A Day in the NHL: Thursday February 3rd

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Well…Johan Franzen proved that he can count to five last night and the San Jose Sharks nearly had the tables turned on them in what was a bit of a quieter night for the NHL. Oh, and Mother Nature kept her distance too.

The Night that Was:

The Pittsburgh Penguins were only without two of their top-three forwards yesterday when they hosted the New York Islanders. When Jordan Staal was given his match penalty Tuesday, it came with an automatic one-game suspension that was lifted by the NHL. Even with Staal in the lineup though, the Pens found other offensive sources in a 3-0 victory. Paul Martin had two assists scored a goal in his second-consecutive game, but that’s not what’s going to earn headlines. With the game just seconds away from ending, Rick DiPietro planted a slew-foot on Matt Cooke as he cut in front of the Islanders’ goal. Cooke went tumbling into the corner as Brent Johnson came down to defend his fallen teammate. Yes, that’s right, Brent Johnson the goalie. He not only had the shutout, but a one-punch knockout of DiPietro as well. Brent Johnson could punch Chuck Norris’ roundhouse kick square in the….kick.

When a player scores five goals in a game, you’d think his team could have gotten by on his contributions alone. While Johan Franzen had five for the Detroit Red Wings against Ottawa, the Senators put up five of their own. It was Niklas Kronwall and Kris Draper who put Detroit over the top in their 7-5 victory over the Senators. Chris Campoli, Peter Regin, and Alex Kovalev all had a goal and two assists for the Senators while Milan Michalek had his first two-goal game of the season. It was Ottawa’s 12th loss in their last 13 games and their eighth-straight loss at home while Detroit has won back-to-back games. And if you’re wondering, Marian Gaborik was the last player to score five goals, accomplishing the feat three years ago against the New York Rangers when he was with Minnesota.

It was a second-straight disappointing loss for the Phoenix Coyotes, but they never scored last night, let alone had a lead to surrender. Alex Burrows opened the scoring, extending a four-game point-streak, while Ryan Kesler scored his 29th and 30th goals of the season, and Cody Hodgson had a high-light reel first NHL marker. Roberto Luongo made 23 saves for his third-straight win and made the fewest saves of any of his three shutouts this season. Vancouver won 6-0 over Phoenix.

Drew Doughty and Taylor Hall met up, and Hall got a little revenge after he was flattened in their last meeting by Doughty. Hall shed Doughty as he entered the zone in the first period, and Doughty didn’t take too kindly to that. Along with a few choice words for Hall, Doughty wired two shots from the point, both of which were tipped in by Ryan Smyth, while Jack Johnson had a goal and two assists as the Kings have earned a point in five straight and won three of their last five. If you were wondering, Magnus Paajarvi had the lone goal for the Oilers in their 3-1 loss.

Quick Hits:

Scott Timmins scored his first career NHL goal but PK Subban and Max Pacioretty each had two assists in Montreal’s 3-2 win over Florida.

-The San Jose Sharks got three goals in the third period, but nearly saw it all slip away to the Anaheim Ducks. They did, however, hold on for the 4-3 win over the Ducks.

What’s on Tonight?

The Dallas Stars head to Boston to take on the Bruins while super rookie Jeff Skinner makes a return trip home as Carolina heads to Toronto. New Jersey and the New York Rangers meet up while the Nashville Predators hit up the City of Brotherly Love in hopes of not getting hit-up by the Flyers. The current Flames (Calgary) head to the former Flames (Altanta) and Minnesota and Colorado hook up in a Northwest Division showdown.

The Injury Bug:

-The New York Rangers have some injury news: Vinny Prospal is set to make his season debut after missing the first half recovering from a knee injury, while they’ll be without Ruslan Fedotenko after he underwent an emergency appendectomy. Fedotenko is expected to miss three weeks.

-The St. Louis Blues activated Andy McDonald from injured reserve yesterday. He had missed 24 games with a concussion.

-The Carolina Hurricanes will be missing Jussi Jokinen to a lower-body injury for the next week or two. He suffered the injury Tuesday against Boston.

Rumours and News Around the League:

Mike Brown was re-signed by the Toronto Maple Leafs to a three-year contract. While not an offensive dynamo, Brown gives the Leafs attitude…and a nice moustache.

-The Tampa Bay Lightning placed Mike Smith on waivers, but fear not, the Islanders have said they’re not interested.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

I never thought I’d be giving this to Jack Johnson, but he had a goal and two assists, and was completely overlooked thanks to Johan Franzen’s big night. Both of Johnson’s assists came on the power play, while the three points broke him out of a three-game drought.


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