A Day in the NHL: Wednesday January 5


It was a close-knit night in the NHL, and not just because one of the matchups featured two teams tied for their division lead. Every single game last night was tied at one point or another, including two games that went to OT. It certainly made for an exciting night when you didn’t necessarily have the rivalries to watch or talk about.

The Night that Was:

Two goalies made the NHL’s three stars last night and they both came from this game. Dwayne Roloson and Semyon Varlamov each stood on their heads as the Washington Capitals and Tampa Bay Lightning went to overtime tied at 0 with the division title on the line. Halfway through the fourth period, it was Martin St. Louis who broke the scoreless tie, as his 17th won the game for the Lightning. Vincent Lecavalier recorded an assist on the goal, giving him points in eight of ten games since returning from injury,  as Tampa won their third in the row 1-0.

The Buffalo Sabres continue to get goals from some odd places with Derek Roy out. Jochen Hecht and Steve Montador scored in the third to put Buffalo up 3-2 over Colorado last night, but Matt Duchene’s 16th tied it up just 30 seconds after Montador’s goal. Things would look to he headed to a shootout as there was just a minute left to go, but David Jones, with a power play winding down for the Avs, scored the winner with just 43 seconds left. The 4-3 OT win was just Colorado’s second in their last seven, as Daniel Winnik and Tomas Fleischmann each had two points. Fleischmann now has 16 points in 16 games since being acquired from Washington.

Edmonton had the Detroit Red Wings sweating a little bit when they tied it partway through the third, but the Red Wings flexed their muscle and showed some moxie in getting two more and holding on for a 5-3 win. Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky each had two points in the failed Oilers comeback, while Niklas Lidstrom, Valteri Filppula, Darren Helm, and Todd Bertuzzi each had two points for the Wings. For Lidstrom, it extended his point streak to eight games and has him on pace for nearly 80 points. Not bad for a 40-year old.

It was a blown 2-0 lead for the Phoenix Coyotes last night, but they tacked on two more for a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. RJ Umberger and Jakub Voracek had the goals for Columbus, but Shane Doan scored the winner and Vernon Fiddler added the insurance marker for the ‘Yotes third win in their last six games. Doan recorded his fourth-straight multi-point game while Eric Belanger had two assists, giving him just his fifth two-point game this year. Ilya Bryzgalov made 26 saves for the win.

Quick Hits:

-Ilya Kovalchuk scored but Cal Clutterbuck and Clayton Stoner counted for Minnesota as the Wild won 2-1 over the Devils.

What’s on Tonight?

Carolina visits the New York Rangers while Pittsburgh hosts Tampa Bay. Florida’s other team (Florida) hosts Dustin Byfuglien and the Atlanta Thrashers, while Dallas visits Chicago and Nashville takes a trip to Anaheim. There’s also an all-Canadian matchup as Calgary heads to Vancouver.

The Injury Bug:

Jason Blake has a strained shoulder and is questionable for tonight’s game for the Anaheim Ducks.

Mark Fraser (New Jersey Devils), Steve Downie (Tampa Bay Lightning), Tom Poti (Washington Capitals)and Jim Vandermeer (Edmonton Oilers) were both activated off of Injured Reserve yesterday, playing in their respective teams’ games.

News and Rumours Around the League:

-The market for goalies could be heating up, with both the Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders looking for a goalie. While both passed on Michael Leighton (The Islanders were rumored to be interested), there are still options out there…Like Evgeni Nabokov for instance.

Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Eric Belanger’s two assist night gets him the nod. Two points and a plus-two rating for the veteran centre in the Coyotes’ win last night.

You can e-mail Bryan at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com, or you can follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.