A Day in the NHL: Thursday January 20


It was embarrassing to be a Canadian team last night. While only two of them were in action, there were enough goals given up for all six of them.

The Night that Was:

New York is known for shows, but this is a little ridiculous. The Maple Leafs visited the Rangers last night and Marian Gaborik had the NHL’s first four-goal game, giving him 15 on the season. Both goalies saw action for Toronto in what turned into a 7-0 blowout, but J.S. Giguere only saw three shots in the first period as Jonas Gustavasson was pulled and then re-inserted to start the second. Henrik Lundqvist made 22 saves for his seventh shutout of the season to tie Tim Thomas for the league lead, while Artem Anisimov had four assists.

In his return to the lineup, Niklas Backstrom stopped 37 Calgary Flames shots while Miikka Kiprusoff stopped just 18 of 24 shots in a 6-0 loss to Minnesota. Martin Havlat had a three-point night (two goals) and Kyle Brodziak had three assists as four other members of the Wild had multiple points. Although they had won back-to-back games at one point this month, Calgary’s struggles have continued as they are just 3-3-3 this season. At least they’re kind of at .500.

Columbus and Florida was the only other game in the NHL on Wednesday, and this one made up for the other two blowouts. After going down 2-0 early in the first, Columbus scored one late in the opening period, but the game-tying goal didn’t come until there was just 53 seconds remaining in the game. It was a power play in the extra session that gave Columbus the win as RJ Umberger tipped home the winner. Steve Mason won the second of his last three starts, all three of which have gone to overtime, while the blueline had a big game as Grant Clitsome and Fedor Tyutin each had two points

What’s on Tonight?

The light night leads to a very busy one: Buffalo heads to Boston, Anaheim visits Toronto, Pittsburgh stops by in New Jersey and the Islanders get to host the Washington Capitals. Ottawa heads to the City of Brotherly Love to face the Flyers, the Rangers play their second in two nights against Carolina, while Tampa Bay and Atlanta face off in a Southeast battle. No, we aren’t there yet as Detroit and St. Louis hook up, Nashville has to be careful about falling victim to an Avalanche in Colorado (bad joke yes, but I’m running out of material), Dallas visits Edmonton, San Jose will be going head-to-head with Vancouver after a busy couple of days acquisition-wise, while the Coyotes head to tinsel town to take on the L.A. Kings.

The Injury Bug:

Shawn Horcoff is set to return to the lineup tonight for Edmonton after recovering from a knee injury, and its pretty good timing. Ales Hemsky will be out with a concussion, the scary thing being they don’t know when it happened.

Chris Pronger will be back in the lineup for the Philadelphia Flyers, which doesn’t bode well for the Ottawa Senators.

-Word is Pavel Datsyuk, who has resumed skating, could return to the Red Wings lineup for their first game following the All-Star break.

Wayne Simmonds might be back in the lineup for the Kings tonight. He did return to practice yesterday, so that’s a good sign.

-Ed Jovanovski is also expected to play on Thursday, following a three-game absence with his own lower-body injury.

Rumours and News Around the League:

-In a match-up of the CHL’s top prospects (Also called: The CHL Top Prospects Game), Team Orr (Coached by Doug Gilmour) beat Team Cherry 7-1. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Captained Team Orr to the win and won player of the game, while Ryan Murphy won it for Team Cherry.

Jarome Iginla withdrew from the All-Star game for personal reasons. Daniel Briere will take his place. The Calgary Flames are now unrepresented.

-Former-NHL’er Mike Danton hopes to make a return to the NHL, but many doubt that he can. Danton has been playing for the St. Mary’s Huskies (Canadian University) as has been named an academic All-Canadian for his straight-A average.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Begrudgingly it goes to Sean Avery. Not one of Avery’s biggest fans, but he did record three assists last night along with a plus-three rating.

E-mail Bryan at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com, or follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.