A Day in the NHL: Friday January 7


While we’ll start with a coaching milestone, the NHL’s been pretty busy: There was an 11-goal game, an injury to a superstar, and even a trade by the disgruntled New Jersey Devils. Lindy Ruff’s big night takes precedence over all of them though.

The Night that Was:

If you weren’t able to stay up for it (if you live on the East Coast that is), Lindy Ruff reached a coaching milestone in San Jose last night. Luke Adam opened the scoring for the Sabres in the first period and Jochen Hecht and Thomas Vanek added goals as Ryan Miller made 36 saves for the 3-0 win and his third shutout of the season. More importantly though, Ruff was able to win his 500th game as coach of the Sabres. Ruff became just the second of of the 16 coaches to reach that milestone to win all 500 games with the same team. The only bright spot for the Sharks was probably the fact that Torrey Mitchell returned to the lineup after missing five games, and Dany Heatley set a new team record with 11 shots in the game.

The Penguins visited Montreal without Sidney Crosby, and offensively it looks like they missed him. Pittsburgh mustered just one goal for the second game this month, but fortunately for them that’s all Montreal could manage as well. Aaron Asham scored for the Pens while Benoit Pouliot scored for the Habs, in a game that was destined for a shootout. Pouliot would go on to become the only player of ten to score in the shootout as Montreal nabbed a 2-1 win. Carey Price out-dueled Brent Johnson for the win, making 31 saves, giving him three seasons with 20 wins before he’s 24. It was the third-straight game that Montreal had gone to overtime.

There was plenty of scoring in Toronto last night but fortunately for the Leafs, they pulled off just their third in their last eight. Colby Armstrong opened up the scoring just 15 seconds into the game, and things snowballed from there. Former Leaf Alex Steen scored to make it 1-1, as St. Louis took a 2-1 lead to the second. The Leafs stormed out with three goals in four minutes midway through the second, but up 5-2 in the third, the Leafs gave up three straight. From there, the game went to a shootout where five of eight shooters scored, but Tyler Bozak was the last one to tickle the twine as the Leafs won 6-5.

Brian Rolston didn’t dress (as he was awaiting a trade) and it certainly didn’t help the Devils. While Dainius Zubrus was the only one to score in the first period, Scott Hartnell had two in the second and Danny Briere had two in the third as the Flyers doubled-up on the Devils 4-2. Johan Hedberg made his fourth-straight start, with the last three of them now being losses, while Brian Boucher got his second-straight start and won it.

Quick Hits:

-The big performers stepped up for Minnesota last night as Martin Havlat, Mikko Koivu, and Cal Clutterbuck all scored for the Wild in their 3-1 win over the Bruins.

-Taylor Pyatt had the only goals in a 2-0 win over the Colorado Avalanche over the Colorado Avalanche. Jason Labarbera got the shootout in an emergency start for Ilya Bryzgalov for personal reasons.

-The Islanders failed to win a fourth-straight game last night as Gilbert Brule and Dustin Penner scored in the first for Edmonton as the Oilers won 2-1.

-Marek Svatos had his first of the season and first as a Pred, Patric Hornqvist had two goals, and Sergei Kostitsyn and Colin Wilson had three points each as Nashville defeated the L.A. Kingst 5-2.

The Injury Bug:

-Sidney Crosby is out for “about a week” with a mild concussion. It’s thought that Crosby suffered the concussion during the Winter Classic, although it’s being said the Pens are avoiding a time frame on this because Crosby has played a game since then.

-Montreal’s Josh Gorges will miss the rest of the seasons with a knee injury.

-Rick DiPietro didn’t play last night, this after there was a bit of mystery surrounding whether he would play last night or not. His groin wasn’t healthy enough for him to the duties were split between Kevin Poulin and Nathan Lawson.

-Jordan Eberle had an emergency appendectomy last night. His recovery time won’t affect the recovery time for his ankle injury.

News and Rumours from Around the League:

-Jamie Langenbrunner is headed back to Dallas. The Stars, who have been surrounded by rumours with regards to whether or not they’ll keep Brad Richards and Mike Ribeiro, only had to give up a conditional pick in the deal.

Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Dustin Penner had the short-handed game-winning goal last night for the Edmonton Oilers and added an assist on Edmonton’s first goal of the night, finishing with a plus-two rating.

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