Last night was really, really offensive in the hockey world.
No, Sean Avery didn’t open his mouth. I mean offensive goal-wise. There were 61 goals scored across ten games and five teams scored five goals or more. Not too shabby.
The Night that Was:
A big up to the Montreal Canadiens’ PK Subban and Carey Price for yesterday’s win over the Boston Bruins. In the victory, Subban scored his first NHL goal, while Price became the fourth goalie in the NHL with nine wins. Price’s season has been outstanding so far with a .923 save percentage and a 2.19 goals-against average, proving to everyone that the pre-season is exactly what it is—the preseason. Ergo, it doesn’t matter.
For those who like scoring, last night’s Washington Capitals/Tampa Bay Lightning game was all you could have hoped for. Nine goals between the two teams tied it for the highest-scoring matchup of the night as the league’s leading goal-scorer Steven Stamkos scored his 14th, and Alexander Ovechkin put home his ninth. The night belonged to Alexander Semin and Nick Backstrom though. Semin scored two consecutive goals in the third period and then tacked one on to expand the Caps lead to 6-3 for the hat-trick, while Backstrom assisted on all three of the league’s number two goal scorer’s tallies, as well as Tom Poti’s first of the season to give him four assists. Semin also added two assists for a five-point evening. It was Semin’s second-career five-point night and fourth career hat-trick.
The Philadelphia Flyers and Carolina Hurricanes had the other nine-goal matchup of the evening, but this one was a whole lot more one-sided. The Flyers dominated the Hurricanes, leading 2-0 after one and 4-0 after two, rolling to an 8-1 win. Jeff Carter had a hat-trick with two of his three goals coming on the power play while Danny Briere tacked on two goals and an assist. Hurricanes’ rookie sensation (and former Kitchener Ranger I might add) Jeff Skinner, who came in to the game with 11 points over his last seven games, was a minus-three.
That twin thing in Vancouver? Well it’s working better than ever. Henrik and Daniel Sedin each recorded two points against the Ottawa Senators to give them both 18 on the season. Ryan Kesler added two goals as the Canucks won 6-2. Mario Bliznak scored his first-ever NHL goal.
What’s on Tonight?
There are six matchups in the NHL tonight. The Edmonton Oilers play their second in as many nights when the visit the New Jersey Devils, while Tampa Bay is in action again and hope for better defensive results against Crosby and Co. in Pittsburgh. The only other Canadian team in action is the Calgary Flames visiting the Phoenix Coyotes, while the best matchup of the night pits the surprising Anaheim Ducks and Dallas Stars against one another. Anaheim has won five-straight, giving them the second-longest win streak after Washington (six).
The Injury Bug:
Vincent Lecavalier, who may be the only man not able to tan while living in Florida, broke his hand last night against the Capitals and will be out 3-4 weeks. The two games prior to last night’s contest saw Lecavalier come away with three points, meaning the former 90-point man was just starting to come around. Speaking of Tampa Bay injuries, there’s some curiosity surrounding Steve Downie, as to whether he’ll suit up Friday night or not. He is close though.
Washington goalie Semyon Varlamov is on his way to Hershey this weekend to get back in to game shape after recovering from a groin injury. The Capitals will still be rolling out the Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby tandem though, so anxious Caps fans still have a little waiting to do.
Ottawa’s Filip Kuba didn’t play last night, so we’re still waiting on his return. Marian Gaborik came back for the Rangers though, and had three shots and a minus-one rating in 18 minutes.
Staying on Broadway, a New York Rangers’ section could be a common theme here. Henrik Lundqvist didn’t start last night as he was feeling sick. Martin Biron got the start in his place and could get another one on Saturday. It all depends on how he feels/recovers over the next few days.
And still with Atlantic Division goalies, New Jersey’s Martin Brodeur practiced yesterday and, while not 100%, hopes to play today against the Oilers. Johan Hedberg has played in each of the last three games.
Rumors Around the League:
As reported by Darren Dreger and expanded upon by Ken Beckett from HockeyBuzz, the Toronto Maple Leafs have called up Nazem Kadri and Keith Aullie. This move is as surprising as it was necessary, as Kadri brings a point-per-game average with him from the AHL, but the defensive side of his game still needs some work. Korbinian Holzer and Christian Hanson were returned to the Marlies to make room for the pair.
With Marc Savard getting closer and closer to coming back, the trade rumors on the concussed centre have started again. With him this close to coming back to the ice though, teams will probably want to see what he can do now that he’s back, instead of just risking it to fill cap space.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:
If you had pretty much anyone from the Capitals or Flyers last night you had a good night, but Artem Anisimov was pretty solid too: Two goals, a plus-one, five shots on goal, a block, and three faceoff wins. Jack Johnson’s powerplay goal and assist were pretty useful too.
Bryan Thiel is a columnist for TooManyMenOnTheSite.com and Hockey54.com—The Face of the Game! If you want to get in contact with Bryan, you can e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.
All photos are attributed to YardBarker.