A Day in the NHL: Thursday November 25


A busy night in the NHL with 13 games on the schedule, and plenty of them were close: Nine of them were decided by one goal or fewer.

The Night that Was:

The Vancouver Canucks pulled themselves out of a four-game slide with a 4-2 win yesterday. In beating the Colorado Avalanche, Vancouver got goals out of Daniel Sedin, Alex Burrows, Kevin Bieksa’s first of the season, and Ryan Kessler’s 200th career goal. Matt Duchene scored just his fourth goal of the year but he’s quietly put up 14 assists along with that for possibly the quietest 18 point season in the NHL so far. He really is like Ron Francis…

On Long Island, the Columbus Blue Jackets (barely) extended their win streak to five last night with a 4-3 overtime victory over the New York Islanders. The Jackets move into a tie with Detroit for the division lead (Who lost 5-1 last night to Atlanta), but is it a tad unnerving that the worst team in the East took a team tied for top spot in the West to OT? Maybe, maybe not. After all. Everybody has an off-day. In Rick Nash news, he was held to a minus-two rating and pointless.

The streak is over. Alexander Ovechkin had reason to smile after assisting on all three goals last night as the Capitals defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2. Nicklas Backstrom scored two goals for Washington, while super rookie Jeff Skinner now has assists in back-to-back games after going pointless in four. Local media probably aren’t smiling about Ovechkin though: while the Caps will take production any way they get it from their star, the outspoken Russian hasn’t scored a goal in five games, which is the story everyone concerns themselves with. Not the fact that, despite lower goal totals, he’s still on pace for 100 points. Growth as a player? Nah. We want GOAL SCORING!!

It took two periods to seal the deal in Tampa Bay. After the first and second, the Lightning were up 2-0 and 5-0 respectively. The New York Rangers made it close with three in the third, but don’t let that fool you: It wasn’t as close as that score makes it seem. Steven Stamkos had a goal and two assists, putting him on pace for 141 points and 78 goals. Do we even care now that Ryan Malone had two goals, and Steve Downie, Martin St. Louis, and Teddy Purcell (pick him up if he’s available in your fantasy leagues) had two assists? Nah.

What’s on Tonight?

Hopefully you like football. The only game tonight is the Colorado Avalanche visiting the Edmonton Oilers. Edmonton, for some reason, plays four times this week with two of those matchups being as prime time as you can get (As in, they were the only games to watch on Tuesday and Thursday). It’s just something I find odd. The Oilers are 2-6-2 in their last ten, while Colorado’s loss yesterday snapped a four-game losing streak.

The Injury Bug:

Why not stay with the Avalanche? Colorado goalie Craig Anderson left the game with a groin injury yesterday. He played in just one period in last night’s loss and sat the last two. Meanwhile, Adam Foote injured his leg on a hit late in the first, and he only played one period as well. Bad news for a team already in injury trouble.

Marek Zidlicky was missed by the Wild in a lop-sided loss to Philadelphia yesterday. The reason was simply left as “undisclosed”, but he has already missed five games this year: Two with a groin injury and three with a mysterious “lower body injury”.

Islanders Captain Doug Weight was left out of action yesterday due to back spasms. In other Islanders’ injury news, Mike Mottau was cleared to fly home back on Tuesday after taking a puck to his eye on Sunday night. Mottau will still be out of the lineup for a couple of weeks, but obviously any news is good news on that front and everyone wishes Mottau a speedy recovery.

According to the Rangers, Michal Rozsival is close to returning. Rozsival has missed eight games with a shoulder strain.

Ales Hemsky wasn’t skating at Oilers practice this morning due to a leg injury, which doesn’t bode well for his status tonight.

Rumours and News Around the League:

With Islanders forward Josh Bailey being assigned to Bridgeport on Wednesday, there might be some who wonder if he’s destined for a new surrounding. Probably not the case. This is more of an effort to jump start the offense out of the former first rounder. The Islanders haven’t won since October.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Teddy Purcell’s two assists. A guy who couldn’t find success in Los Angeles is finding it in Tampa Bay. He’s third on the team in scoring and both of his assists came on the power play last night. Could be a good add for right wing depth in Fantasy leagues.

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 follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.