A Day in the NHL: Friday November 19


It seems like hat-tricks have become the norm this week, along with blowouts, exciting comebacks, and shutouts. We had all of those last night aone.

The Night that Was:

Leafs’ Nation is swimming right now. Not in a pool of despair, but through a lake created by their own tears of joy. The Toronto Maple Leafs secured a 3-1 win over the New Jersey Devils last night thanks to goals by Mikhail Grabovski, Phil Kessel, and Kris Versteeg. Two of them came on the power play while rookie Nazem Kadri took home two assists: Two things that will need to keep happening if the Leafs hope to keep winning.

While I don’t know if this is an official stat or not, Milan Lucic has to have the largest time lapse between any natural hat-trick ever. Scoring his first at 15:32 of the first period, Lucic scored his next two 15 seconds apart, starting at 14:42 of the third. Up until then it was a pretty uneventful game for the Boston Bruins and Florida Panthers. Scott Thornton scored the final goal of the game after the Lucic show wrapped up, giving Boston the 4-0 win.

The Montreal Canadiens stumbled against the Nashville Predators who were surely looking to avenge a painful loss to the Maple Leafs a few nights ago. Pekka Rinne stopped all 30 shots he faced while Carey Price allowed three goals on 30 shots, two of them to Marcel Goc. We could say Sergei Kostitsyn won the battle of the Kostitsyn’s but…he really didn’t do much. 17 shifts, 11:28 of ice time, and a minor penalty.

Exciting. It was an overtime thriller in Dallas last night. The Sharks had a 4-2 lead in the third, and nearly made it 5-2 except the fifth goal was taken away because of a high stick. After that, Dallas seemed to find their scoring touch as James Neal and Mike Ribeiro scored 29 seconds apart, sending the game to overtime, where Ribeiro’s second of the game (and season) sealed it for the Stars. Give Dallas credit: they hung tough in a game where bounces were not going their way, but San Jose really caved late as the Stars’ last two regulation goals came with under four minutes to go.

We’re doing this really quickly because…well…there was a lot happening here. Philadelphia Flyers and Tampa Bay Lightning. Two from Zherdev, three from Stamkos, nine in the first period, 15 overall, four goalies, 65 shots. That’s pretty much all you need to know about the Flyers and Lightning last night. 28 players recorded points in an 8-7 Lightning win. What’s interesting though, is who didn’t: Both Kimmo Timonen and Claude Giroux were scoreless for Philly while, amazingly, no one was below a minus-2 rating in this game. Oh. Martin St. Louis also had five assists. Just saying.

What’s on Tonight?

Nine games are happening tonight, although there aren’t really any big prevailing storylines. Detroit and Phoenix both put four-game winning streaks on the line against Minnesota and Edmonton respectively, while Washington visits Atlanta in the only divisional game of the night.

The Injury Bug:

Dustin Byfuglien suffered a bruise off of that dump-in that hit him on Wednesday night. While it’s not questionable, the bruise has left him questionable for tonight.

While not an injury, Brent Burns will be back in the Minnesota lineup tonight after serving his two-game suspension.

Nikolai Khabibulin has been put on injured reserve by the Oilers because of his groin. Khabibulin has had trouble keeping the puck out of his net lately, and a creaky groin certainly hasn’t helped matters. Devan Dubnyk will start in his place while Martin Gerber has gotten the call to the NHL once again.

Rumours and News Around the League:

Andrew Ladd is now Captain of the Thrashers after an announcement made yesterday. Through a quarter of the season he leads the team in scoring with 18 points. Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom will serve as alternates for the Thrashers.

In terms of suspensions, Olli Jokinen got three games for his cross-check to the neck Wojtek Wolski in the Coyotes/Flames game earlier this week, while Mattias Ritola got two games for leaving his feet AND hitting Matt Moulson from behind.

As we talked about earlier in the week, the Montreal Canadiens are filling the Andrei Markov void from within for right now at least. Yannick Weber has been called up from Hamilton (AHL) by the Canadiens.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, while working on a contract extension for Steven Stamkos, may also be interested in bringing in defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron. Bergeron is returning from knee surgery in the off-season, and his booming shot would only strengthen the fourth-ranked power play.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

How about everybody because of what the Flyers and Lightning did last night? Marcel Goc had two of Nashville’s three goals last night, while James Neal and Brad Richards each had three-point nights for Dallas.

All photos are 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 you can follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.