A Day in the NHL: Tuesday December 14


A couple of overtimes, a shootout, and a pair of 5-0 games defined last night in the NHL. You’ll also find out which young defenseman had three helps, and who might be willing to take on the Alex Kovalev headache next.

The Night that Was:

There were a pair of 5-0 shutouts last night, and while one might surprise you, the other definitely won’t. In the least surprising of the two, the Nashville Predators trounced the New York Islanders with goals from a variety of sources. Serigei Kostitsyn scored his fourth, Nick Spalling scored his first career goal on the power play, Patrick Hornqvist had two, and Jerred Smithson had the other. In an odd turn, the Islanders actually outshot the Predators 28-26, but Anders Lindback stopped them all in his second career shutout. The L.A. King stunned the Red Wings, mostly thanks to Jonathan Quick. Quick stopped 51 shots while Drew Doughty had three assists in their 5-0 win.

Not surprisingly, too of the higher scoring teams in the league got together last night and threw 13 goals up on the board. In Colorado’s 7-5 win over Chicago, Matt Duchene and Troy Brouwer had two, while seven different players (five Avs) had multiple points and 20 different players had at least a point. But that wasn’t the interesting part. The interesting part is that Colorado tied it, and then won it, with under three minutes to go in the third. Marty Turco started the game but didn’t survive, while Craig Anderson stopped 29 of the 24 shots he faced.

Two Canadian teams were in action last night and both went to overtime. One had more luck than the other however. While the Ottawa Senators had a gutsy comeback after being down 3-0 (capped off with a Jason Spezza penalty shot), it was an overtime turnover that killed them. Bryan Little took the puck back up ice and pounded home the winner. In Calgary, Antoine Vermette was in on both goals that eliminated a 2-0 Calgary lead, but Jarome Iginla salvaged things for his team, scoring his second of the game part-way through the extra-session. After starting slow, Iginla is now on pace for 37 goals.

In a battle to see who’s for real in the Pacific Division, the Dallas Stars came out on top in a tight one. The teams traded goals in the first and second periods, and following a scoreless third and overtime they went to a shootout. There the scoring came back, as three of the five shooters recorded goals: Jamie Benn for Dallas, Joe Pavelski for the Sharks and Brad Richards for Dallas before Ryan Clowe was stopped. The win keeps the Stars two points up on the Ducks in the Pacific, while the single point ties L.A. and San Jose in third.

What’s on Tonight?

Well….here are some touch choices: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia or Toronto and Edmonton? In fact you don’t even have to choose. One’s on at 7, the other at 9. No choices needed!

The Injury Bug:

The injury problems continue for the Avalanche. Despite scoring seven goals, they were without Milan Hejduk for the second-straight game (Who, I might add, has 31 points in 28 games this year), while defenseman David Van Der Gulik also missed the game with a knee injury.

Not surprisingly, Kari Lehtonen’s back has started to act up once again. An injury that’s plagued him throughout his career, Lehtonen has been out of action for Dallas over the past four games—the longest such stretch for him this season.

For the Kings, Willie Mitchell and Brad Richardson switched spots on the IR. Mitchell came off and played in the Detroit game, while Richardson was placed on it with an upper body injury.

Rumours and News Around the League:

The Evgeni Nabokov rumours have started, but it’s tough to say how quickly someone will make a move. If someone falters to start the second half, we may see a quick pick-up of the former All-Star.

The report is a few days old but still has some merit. The St. Louis Blues, who are pretty banged-up in terms of forwards, may have interest in Alex Kovalev. A prospective trade would make sense, based on the fact St. Louis could use a healthy body, and Ottawa would appreciate lifting the hot-and-cold Kovalev from their roster.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

He got no love from the NHL’s three stars, but we’ll give it to him here. Drew Doughty had three assists for the Kings in their romp of the Red Wings, and was a plus-three in nearly 26 minutes. All in all it was a pretty good night for the Kings’ young defenseman and their still-developing goalie.

Bryan Thiel is a columnist for TooManyMenOnTheSite 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.