A Day in the NHL: Monday February 21st


It was Hockey Day in America yesterday,which means the Calgary Flames hosting an outdoor game makes complete sense. After Friday’s waterfall of trades, the weekend was quiet.

The Night that Was:

In the second outdoor game ever held on Canadian soil, the province of Alberta got revenge on the Montreal Canadiens. You see, both teams in the Alberta have now hosted an outdoor game, but where the Edmonton Oilers lost to the Montreal Canadiens, the Calgary Flames earned another victory. The Flames’ third-straight win catapulted them out of a five-way tie for seventh and into a two-way tie for fifth in the Western Conference. Rene Bourque had two goals, giving him 19 on the season and putting him one away from a third-straight 20-goal season. In addition, Alex Tanguay and Brendan Morrison each had two points and Anton Babchuk scored his ninth of the season and first career shorthanded goal. Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 39 shots as Montreal lost their second in a row, 4-0.

The East-leading Flyers trailed for all of four minutes yesterday against the New York Rangers before three unanswered goals put them up 3-1 and they eventually held on for a 4-2 win. Claude Giroux scored his 20th of the season; becoming the third Flyer to do so, while Kris Versteeg’s first as a Flyer was the insurance marker. Brian Boucher made 37 saves as he has now won four-straight starts, while Henrik Lundqvist has now lost back-to-back starts for the Rangers. Four Flyers recorded multiple points in the win, while Wojtek Wolski and Derek Stepan had the goals for New York.

Detroit and Minnesota seemed destined to finish in a scoreless tie. No one had scored through the first two periods yesterday until Nick Lidstrom’s 12th finally opened the scoring just a minute into the third. Soon after, Martin Havlat turned the tables, scoring on a breakaway and sending things to overtime. While Jimmy Howard’s 25 saves and Niklas Backstrom’s 38 stops held the two sides in check, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi, playing in his 1,000 career game, made sure there was a winner and that it was Detroit. The 2-1 victory was the fifth in a row for Detroit.

Chicago’s quest to avoid missing the playoffs following up a Stanley Cup victory gained some momentum yesterday with a 3-2 shootout win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Patrick Sharp scored his third goal in the last two games midway through the first to open things up, but Matt Cooke tied it shorthanded, and then Bryan Bickell and Brett Sterling traded goals. Finals hero Patrick Kane was the only one to score in the shootout, as Corey Crawford continued his streak of strong play. Crawford has allowed more than two goals just one in his past six starts. Chicago is now two points out of a playoff spot while Pittsburgh has lost five of their last seven.

Quick Hits:

Alexander Ovechkin assisted on Marcus Johansson’s game-winner to extend his point-streak to three games as the Capitals beat Buffalo 2-1.

What’s on Tonight?

Three games taking place today: Florida visits the New York Islanders, St. Louis hosts the Blackhawks, and Washington visits Pittsburgh in a rematch of the Winter Classic.

The Injury Bug:

-Trading Brad Richards may be a little more difficult than planned if that’s what the Dallas Stars want to do. He hasn’t skated since his run-in with Sami Pahlsson and he’s experiencing what’s being called post-concussion syndrome.

-It’s unclear how long Ryan Suter will be out after suffering an upper-body injury against Phoenix on Saturday.

Marian Gaborik left Sunday’s game against Philly with a concussion, but the Rangers don’t know when  it happened. Claiming it didn’t happen Sunday, reports are that Gaborik hasn’t been feeling 100% recently.

-Phoenix placed Ed Jovanovski on Injured Reserve this weekend after he underwent surgery to repair an injured orbital bone. His absence will be measured in weeks, not days.

Rumours and News Around the League:

-There were rumours yesterday that Chicago was looking to acquire a defenseman and one of three teams were in the running. Keep an eye on the Blackhawks.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom made 38 saves in a shootout loss yesterday, crippling the offense of the second-highest scoring team in the league. The only Detroit player to not get a shot on Backstrom was Tomas Holmstrom, while he stopped Johan Franzen a game-high six times.

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