A Day in the NHL: Wednesday February 23


Joe Thornton scored his 300th career goal last night, while two hot teams lost a step and two were able to keep up their winning ways. Who were they? Find out….

The Night that Was:

New Jersey is hot. Simple as that. While it was no high-scoring effort, Nick Palmieri’s sixth goal of the season in the last half of the third period, gave the Devils all they needed for a 1-0 win. Johan Hedberg made 19 saves for the win, his sixth-straight, and his second shutout in the last three games. Ilya Kovalchuk also assisted on that Palemieri goal, giving him an 11-game point streak. Dallas lost for the fifth-straight game, scoring two or fewer goals in each of those games, and has just one win in ten games so far in February.

The two teams who made the most shocking trade of the past weekend met up on Tuesday and the players involved in the swap made sure their former clubs took notice. The Colorado Avalanche held on for a 4-3 win with Erik Johnson scoring a goal, Chris Stewart recording his third as a member of the Blues, and Kevin Shattenkirk earning an assist on that goal. Jay McClement was held scoreless, although he went 8/16 on faceoffs, but the big contributor for the Avalanche was Paul Stastny. Stastny had a goal and two assists as Peter Budaj made 42 saves for his first win in a month (January 24th).

The Phoenix Coyotes have quietly composed eight-straight wins, including last night’s shocker over the Philadelphia Flyers, oddly enough by a 3-2 score (six of those eight wins have been by a 3-2 score). For two periods the Flyers led 1-0 on Ville Leino’s 14th, as his 41 points this season are more than double the amount of points he came into this season with (He had just 20 career NHL points before this year). Eric Belanger and Taylor Pyatt put the ‘Yotes up until Claude Giroux tied things late, but a power play in overtime and Shane Doan’s 14th gave Phoenix the win. Keith Yandle recorded an assist for his defenseman-leading 52nd point as Sergei Bobrovsky lost for the third time in four starts, while Ilya Bryzgalov has been in net for all eight Phoenix wins.

Milan Lucic put a stop the Calgary Flames’ winning ways. Lucic had two goals with David Krejci assisting on both of them, as the Bruins shelved Calgary with a 3-1 win. Curtis Glencross had the only goal for Calgary, giving him his first 20-goal season as Tim Thomas stopped the other 28 shots after he had lost two-straight starts. Boston has now won three-straight since losing three in a row in the middle of the month. For Calgary it was the first regulation loss since February 12th against Vancouver. The Flames are still in a playoff spot, they’re now just in a three-way tie for fifth.

Quick Hits:

-One of the teams Calgary is tied with is Minnesota, thanks to the Wild’s 4-1 win over Edmonton. Pierre-Marc Bouchard had three points in the win.

Phil Kessel had the winner for the Leafs as rookie James Riemer’s remarkable season continued with 28 saves. Toronto beat the Islanders 2-1.

-Despite two goals from Jussi Jokinen, the New York Rangers rebounded for a 4-3 shootout win over Carolina. Wojtek Wolski was the only one to score in the shootout.

-Two former London Knights combined for the Columbus Blue Jackets win last night. Steve Mason had 20 saves and Rick Nash had two goals as Columbus beat Nashville 4-0.

Dan Cleary scored two goals, but Devin Setoguchi had two of his own, continuing his recent hot play. San Jose beat Detroit 4-3.

-It was no easy night for Carey Price. The Vancouver Canucks fired 39 shots on him, but Price made 37 saves in a much-needed Montreal win, 3-2.

What’s on Tonight?

The Ducks head to Buffalo to battle the Sabres, while the Panthers and Senators showcase some tradable pieces in Ottawa. San Jose looks for back-to-back road wins in Pittsburgh, Phoenix hopes to make it nine straight in Tampa Bay, and Edmonton hits Mile High City to take on the Avalanche. Los Angeles takes on Anaheim in the late game of the night.

The Injury Bug:

Ryan Suter is expected to be back in the lineup for the Nashville Predators on Thursday. Suter suffered an upper-body injury over the weekend.

-The New York Rangers are hoping that Marian Gaborik will be cleared for action Friday. Gaborik has a concussion, the team just doesn’t know when it happened.

-No update on Anaheim’s Jonas Hiller other than that the team is being very careful with him. Hiller is out with what the team is calling exhaustion.

Jesse Winchester could be activated for Ottawa’s game Wednesday while Derek Dorsett was activated by Columbus for yesterday’s game.

Rumours and News Around the League:

Bryan McCabe is one of the most sough-after defensemen on the market, with a couple of intriguing destinations coming up, including Montreal and Calgary.

-The next Senator on his way out of Ottawa could be Chris Neil. Neil would provided necessary grit and experience to a playoff-bound team.

-Another veteran, Colorado’s Milan Hejduk, could be had for the right price. He’s not being actively shopped, but the Avs probably won’t turn down an offer that goes above and beyond.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Despite the loss, Jussi Jokinen had a pair of goals for the Carolina Hurricanes, giving him 14 on the year. Jokinen added a plus-two rating and four shots on goal in 20 minutes of work.

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