A Day in the NHL: Thursday November 18

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Twelve games last night and a fair number of them looked to be mis-matches initially. Two games did go to overtime though, but in the meantime there were three teams who lost by more than three goals. It all depends in who you cheer for.

The Night that Was:

Amidst the Carolina Hurricanes blowout of the Ottawa Senators, Eric Staal had a career night in many ways. He not only scored a hat-trick, but he added on two assists for five points overall, and scored his 200th career goal. Not bad for a night’s work. Chad LaRose had two goals and two assists as well, as Daniel Alfredsson was the only man to beat Cam Ward all night.

Speaking of hat-tricks, Jonathan Toews had a natural one in Edmonton against the Oilers. The Oilers had already beaten the defending Stanley Cup champions twice this season, but the Chicago Blackhawks would have no more. Chicago scored five times on 47 shots across two netminders, as Marty Turco didn’t even break a sweat earning his first shutout as a Blackhawk: He only had to make 18 saves.

It was former Bridgeport Sound Tigers Head Coach Jack Capuano making his debut last night in the NHL, and the New York Islanders didn’t make it very memorable for him. Not only did they trail the Tampa Bay Lightning all evening, eventually losing 4-2, but they didn’t even score their first goal under the new regime until about three minutes to go in the second period. Steven Stamkos, Martin St. Louis, and Brett Clark each had a goal and an assist to help Tampa Bay to the win.

Although he’s been back for a few games by now, this is the Brian Rafalski we really remember. Pacing a seven-goal Detroit Red Wing attack, Rafalski helped on three of them, giving him his highest assist total of the season. While the St. Louis Blues tried to stay competitive, the Wings poured it on: Six of them had multi-point nights.

What’s on Tonight?

Six games tonight and all of them have pretty interesting storylines. Jonas Gustavsson takes over the starting role for the first time tonight and it’s his to run with as New Jersey visits Toronto. The streaking Flyers welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning to Philly, Nathan Horton faces his old team for the first time when the Panthers head to Boston, Montreal looks to push their winning streak to five against Nashville, and the San Jose Sharks visit the Dallas Stars.

The Injury Bug:

Toronto Maple Leafs’ goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere will be out for a few weeks with a mild groin strain. In his place at yesterday’s practice, the newly called up James Reimer filled in. Riemer’s first appearance in-game will be his first in the NHL.

Dustin Byfuglien left last night’s game when he was hit in the back of the leg by a Florida dump-in and didn’t return.

Nathan Gerbe was brought off of injured reserve by Buffalo last night, while Craig Rivet continues to sit out.

The Montreal Canadiens’ Jeff Halpern is questionable for this evening’s game. He’s still feeling the effects of a hit to the head suffered earlier in the week,

Jamie Langenbrunner and Matt Taormina are definitely out for the New Jersey Devils tonight.

Daniel Carcillo sprained his knee Monday when he went in to make a hit but missed. The update is that he’ll be out at least two weeks.

Rumours Around the League:

In case you missed it, a Sutter was traded from one to the other yesterday. Darryl Sutter traded his son Brett, along with defenseman Ian White, to the Carolina Hurricanes yesterday for gritty winger Tom Kostopoulos and Anton Babchuk. He’ll have the chance to play along cousin Brandon Sutter in Carolina. Also keep in mind that the ‘Canes have two Staal’s in the system as well: Captain Eric and brother Jared.

Eklund’s…uh…latest…hit the internet yesterday: The Leafs sending Francois Beauchemin to the San Jose Sharks for Devin Setoguchi AND a third. Apparently the Leafs would also be sending a prospect San Jose’s way. Personally the deal seems unlikely as, depending on what level the prospect is (and what it should be), San Jose would be paying Toronto to take Setoguchi off of it’s hands, when really it should be the other way around. Remember, Setoguchi is an RFA at the end of the year, has upside, and he’s only making $1.8 million. Beauchemin is the veteran defenseman with the big price tag. He’s also a Burke guy, someone the GM brought in from Anaheim

There are also rumours out there talking about the Kings going after Jarome Iginla, but those rumours have been shot down. At least for now.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

This goes to Chad LaRose’s two goals and two assists. On any other night he’d be on the front page of NHL.com under the “Three Stars” section, but a five-point night from Eric Staal shoves him to the back-burner. Also of note, Ilya Bryzgalov made 39 of 40 saves in Phoenix’s win over Calgary last night.


All photos courtesy of YardBarker images.

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 bryanthiel74@hotmail.com, or follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.