A Day in the NHL: Thursday January 27


Today is the start of the All-Star break and yesterday nine games closed out the pre-break schedule. It seemed like a good day to be a captain too, as a couple of captains had a few big nights including an All-Star Captain.

The Night that Was:

While they were on the road for this one, the hosts of the 2011 NHL All-Star game closed out their pre-festive schedule with a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders. All-Star Captain Eric Staal had two goals and an assist while Erik Cole had two assists. Cam Ward won the third of his last four starts, making 23 saves, while Rick DiPietro lost his third-straight appearance. One of the rookies participating in the Super Skills competition, Michael Grabner, had a goal and an assist for the Isles as they sit just two points ahead of New Jersey for last in the Eastern Conference.

Speaking of those New Jersey Devils, they were in action against the Detroit Red Wings and things…didn’t go so well. Although the two teams were tied after two periods, Valtteri Filppula and Johan Franzen scored in the third to give the Wings the 3-1 win. Brian Rolston had the lone goal for the Devils, extending his personal five-game point streak, as the Devils lost for the first time during those five games. Detroit enters the break having won two of their last three.

Matt Duchene’s 100th career point was also his 20th goal of the season, but it was one of just two the Colorado Avalanche scored as they lost 5-2 to the visiting Phoenix Coyotes. Eric Belanger had his first two-goal game of the season while one of the newest All-Stars Keith Yandle had a goal and an assist, giving him three-straight two-point games and a nine-game point streak. Yandle enters the break as the highest-scoring defenseman in the league, while Phoenix moved three points up on Colorado in the playoff race. The Coyotes are sixth while Colorado sits ninth in a tight Western Conference.

The Calgary Flames continue to make the West the tight conference that it is, as Calgary won it’s fourth-straight and have earned a point in nine of their last ten. While it was an empty-netter, Jarome Iginla score a goal for the third time in four games and extended a three-game point-streak to four, while Adam Pardy scored his first of the year for the Flames in their 4-1 win over St. Louis. Philip McRae’s first NHL goal was the only one for the Blues who are now 14th in the Western Conference, and while Ty Conklin’s stats don’t reflect it (16 of 19 shots stopped) both he and Miikka Kiprusoff (especially Kipper) made a number of huge saves.

Quick Hits:

-Want excitement? The Washington/Atlanta game was full of it. Nik Antropov scored the only goal in a 1-0 Thrashers’ win.

Milan Lucic cracked the 20-goal barrier for the second time in his career as his marker was the game-winner for Boston as they beat Florida 2-1.

Brenden Morrow had his fourth two-goal game of the season for the Stars as Dallas won for the first time since their five-game win streak was snapped, 3-1 over Edmonton.

-Vancouver and Nashville saved all of their scoring for the third period, where Lee Sweatt’s first NHL goal capped a Canucks comeback at 2-1.

-San Jose and Los Angeles went to a shootout, where the Kings came out on top and moved within a point of a playoff spot. The Kings triumphed, 3-2 over the Sharks.

What’s on Tonight?

Well…nothing tonight, but on Friday you can watch the All-Star Game Fantasy Draft, Saturday is the skills competition, and Sunday is the game itself.

The Injury Bug:

-The Thrashers are hopeful that Evander Kane will be ready to go post-All Star break. Kane didn’t play Wednesday.

Thomas Holmstrom isn’t able to hold a stick for the Red Wings, so the recovery has a little ways to go for the winger. Dan Cleary meanwhile, fully participated in practice on Tuesday.

-It’s expected that Ryan Malone will be back in the Tampa Bay lineup post-All Star Break.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Eric Belanger’s two goals were big for Phoenix as one of them turned out to be the game-winner. Belanger added four penalty minutes, was a plus-one, and now has three points in his last three games.

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