against average to 1.71 and raised his save percentage to .936. Offensively, the 6-1-2 Predators were led by Craig Smith’s two-goal performance. Taylor Hall replied with his team-leading sixth goal for the Oilers, who entered the game looking for their first five-game win streak since March 26-April 3, 2013.
More injuries for Blue Jackets
The Toronto Maple Leafs wouldn’t have to face forward Mark Letestu or eight other Columbus Blue Jackets players on Friday night. Letestu, who had three goals and five points in nine games this season, has missed two to four weeks with a groin injury. Columbus is also without forwards Artem Anisimov (upper-body), Nick Foligno (stiff neck), Matt Calvert (upper-body), Brandon Dubinsky (abdominal surgery), Boone Jenner (broken hand) and Nathan Horton (back) along with defenceman James Wisniewski (broken finger) and goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (broken finger). Still, the Blue Jackets had a 4-5-0 record.