It’s a busy stretch for the NHL this week. There are at least five games in action every day spanning in to next Sunday. No shortage of hockey action to be found before Christmas!
The Night that Was:
Although Pittsburgh didn’t provide us with all the scoring we expected they might, they still earned the result they should have gotten against New Jersey. Brian Rolston opened the scoring with his second, but the more important note is that Mattias Tedenby assisted on the goal to continue what’s been a fairly impressive rookie season so far (7 points in 12 games). Sidney Crosby set up Chris Kunitz for the game-tier later in the first, and then Crosby put his team ahead partway through the second with his 24th of the year. 48 points just 29 games into the season? Seems about right for Crosby. Marc-Andre Fleury had 27 stops in the win.
With the way the game started, the Toronto Maple Leafs had their fans pulling out their hair. With the way it ended, they were singing the team’s praises. Toronto was down 2-1 after one period, and 4-1 after the second thanks to Mathieu Perreault’s first-career two-goal game. Once the third period hit though, something changed for the Leafs. Mikhail Grabovski opened the scoring, Tim Brent tacked on his third, and Clarke MacArthur scored his second of the game to tie things at four as they went all the way to a shootout. Of the six shooters that went, Mikhail Grabovski was the only one to score, giving the Leafs their second consecutive win in the talent competition.
The San Jose Sharks made a statement with their win over the Detroit Red Wings last night, as they leapt into a playoff spot with a win over the Western Conference leader. Detroit took a lead in the first period with two power play goals to make it 2-1 (Joe Thornton had a shorthanded goal for SJ), the Sharks got three in the second and one in the third for four unanswered goals to take the 5-2 win in Detroit. Logan Couture had two goals as San Jose handed Detroit just their second loss at home in regulation.
Two other games in the NHL required the extra session last night too. The Nashville Predators led 2-0 after one, but Atlanta chipped away and tied it in the third on Andrew Ladd’s 10th of the year. Then in overtime it was Zach Bogosian’s second of the season to give the Thrashers the win. Alexander Burmistrov assisted on the goal for his fourth point in five games. Meanwhile Dallas and Columbus went to a shootout as they traded goals and leads throughout the game. Tied at two when the shooters started, Rick Nash scored on the very first shot. After Brad Richards scored, Kyle Wilson scored before Mathieu Garon stopped Jamie Benn.
What’s on Tonight?
The Northeast Division is giving us all we can handle as Ottawa visits Montreal and Boston hosts Buffalo. If Buffalo wins and Ottawa loses, they move in to third in the division. Boston can move within three points of Montreal if the opposite happens though. Anaheim will visit Edmonton in the late game, while Alberta’s other team, the Calgary Flames, will see the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Avalanche will also visit the Panthers tonight.
The Injury Bug:
While it’s not around the corner, Mike Modano is going to prepare for a return from his severed nerves and tendons in his wrist. The best-case return would happen in March.
Oilers forward Ales Hemsky will be out for around a month with his groin injury. Head Coach Tom Renney shows no inkling on rushing the forward back, as in his words groins are “temperamental”. He is right, and rushing Hemsky back into another injury wouldn’t do anyone any good.
Patrick Kane will be missing the first significant period of his career with his knee injury. While there’s no word on the actual injury, other than that it’s to his knee, Kane has been added to the Blackhawks injury list.
Keeping with groin injuries, one will keep Tim Connolly out of action for the Sabres tonight.
The Calgary Flames placed Steve Staios on the IR yesterday with an upper body injury.
Rumours and News Around the League:
Word is there’s change coming for the New Jersey Devils and Jamie Langenbrunner can feel it. He’s thinking (hoping maybe?) that Lou Lamoriello does something at the GM’s meetings. And really, who better to predict this kind of stuff than a guy who’s played under Lamoriello?
The Blues may be coming close to making a deal too, as they are without three of their top forwards, and had been on a five-game losing streak before beating the Canucks recently. It could be interesting to see who or what the Blues move, although they do have a glut of defensemen that could turn into something useful.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:
Mathieu Perreault’s two goals were nice for the Washington Capitals (he was also a plus-two), but Tom Poti had three assists. That actually makes him the highest scorer for the night. Too bad everyone got taken in by those flashy goal-scorers.
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, or follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.