A Day in the NHL : Wednesday February 16


As we get closer and closer to the trade deadline, the rumours continue to heat up and the deals continue to get faxed through. The Maple Leafs and Ottawa Senators have already established themselves as sellers, but who else? Well, we’ll soon find out.

The Night that Was:

For the first time in a long time, Phil Kessel scored a goal, and for the first time ever, he scored against his former team. Kessel scored two goals against the Bruins, his first since January 11, to help the Maple Leafs to a 4-3 win. Mikhail Grabovski scored two as well, giving him 24 on the season, despite getting planted into the boards, face-first, by Zdeno Chara. Twice. Joffrey Lupul also recorded two assists for his first points as a member of the Leafs and James Reimer earned his third win in five starts. Greg Campbell had two points for Boston as they remain deadlocked with Montreal atop the Northeast after the 4-3 loss.

The top two teams in the Eastern Conference met up last night and the Philadelphia Flyers came out on top. The Tampa Bay Lightning scored three second-period goals to tie things at three, which is where they stayed until Kimmo Timonen scored in the seventh-round of the shootout. James van Riemsdyk had a Gordie Howe hat-trick in the 4-3 victory and Claude Giroux earned an assist for the fourth time in five games. Vincent Lecavalier scored a goal for the fourth-straight game and has points in five of six despite Tampa Bay alternating wins and losses.

Vancouver overcame a Monday-night loss to St. Louis and a first-period tie with Minnesota to expand their Northwest divison lead over the second-place Flames to nearly 20 points (17 to be exact). Manny Malhotra and Ryan Kessler’s two-point nights, and Jannik Hansen’s eighth goal paced the Canucks’ 4-1 win. Cal Clutterbuck’s career season continued for the Wild with his 18th goal and fourth in the last three games,  as it was the only one for Minnesota and their three-game winning streak came to an end.

The Montreal Canaidens earned that Northeast-leading tie with the Bruins thanks to the point they pulled out of their 3-2 shootout loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo rallied from being down 2-0 in the second with goals from Drew Stafford and Jason Pominville, as a pretty lengthy shootout was the result. Jochen Hecht scored in the 10th round of the shootout for Buffalo’s third-straight overtime game and fifth win in their last six. The Sabres are two points out of a playoff spot, while the Habs sit fifth in the East despite being tied with Boston.

Quick Hits:

-The Islanders and Senators traded goals, but yet another game came down to a shootout. This time, Frans Nielsen was the hero as the Isles won 4-3.

Cody Franson and Devin Setoguchi traded regulation goals and with just over a minute left in overtime Patrick Marleau’s 22nd gave the Sharks a 2-1 win.

Shawn Horcoff had three points and three other Oilers had two points as the Oilers played their way to a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars.

What’s on Tonight?

Toronto heads to Buffalo for a matchup that’s always a tough win for them. Carolina visits New Jersey, Los Angeles takes on Columbus and Florida hosts Philly. Martin Havlat brings his Minnesota Wild to his old stomping ground in Chicago while the now Forsberg-less Colorado Avalanche welcome the Crosby/Malkin-less Penguins. The Flames look to keep winning against Dallas while Washington and Anaheim go head to head too.

The Injury Bug:

-While there’s no timetable for his return, Martin Brodeur is making progress. The Devils’ goalie skated Tuesday, and if his knee is up to it, will skate again Wednesday.

Adam Foote will miss at least another week with a leg injury, while Matt Duchene is day-to-day with a hand injury according to the Avalanche.

Olli Jokinen is listed as day-to-day after taking a knee-on-knee hit on Monday against the Avalanche. Tim Jackman is the same (day-to-day) with an upper-body injury.

Rumours and News Around the League:

-Rumours continue to swirl around the Maple Leafs and Boston Bruins. Tomas Kaberle, again, is the centerpiece of these talks, but no word yet.

-Ontario’s other team made a deal though, and it was with Boston too. Chris Kelly was sent to Boston for a 2011 second-round pick.

Dustin Byfuglien is going to be in Atlanta for a while. He signed a $26-million, five-year contract yesterday that will keep him with the Thrashers through 2015-16.

-Some sources are reporting that, while Zach Bogosian hasn’t asked for a trade, he would enjoy a change of scenery for next year.

-The Carolina Hurricanes will be retiring Rod Brind’Amour’s number 17 on Friday night. Brind’Amour has been a Hurricane since 2000.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

James van Riemsdyk and his Gordie Howe hattrick take home the hardware tonight. Seven penalty minutes, a plus-one rating, a power play assist and his 13th goal of the season all happened last night. Now that’s a pretty big evening.

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