A Day in the NHL: Friday February 4th


There were a handful of two goal games in the NHL last night, but there was one game better than them all. It was in Boston and it was no tea party (Yes…I had to make that joke. It’s in a contract somewhere).

The Night that Was:

It’s not often that you get cross-conference rivalries that are this heated, but that’s what the case seems to be between the Dallas Stars and the Boston Bruins. Stars’ forward Steve Ott has had a history not only with the Bruins, laying a few cheap shots on them in 2009, but with Boston forward Gregory Campbell as well back when Campbell was with Florida. They’ve got a little more history now that one second into last night’s game they led off the night with a fight. Then, at the two-second mark of the game Shawn Thornton and Krys Barch got into it. Then, at the four-second mark it was Adam McQuaid and Brian Sutherby. Oh, and then it was Andrew Ference and Adam Burish four minutes in. Oh, and Dan Paille got ejected for a check to the head of Raymond Sawada in the second period. The Bruins got three points out of three different players and goals from five sources in a 6-3 win over Dallas. Like THAT was the important part though.

Cam Ward pulled out all the stops, literally, against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night, but he was out-dueled by James Reimer as the rookie earned his first NHL shutout, making 27 saves. Ward made enough highlight-reel saves to fill a U-Haul last night, but his best was one he never got to savor. Ward went across the crease to make a sprawling glove save on Tim Brent, but Kris Versteeg threw one past Ward just seconds later to make the final 3-0. And if you wanted more fighting, you got it: Jay Rosehill went after Tim Gleason, the man who sucker-punched Nikolai Kulemin, and fed him some fists.

The Calgary Flames pushed their winning streak to six games last night and sit just one point out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference with their 4-2 win over the Atlanta Thrashers. Atlanta actually came back from a 1-0 deficit to take a 2-1 lead on goals by Bryan Little and Anthony Stewart, but Brendan Morrison tied it up, and Mikael Backlund and Curtis Glencross had third period goals. Miikka Kiprusoff has now won four-straight starts, allowing more than two goals in just one of those games. It was Atlanta’s second-straight loss and they’ve earned just two points in their last four games.

The New Jersey Devils are another last-place team working on climbing their way out of the cellar, and they’re doing a pretty good job of it as of late. The Devils have won six of their last seven after last night’s 3-2 win over the New York Rangers. The Devils actually got out a 3-0 lead, starting out with Ilya Kovalchuk’s second goal in his last four games. On the bright side for the Rangers, the returning Vinny Prospal scored a goal on the power play, his first goal since April 7 last season and first game since April 11.

Quick Hits:

Ville Leino had two for the Flyers as they handed Nashville their fourth-straight loss, 3-2.

Chris Stewart had his first two-point game since returning to Colorado’s lineup, but Andrew Brunette, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu each had two points in Minnesota’s 4-3 win over the Avs.

What’s on Tonight?

The Devils will try to keep their winning ways going against the Florida Panthers, while Buffalo visits the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Columbus faces Detroit in a Central Division matchup, Washington tries to build a little momentum against Tampa Bay, and Edmonton hopes youth prevails against the St. Louis Blues. Last year’s champion Chicago also visits this year’s contender in Vancouver.

The Injury Bug:

Marc Savard will undergo further testing on Friday, as he and the Bruins wrestle with the decision to shut him down for the season.

-While Evgeni Malkin is on his way back to the Pittsburgh lineup, rookie Mark Letestu will be leaving it. Letestu will be undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery and will be out for a month to a month-and-a-half.

-The Ottawa Senators should have Jason Spezza back in the lineup on Saturday. Spezza has missed 15 games with a shoulder injury after being run headfirst into the boards

Rumours and News Around the League:

Peter Forsberg is hoping for a decision on his future with the Avs this weekend. Forsberg has been practicing with the team, but seemed tired at his most-recent practice with the team.

Mike Smith was re-assigned to Norfolk of the AHL by Tampa Bay after he cleared waivers.

-The Maple Leafs have sent Jonas Gustavsson to the Toronto Marlies for a conditioning stint. Gustavsson has just six wins in 23 games this season.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Boston scored six goals last night and Mark Recchi assisted on three of them. He, along with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand led the way with three points for the Boston Bruins. Despite their being nine goals in this game, none were on the power play.

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