A Day in the NHL: Wednesday February 2nd


Back from the All-Star break in full force, the NHL had 13 games on the schedule last night. Now only 12 of them got played because of the weather and there were a few blackouts, but there was still plenty of scoring and a few comebacks as well.

The Night that Was:

You want balanced scoring? How about seven different goal scorers as the Chicago Blackhawks opened up the second half of the season with a 7-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. To put this in perspective, Tomas Kopecky, Brian Campbell and Nik Hjalmarsson were the only ‘Hawks who weren’t able to register points, while five Chicago players had multiple points, including Fernando Pisani’s third two-point game of the season and second of the new year. Marty Turco got the win in just his second start since December 30th while Columbus was forced to use both goalies in this game. Chicago finished January with back-to-back losses while Columbus has lost two straight after earning points in five straight. For those interested, Rich Nash did continue his nine-game point streak.

The Pittsburgh Penguins had to overcome a 2-0 lead from the New York Rangers, but couldn’t hold on once they got the lead as their Atlantic Division match went to a shootout. Between 14 shooters Dustin Jeffrey was the only one who was able to score as Pittsburgh stole a 4-3 win over in Madison Square Garden, their sixth without Sidney Crosby in the lineup. This game was marred however by Jordan Staal’s sucker punch in the second period on Brandon Prust. After Prust laid a hit by the Rangers’ bench, Staal came over to avenge his teammate and planted one right on Prusts’ jaw and Staal found himself exiting the game because of it.

Mark Recchi celebrated his 43rd birthday with a win yesterday over the Carolina Hurricanes, 3-2. Patrice Bergeron continued his hot play as of late, logging the game-winner, while Nathan Horton broke out of a five-game scoreless streak with his first goal since January 3rd and just his second since December 11th. Zdeno Chara had two helpers for Boston while Erik Cole, and Sergei Samsonov each had two assists for the All-Star hosts. Boston won for the third time in their last four while Carolina failed to win their third-straight.

The Calgary Flames continued their winning streak last night, pushing it to five games and moving them even closer to a playoff spot with a big 3-2 win over Nashville in the shootout. The Flames moved within a point of a playoff spot as Rene Bourque was the first shooter of the shootout and the only one to score. Cory Sarich’s second goal of the season came at the perfect time when he tied the game at two partway through the third, while Patric Hornqvist snapped a four-game goal-less drought with his 16th for Nashville.

Quick Hits:

-Wow. That New Jersey/Ottawa game sure was something. While the Devils pulled off a 2-1 win, Alex Kovalev scored his ninth of the season for Ottawa and first since December 23.

Kyle Okposo had two goals for the New York Islanders as Kevin Poulin made 25 saves for the 4-1 win over Atlanta.

-Toronto allowed a late goal from Florida but Colby Armstrong cemented things in the shootout for Toronto’s 4-3 win over the Panthers.

Teddy Purcell had two goals while Dwayne Roloson made 38 saves for yet another shutout as Tampa Bay won their sixth-straight, 4-0 over Philadelphia.

-Some hat-tricks don’t count, like Brian Gionta’s. Gionta had two regulation goals and then scored the shootout winner in Montreal’s 3-2 win over Washington.

-The Vancouver Canucks moved two points up on Philadelphia for top spot in the NHL with their third-straight win, 4-1 over the Dallas Stars.

Jonathan Bernier and Niklas Backstrom dueled through a scoreless regulation and overtime and Pierre-Marc Bouchard potted the winner in Minnesota’s 1-0 shootout victory over the L.A. Kings.

-Four third period goals saw Phoenix lose a 3-1 lead as San Jose won 5-3. Kyle Wellwood had his first as a Shark while Keith Yandle’s point streak has hit double digits (10 games).

-The Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues didn’t play last night thanks to the weather. No makeup date has been announced.

What’s on Tonight?

Detroit heads to Ottawa in what should have been Pavel Datsyuk’s return to the lineup but won’t be, while the New York Islanders visit Pittsburgh as both teams play their second in two nights. Florida heads to Montreal, Los Angeles visits Edmonton, and Vancouver visits Phoenix, putting four Canadian teams in action. San Jose also visits Anaheim.

The Injury Bug:

-The Boston Bruins are considering shutting Marc Savard down for the season after Savard suffered yet another concussion just months after coming back from his last one. He’ll be re-evaluated on Wednesday.

-No word on when Datsyuk will return to the lineup for Detroit, but he’s been taken off of injured reserve. Detroit’s next game (after tonight) is Friday.

-It’s expected that Ryan O’Reilly is close to returning to Colorado’s lineup. There was the possibility that he was going to play on Tuesday before the game was cancelled.

Ales Hemsky might get the green light on Wednesday for Edmonton, while Jordan Eberle is questionable.

Rumours and News Around the League:

Nate Thompson scored a two-year contract extension from the Tampa Bay Lightning. The extension is worth $1.8-million.

-The Tomas Kaberle sweepstakes are reportedly opening up again, or at least they’re being forced open by the media and everyone who wants to see him move. Keep your eyes and ears open. Yet again.

-Word is that Lindy Ruff turned down a contract extension from the Buffalo Sabres earlier this season. Ruff does want to stay with Buffalo however. The sale of the Sabres also went through to Terry Pegula.

-Staal was handed a one-game suspension for his punch to Prust.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Jonathan Toews had a goal and two assists last night to pace that Blackhawks 7-4 win. Toews goal, a shorthanded one, turned out to be the winner, and he was a plus-two to go along with those totals.

If you want to e-mail Bryan, you can at bryanthiel74@hotmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.