A Day in the NHL: Wednesday December 8

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There were a couple of firsts in the NHL last night, and one really, really long stretch between goals at the NHL was broken, so congratulations are definitely in order!


The Night that Was:

The Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators were tied for a fair amount of last night’s game, but Carey Price bought his team enough time so that they could go ahead for good. After the teams exchanged power play markers in the first period, Price dueled with Pascal Leclaire until Montreal’s offense took over. Jeff Halpern scored early in the third to make it 2-1, and Brian Gionta and Roman Hamrlik followed up with goals to cement a 4-1 Montreal win. Lars Eller recorded a point for the third time in four games, which is a great sign after he had only two points in his first 23 games. PK Subban was out of the lineup again as Yannick Weber played a very strong 19 minutes.

Bill Thomas’ return to the NHL had been going pretty well with two assists in his first four games, and last night he scored his first goal in nearly two years. The man who split last year between Switzerland and Springfield opened the scoring for the Panthers, but John-Michael Liles scored and then set up the go-ahead marker in the second. Stephen Weiss tied it late in the second and the two teams traded goals in the third to send the game to overtime, but the extra session didn’t last long. Weiss sent the fans home just 43 seconds in with his second of the game, giving him his first multi-point game since November 20.

In Boston, the Bruins were able to keep pace with Montreal, but they couldn’t prevent the Sabres from getting a point. Luke Adam’s first-ever NHL goal tied the game in the second and Thomas Vanek put the Sabres ahead in the third until Nathan Horton tied it up. The B’s got themselves a power play in overtime and Mark Recchi tipped home the winning goal. It was Recchi’s sixth goal of the season, putting him on pace for more than 55 points, which would be his highest total in a season spent with one team since he scored 68 with Pittsburgh in 2006-07.

Two unlikely sources started the scoring for the Flames last night when Cory Sarich and Tom Kostopolous got things going in the first period. Rene Bourque and Jarome Iginla took over from there, leading Calgary to a 4-2 win. Congratulations are in order for Johan Harju though. He became the second player to score his first NHL goal last night. The first in Edmonton last night? Well that came when rookie Cam Fowler scored his first-ever shootout winner…in the tenth round. Before the majesty of ten shooters began though, four other NHL vets did the scoring in a 3-2 Ducks win.

What’s on Tonight?

Five is the lucky number for the NHL this week. San Jose visits Philadelphia in what could be a rematch for Antti Niemi and the Flyers, as Toronto visits Sidney Crosby and the Penguins and will have to pray they don’t need any comeback magic. Nashville and Detroit mix it up in the Central Division, Dallas might face a familiar goalie in Marty Turco when they battle the Blackhawks, and Anaheim looks to make it two wins in two nights on Canadian soil against Vancouver.

The Injury Bug:

The Oilers have now lost forward Shawn Horcoff to a knee injury. He collided with Corey Perry in their game last night and left after that. He’s going to miss about 8 weeks.

The Bruins Mark Stuart left their game against Buffalo last night with an undisclosed injury. There’s no word on a timeframe for a return.

On Patrick Kane there is now official word (again) on his injury. The report, which initially had it being a knee injury (as reported here yesterday), was released in the early afternoon Tuesday and now lists a sprained ankle as Kane’s malady. Word is it’s going to be about a three-week recovery.

Although Scott Gomez did leave Montreal’s game last night, his lower body injury isn’t considered to be more than a day-to-day thing.

Rumours and News Around the League:

Nothing really new to report from the world of rumours. The dailies involving the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils are there, but who’s that surprising, really?

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

It’s going to Cam Fowler. Along with the goal to end all shootouts (or…just one really, really long one), Fowler had an assist and was plus-one in the Ducks’ win through 25 minutes of ice time. Another candidate? The goalies: Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 30 of 32 shots while Jonas Hiller made 34 saves.