Mondays might be slow at work, but it’s a great day to catch up on some NHL news from the weekend. Here’s the latest…
The Night that Was:
While the Ottawa Senators probably wouldn’t have won if they only dressed Chris Kelly, he turned out to be the only one they needed to score. The hard-working forward earned himself a hat-trick yesterday, including a short-handed tally to start things off against the New York Rangers. Pascal Leclaire earned his second win of the season, with his fourth-straight strong start in his last five games. Brandon Prust was the only one to score for the Rangers, with his goal also coming shorthanded.
It was a little more interesting than the Philadelphia Flyers would have liked, but they earned their second win in a row yesterday against the New York Islanders. Carrying a 1-0 lead into the third period, Jon Sim and Frans Nielsen put the Islanders up 2-1 before Andreas Nodl and Danny Briere closed things off just after the mid-way point. For Nodl it was his sixth point in his last ten games, while Briere now has goals in three of his last four.
If you paid for a full hockey game in Chicago on Sunday, you should ask for your money back. After five first-period goals (all of them on the power play), the Chicago Blackhawks carried a 3-2 lead out of the first period, and didn’t expand on it until David Bolland scored his second of the game with 15 seconds left in the third (For good measure, it was also on the power play). Brent Seabrook led the way with three assists as Anton Babchuk recorded his first point as a Flame (a goal) and Jarome Iginla extended a three-game point streak into four.
In Phoenix, the Coyotes scored once a period for good measure, as Ilya Bryzgalov made 26 saves for the shutout. It’s not like Jonas Hiller didn’t try and steal the game though. Hiller made 36 of 38 saves in a losing effort. Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues relinquished every lead they took except the last one. The Vancouver Canucks tied it at one in the first and two in the second, but Alex Steen’s second of the game part-way through the third period was enough to seal the deal. The Blues needed this one though: Going in to last night they had lost five-straight.
What’s on Tonight?
The Atlantic Division hands us what might have been an interesting matchup if Martin Brodeur was healthy and Ilya Kovalchuk was playing up to snuff. Instead, it’s one of the league’s highest-scoring teams (Pittsburgh) going for a tenth-straight win against one of it’s lowest (New Jersey). Speaking of high-scoring, Washington hosts Toronto, while Nashville looks to push their winning streak to four against Atlanta. San Jose can leap-frog into a tie for third in the Pacific Division with a win against Detroit, while the league’s second-hottest team (Dallas), looks for an eighth-straight win against Columbus.
The Injury Bug:
Joffrey Lupul returned to the Anaheim Ducks’ lineup last night after missing more than a year with a back injury and a blood infection in his back. Lupul took 21 shifts and was a minus-one with three shots on goal.
When we said everything happened in the first during last night’s Flames/Hawks game, we weren’t kidding. Patrick Kane went down awkwardly on his first shift of the game and left with a lower body injury. Joel Quenneville said it’s nothing “real serious” but added that “Kaner will probably be out for a little bit.” There should be a full report out by the end of the day.
Pekka Rinne underwent surgery on his knee coming in to this weekend, which will have him out of Nashville’s lineup for the next couple of weeks. Anders Lindback will resume starting duty for the Preds (like he did when Rinne was out before).
Andy McDonald didn’t play Sunday because of an upper-body injury suffered on Saturday. At this point the Blues are talking as if it’s day-to-day.
Dion Phaneuf went through his first full practice with the Maple Leafs on Sunday, and was a surprise addition to the team’s road trip list as they visit Washington and Pittsburgh. In other Leafs’ news, Ken Beckett is reporting that James Reimer has been recalled once again. While nothing is official, people are hinting at J.S. Giguere re-aggravating his groin injury.
Evgeni Malkin missed the Penguins last game against the Blue Jackets and he’s questionable for tonight against the Leafs.
Rumours and News Around the League:
After mulling over the decision during the opening months of this season, Bill Guerin has decided to retire from the NHL. Guerin’s last NHL action was during training camp when he was with the Philadelphia Flyers on a tryout basis. He announced his decision through the Pittsburgh Penguins website.
In terms of teams looking to make a deal, if the Minnesota Wild don’t win changes will be coming, while Bryan Murray still can’t find anything concrete for the Ottawa Senators. The Ottawa Sun brought up the name Kevin Bieksa for the Sens, and even though the Stars are on a great run, there are still trade murmurs surrounding them: The latest is what the Rangers can do to shed extra salary so that they can acquire Brad Richards.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:
Today’s award goes to Andrej Meszaros who registered two assists last night and had a plus-one rating. It was his first multi-point game since April of last year against Carolina.