A Day in the NHL: Monday January 3rd


This may be the tightest that the top of the NHL has ever been. Four teams are tied for first overall with 53 points, two from each conference and the Eastern teams (Pittsburgh and Philadelphia) are from the same division. Two other teams have 51 points, while another has 50. Four of those seven teams were in action last night.

The Night that Was:

The Vancouver Canucks are one of those four teams at the top of the league, and they’re the hottest of any of them winning their fifth in a row last night. This win not only put them at the top, but they shut down the league’s top offense to just one goal that was scored partway through the third period. The Canucks were outshot in both the first and third, but Roberto Luongo stood tall and made 31 saves in the 2-1 win. Luongo chipped in offensively as well, assisting on the first goal of the game, which was Alexandre Bolduc’s first NHL goal partway through the first. Mason Raymond became the second Canuck to beat Craig Anderson three minutes into the third, but other than that Anderson was spotless, stopping 27 of 29.

While some of you may be graduating college or university this year, the Philadelphia Flyers did something last night that hasn’t been done since before you were born probably. 1988 was the last time Philly had won in Detroit, but that changed last night with a  3-2 win over the Red Wings. The Flyers could only manage eight shots in the first, but on 19 in the second they scored three goals, chasing Jimmy Howard from the net. The Red Wings tried to cut things close with two in the third, but Brian Boucher held on for the win. The Flyers have started a different goalie in each of their last three games and the only one to not earn a win is Sergei Bobrovsky.

If you like goals, then the overtime thriller in Minnesota was for you. After one, Ray Whitney and Andrew Brunette were the only ones that had scored. After two, Brunette had scored again and Nick Schultz had added another. But in the third? Phoenix scored two. Then Minnesota scored one. Then Phoenix scored another two. Then Minnesota scored another one with just 26 seconds remaining. The score would remain that way for the next 72 seconds. Cam Barker’s first of the season, second career goal as a member of the Wild and third career game-winner gave Minnesota their second win in their last five, 6-5.

Hopefully you’ve grown accustomed to Dustin Byfuglien’s heroics, because they don’t seem to be stopping. The Montreal Canadiens continued to stumble yesterday as they were forced to come back from 1-0, 2-1, and 3-1 deficits yesterday, but ultimately surrendered to Big Buf’s magic in OT, marking a 4-3 Thrashers win. While the result wasn’t what Montreal wanted, there were a few positives: PK Subban scored his first goal (and first point) since December 15 while James Wisniewski had two assists, giving him five points over his past two games for his new team. He couldn’t outdo Tobias Enstrom though, as Enstrom had three assists and Evander Kane added a goal and an assist for his first multiple-point game since December 18 (seven games).

Quick Hits:

-The Florida Panthers scored an even-strength, powerplay, and shorthanded goal in a 3-0 win over the New York Rangers. Michael Santorelli is on a three-game point streak.

-Brenden Morrow had two goals for the Dallas Stars while Brad Richards had three points as the Dallas won 4-2 in St. Louis.

-Three Predators had multiple points including Shea Weber with three, as Columbus fell to the home side 4-1.

-Andreas Lilja scored his first goal as a member of the Anaheim Ducks and Corey Perry added the winner as the Ducks dumped Chicago 2-1.

What’s on Tonight?

Boston visits Toronto in an Original Six battle, Florida travels to Carolina as the Hurricanes look to win their fourth-straight while Calgary goes for their fifth-straight win against the Islanders who have won their last two games against league superpowers (Pittsburgh and Detroit). Chicago plays their second game in as many nights when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Kings, while Vancouver does the same as they head to San Jose to go swimming with the Sharks.

The Injury Bug:

-Cal O’Reilly suffered a broken fibula during last night’s game against Columbus. There’s no initial word on how long he’s going to be out, as he’ll be re-evaluated on Tuesday.

-Atlanta’s Jim Slater sat out last night’s game because of a concussion while Nik Antropov was activated from the Injured Reserve.

-The Rangers’ Ruslan Fedotenko suffered a deep bruise while blocking a shot yesterday. There is no word on how long he’ll be out.

Rumours and News Around the League:

-If you missed these items over the weekend, Dwayne Roloson is now a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks signed Canadian World Junior Dylan Olsen to a three-year entry-level contract.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

In a losing effort, Matt D’Agostini pulled off two assists against the Stars for St. Louis last night. The Blues forward has four assists in his last five games.

If you want to get in contact with Bryan, you can e-mail him at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.