A Day in the NHL: Wednesday January 26


Four Canadian teams in action last night as the NHL had it’s second of three busy nights this week to wrap things up before the All-Star break. We’re just days away from the NHL Fantasy Draft!

The Night that Was:

After losing just two of their first seven games of the month, Montreal finished the month losing three of four and entered the All-Star break with a loss.  The Philadelphia Flyers started out with three goals before the Habs even got one, as the Flyers won 5-2. Chris Pronger had four assists, giving him six helpers in the four games he’s been back in the lineup, while the goals came from five different sources. Sergei Bobrovsky made his second-straight start and has now won six-straight starts, allowing two or fewer goals in each of them. Bobrovsky even added an assist on Daniel Briere’s 26th of the season as he’s already matched his goal output from last season. For the Habs, Mathieu Darche had a goal and an assist, giving him points in three-straight.

Ottawa tried valiantly to break their six-game home losing streak, but simply didn’t have enough luck against the Buffalo Sabres. While the Sens opened the scoring, Buffalo came back with two in the first, including Paul Byron’s first NHL goal. From there, it took a third-period power play and a goal from Sergei Gonchar to tie things up and force overtime. But bad luck struck the Sens as Shaone Morrisonn scored his first goal of the season. To prove just how rare this is, the Sabres defender now has just three points on the season and just one goal in five of his seven NHL seasons. Oddly enough, Morrissonn has a game-winner in four-straight seasons now, and in three of them he’s scored just one goal. The 3-2 overtime win was the fourth in five games for the Sabres.

The Edmonton Oilers snapped a five-game losing streak with their 4-3 win over the Phoenix Coyotes last night. The Oilers actually overcame a 2-0 deficit thanks to a huge outpouring from their high-powered rookies. Taylor Hall had a goal and an assist while Linus Omark scored his third of the year while Jeff Petry and Magnus Paajarvi each had assists. Kyle Turris had a big night for the Yotes’ himself as he recorded a goal and an assist and was one of three Coyotes with two points. Devan Dubnyk earned his third win in five starts while Ilya Bryzgalov started his eighth-straight game, but has now lost four of his last five.

Dwayne Roloson continues to be dynamic for the Tampa Bay Lightning as he earned his fourth shutout for them against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Teddy Purcell had a goal and an assist as Simon Gagne’s ninth of the season held up as the game winner. Both goals came in the first period, and while he came out on the losing end, call-up James Reimer stood on his head again for the Blue and White, stopping 29 of 31 shots. It was Tampa Bay’s fifth-straight win, while the Leafs lost their third-straight and sixth of their last seven.

Quick Hits:

-Despite three assists from Mats Zuccarello, the Rangers fell to Florida 4-3 as Michael Santorelli and Rostislav Olesz each had a goal and an assist.

-Maybe the New York Islanders don’t need Evegeni Nabokov. Although the offense is depleted, the Isles held Pittsburgh to just one goal. Unfortunately, they didn’t score any in a 1-0 loss.

Jason Blake’s 200th career goal was the difference for Anaheim as even Rick Nash continuing his eight-game point streak couldn’t steal the Ducks’ 3-2 win away.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard had two points for the Wild last night, giving him five points in his last four games as Nik Backstrom had his second win in three starts, 4-2 over Chicago.

What’s on Tonight?

On the last evening before the All-Star break, there’s plenty to choose from. Florida heads to Boston, while Carolina visits the Islanders and Washington takes on Atlanta. New Jersey will try to unseat the Red Wings in Detroit, while Edmonton visits Dallas. Phoenix and Colorado hook up, while Calgary looks to keep the hot-streak going against St. Lous. Vancouver looks to hit the break strong against Nashville, while San Jose and Los Angeles get together in a Pacific division clash.

The Injury Bug:

Colby Armstrong suffered a broken finger last night, but continued to play. It’ll be interesting to see whether he plays through it or not following the break.

Pavel Datsyuk is still planning on returning to the Wings’ lineup in the first game following the All-Star break.

Rumours and News Around the League:

-The Carolina Hurricanes will be sending three representatives to the All-Star Game. Super rookie Jeff Skinner has been announced as a participant.

Evgeni Nabokov earned a suspension from the New York Islanders for not reporting to the team. The stalemate continues.

-The Calgary Flames placed Craig Conroy on waivers yesterday, and it may mark the end to his career. The Flames will be missing a lot of leadership if Conroy slips away.

Jason Bailey, a Jewish hockey player, is suing the Anaheim Ducks. His claims are based on anti-Semitic remarks made to him by the coaching staff in Bakersfield while he was in the ECHL. There are also claims Bailey’s playing and practice time were affected, while it’s being reported he was forced to make separate travel arrangements from the team.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Mats Zuccarello. It’s not often that you’ll see a guy record three assists in a losing effort, but that’s the kind of night he had. He had an even-rating for the night, and one of his assists came on the power play.

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