First of all, a big thank-you to Veterans everywhere. Thank you for everything that you give for your Country. Our praise for your efforts shouldn’t be limited to just one day.
Wednesday was full of surprises in the NHL and things that…well…were not so surprising.
The Night that Was:
Since losing 3-1 on opening night, the St. Louis Blues had really been on a tear. They had won seven-straight heading in to last night, but fell flat in a big way, losing 8-1. That was just the third time in those eight games that they had allowed more than one goal (four shutouts during that span).
As has been their problem throughout their recent slide, the Toronto Maple Leafs got outworked all over the ice in Florida last night, but at least they scored a goal. The Leafs hadn’t scored in regulation since the third period of Saturday’s game against Buffalo. That spanned five minutes plus overtime, Tuesday’s game, and nearly 55 minutes of Wednesday’s game. Mikhail Grabovski stopped the goalless slide at just over 140 minutes.
Lindy Ruff coached in his 1,000th game last night for the Buffalo Sabres, and while it was a tad more exciting than he would have hoped for. The teams traded leads all game long until Tyler Ennis tied the game in the third, and Thomas Vanek (who had a great deke to fool Johan Hedberg) and Derek Roy scored in the shootout for Buffalo, although you’ll hear more about Kovalchuk’s multi-million dollar flub than either of those goals. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who upgraded their defense in the off-season so things like this wouldn’t happen, blew a two-goal lead in the third period last night. They didn’t just blow it though, they ended up on the wrong end of what turned out to be a fairly one-sided score. The Bruins got five unanswered goals in the third period from five different scorers to cement a 7-4 win. What’s on Tonight? There are ten matchups in the NHL tonight. There’s an always-entertaining Original Six matchup in Montreal where the Bruins are visiting the Canadiens. The top-two teams in the Southeast Division square off tonight when Washington takes on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning are fourth in the East and trail Washington by four points. Two Canadian teams square off in Ottawa as Vancouver visits the Senators, and there’s a Central division matchup (Nashville vs. St. Louis) and a Pacific division tilt (Dallas vs. Los Angeles) as well. The Injury Bug:
The biggest news yesterday? St. Louis Blues’ leading scorer TJ Oshie was felled by a broken ankle. It will require surgery and he’s out indefinitely. The kicker? It wasn’t even off a hockey play. After Jakub Voracek used his behind to draw an interference penalty, Oshie got up and went after him. Amidst the scrum, Oshie grappled with a Blue Jacket and fell to the ice, contorting his leg on the way down.
Colorado forward TJ Galiardi is out indefinitely after breaking his right wrist, while Chris Osgood is dealing with a tender groin in Detroit.
In Nashville, Ryan Suter and Martin Erat were back at practice Wednesday, but for those interested in Suter’s status, don’t get too excited. He was skating for only about half an hour in non-contact drills.
Marian Gaborik skated yesterday in Rangers practice and was handling the puck well so he’ll be back Thursday night, while Michal Rozsival is being given time to heal. Apparently he’s been playing hurt for about a week or so, and his should strain has finally caught up to him.
Ottawa’s Filip Kuba is nearing a return, and the final decision has been given to him. Head Coach Cory Clouston has said that Kuba will have final say when he skates in game action.
On a side note, Marc Savard could start skating soon for the Bruins.
Rumors Around the League:
Word is from Twitter that Ryan O’Byrne has been traded to the Colorado Avalanche for Michael Bournival. O’Byrne had been passed over in Montreal’s system, so the deal not only gives Montreal an asset, but O’Byrne a chance to latch on with the Avalanche. Even with Adam Foote readying himself for a comeback, the defensive depth is welcome for a team already dealing with double-digits in injuries.
Bournival is currently playing for the Shawinigan Cataractes and was a third-round pick of the Avs in this past year’s entry draft. He has 24 points in 17 games so far this season in the QMJHL and is described as a smart, two-way player.
In terms of the disappointing New Jersey Devils, don’t expect Lou Lamoriello to panic. He’s been around long enough to know what kind of trouble you can get in by doing that. If however, he seems the opportunity to make his team better, don’t expect him to let the Devils to flounder.
And I’m sure the internet will be buzzing in terms of rumors about the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just remember that you shouldn’t believe everything you read…
Fantasy Line of the Night:
If your Fantasy Team needs a little veteran help, look no further than Mark Recchi. He scored his first goal last night, and his three-point night was the first multi-point game of his season so far.
Special thanks to YardBarker.com for all photos.