A Day in the NHL: Wedesday Februay 9


Another six game night in the NHL saw plenty of goals, an amazing comeback by the Buffalo Sabres, and more than a few eyebrow-raising rumours.

The Night that Was:

If you own a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning or Buffalo Sabres, you probably had a good night that involved a couple of goals. Drew Stafford had a hat-trick while Thomas Vanek, Sean Bergenheim, and Vincent Lecavalier all had two goals. The Sabres trailed 3-2 heading in to the third period before scoring five unanswered goals, four of which happened within a three-minute span on the way to a 7-4 win. Jordan Leopold also had a quiet three points, while Mike Weber and Tyler Ennis each had two assists. Ryan Miller got the start again, his 29th straight (He’s started every game since November 26th against Toronto), earning his fourth win in his last five, as Buffalo moved within four points of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

While it wasn’t New Jersey’s greatest game of their recent streak of strong play, the Devils showed resilience in Martin Brodeur’s absence. Down 2-1, Nick Palmieri scored his fifth goal of the season with just three minutes to go to send it to overtime where Mattias Tedenby put home the winner, his second of the night. Ilya Kovalchuk extended his point-streak to five games, as the Devils won the tenth game of their last 13, 3-2. Jeff Skinner was the special teams star though: The rookie had two goals, both of them on the power play, for Carolina.

Four Columbus Blue Jackets registered multiple points in this game, including RJ Umberger, whose two assists give him seven points over his last three games. Jakub Voracek and Rick Nash both chipped in with one goal and one assist each as the Jackets beat up on a short-handed Pens squad 4-1. Steve Mason made 32 saves for the win, his third-straight win in his seventh-straight appearance.

The Toronto Maple Leafs pulled off their second win in as many nights when they took on the New York Islanders last night, as they victimized the Isles troublesome crease scenario. Mikko Koskinen allowed two goals on seven shots in the first period in his first NHL game, after Kevin Poulin left the game on crutches in the warm up. The closest Koskinen got to a win in his emergency start was when the Isles tied the game at two in the second. Nikloai Kulemin scored a goal for the third-straight game, while Darryl Boyce finished the evening with three assists and Colby Armstrong had a goal and two assists. After a tough loss to the Buffalo Sabres Saturday, James Reimer rebounded with 31 saves for his sixth win in the 5-3 victory.

Quick Hits:

Logan Couture and Dan Boyle had the goals for San Jose, both coming in the third period, as Antti Niemi shut out the Washington Capitals 2-0.

-The St. Louis Blues won on the strength of Matt D’Agostini’s 12th of the season as they beat the Florida Panthers 2-1.

What’s on Tonight?

Well, there are more than a couple of divisional matchups tomorrow: Montreal at Boston, Nashville and Detroit, Colorado and Minnesota, and Phoenix and Dallas. San Jose visits Columbus, Ottawa takes on Calgary in an All-Canadian matchup, Chicago heads to Edmonton, and the Vancouver Canucks look to push their win streak to seven as they take on the Anaheim Ducks.

The Injury Bug:

Keith Ballard sprained his MCL on Monday. While it’s not great news, the 2-4 week timeline that he’ll be out isn’t something the Canucks will complain about seeing that other NHL teams have already lost key players to serious knee injuries.

Martin Brodeur is out indefinitely with a sprained knee. The Devils have said he’s day-to-day but also that he’ll need to rehabilitate the knee.

-The Canadiens will be getting James Wisniewski back from strep throat. The defender is going through a career year, on pace for 50 points, and has 13 points in 15 games with Montreal.

Rumours and News Around the League:

Matt Cooke and Anton Volchenkov have hearings scheduled today. Both will be facing disciplinary action for questionable hits they delivered last night. The suspensions will be five games or fewer, as the meetings will be held via phone.

Ray Emery is officially headed to the AHL to work on his conditioning. He cleared waivers and is still a Duck.

-And as far as rumours go? Apparently no one is off the market in Atlanta, Los Angeles hopes to be active at the deadline, and Calgary will be buyers if their season keeps going like this.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Darryl Boyce, you got it. Three assists fell by the wayside in the eyes of some, but they were a big part of Toronto’s win. All three came even strength, leaving him with a plus-three rating, as Boyce set up the first goal, the go-ahead goal in the third, and the insurance goal for the Leafs.

You can reach Bryan through e-mail at bryanhiel74@hotmail.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at BryanThiel_88.