A Day in the NHL: Wednesday December 22

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It was an unsuccessful night for Canadian hockey teams last night, as all three lost, but if you’re Rob Scuderi or the Washington Capitals it turned out ok. And, if you’re Bruce Boudreau, your boss is fine with you swearing if things go worse than last night! Just figured you should know.

The Night that Was:

We’ll make it quick and easy and start with the Canadian teams: Calgary managed just one second-period goal from Olli Jokinen in a 3-1 loss to Columbus. Jarome Iginla recorded an assist, giving him points in 16 of his last 20 games, but Jakub Vorcaek scored his first goal in a month as the Blue Jackets also got markers out of Rostislav Klesla and Jared Boll…In Dallas, the Canadiens were buried by the Stars early on in a 5-2 loss. Dallas got two in the first and two in the second as the teams exchanged shorthanded goals, and Dallas beat Montreal for the first time in three years! Ok so they last beat them on December 23, 2007, but it’s close enough…The Edmonton Oilers didn’t have much luck either. Although what they thought was Ryan Whitney’s first goal since last season cut San Jose’s lead to one (It was eventually awarded to Dustin Penner), it wasn’t enough. Edmonton couldn’t find another goal as the leading rookie goal scorer (and scorer in general) Logan Couture and Dan Boyle each had second-period tallies, giving San Jose a 2-1 win.

In Anaheim, there were a pair of two-goal nights, but it was Tyler Ennis’ that gave the Buffalo Sabres the win. The Sabres built up a 4-0 lead after two periods, with two of them coming on the power play, and three of them from youngsters Ennis and Nathan Gerbe (Who scored his first of the year). In the third, the Ducks’ power play came alive, netting two goals from Corey Perry, but it wasn’t enough. Craig Rivet separated those two markers with his first of the season, as Buffalo moved into third in the Northeast.

While two may not be a streak, the Washington Capitals are getting on a roll again, even if it’s the New Jersey Devils they dispatched 5-1. Andrew Gordon came up with his first NHL goal in the first period while Jay Beagle had his second (which ended up being the game-winner) as Jason Chimera, John Carlson, and Mike Knuble tied off the scoring. Patrick Elias had New Jersey’s lone goal, the only one of the 36 shots Michal Neuvirth would let in.

Go figure. Rob Scuderi’s first goal in forever (October 4, 2008) turn out to be the game-winner, and extends his streak of scoring in opposite seasons. Dustin Brown had a big night with two goals and two assists while Scuderi, Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty each had two points, but the biggest performance was Jonathan Quick’s. While he only faced 23 shots, few of those shots were easy as Quick stumped the NHL’s highest-scoring offense for three periods and his third shutout of the season.

Ty Conklin didn’t have an easy night when he went for his second win in as many starts. The Blues goalie faced 39 shots, but only Bryan Little’s and Dustin Byfuglien’s (which was a bank-in from behind the net) eluded him as the Blues doubled up the Thrashers 4-2. Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Sobotka had two-point nights as Alex Steen and Brad Boyes had the other St. Louis goals. Atlanta is now one point behind Washington in the Southeast division, while St. Louis kept pace at the bottom of the Central division with Columbus and their 37 points.

What’s on tonight:

Just four games in the NHL as Tampa Bay visits the New York Islanders, Sidney Crosby hopes to extend his point streak to 22 games as his Penguins host Florida, Nashville and Chicago square off in the Central, and the always-fun Vancouver/Detroit matchup happens at Joe Louis Arena.

The Injury Bug:

Doug Murray sat out the Sharks/Oilers game because of his back injury. It’s the fifth-straight game Murray’s missed but he did take the morning skate.

The New York Islanders have sent Rick DiPietro and Mike Mottau to the Injured Reserve. DiPietro is there just until the swelling in his knee goes down, while Mottau had surgery on his right hip and will miss the rest of the season. Mottau had yet to return from an eye injury suffered earlier in the season. He had just begun skating when he tore his labrum.


News and Rumours Around the League:

The Calgary Flames have signed Ryan Howse to an entry-level deal. The 2009 draft pick is currently fourth in the Western Hockey League goal-scoring race, and 112 of his 173 career WHL points have been goals.

The guy throwing waffles at Leafs games has been caught, charged with mischief, and banned from all future Air Canada Centre events. Congratulations, Toronto has now removed the only thing distracting people from their losses.


The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Rob Scuderi. Hands down. His first goal in over two years and an assist in the same game? That’s impressive. He’s also on pace for a career-high 20 points this season.


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.