A Day in the NHL: Wednesday March 2


We start today off with a philosophical question: Which is more interesting: The playoff race in the Western Conference, or any interview that Charlie Sheen conducts?

The Night that Was:

It was closer than they would have liked, but the Washington Capitals got overtime heroics out of Alexander Ovechkin in a 2-1 win over the New York Islanders. Matt Moulson had the only goal for New York as Nate Lawson made his first start since February 17, but was strong despite the loss making 40 saves. Ovechkin would add an assist to give him points in six of his last seven, but it was a pretty quiet night for Washington’s offense. Of the additions to make their debuts for the Caps, only Jason Arnott earned a point (an assist) while Dennis Wideman played 26 minutes and was a plus two, and Marco Sturm had two shots in nearly 12 minutes of action.

With two points from Max Pacioretty the Montreal Canadiens earned a big 3-1 win over Atlanta, giving them three wins over their last four games. Carey Price had an unbelievable night for the Habs, stopping 40 of 41 shots as he moved within two wins of 30 for the first time in his NHL career. Nik Antropov scored just his eleventh goal of the season for Atlanta, as it beings to look more and more likely that his streak of three-straight 20-goal and 50-point seasons is coming to an end. While Montreal holds on to sixth-place in the East, Atlanta failed to move out of a tie with 10th place Toronto.

You want exciting? How about a 1-0 game between the Boston Bruins and the Ottawa Senators. The Northeast division’s worst team got yet another quality performance out of Craig Anderson, as the mid-season pickup stopped 20 of 21 shots and is 3-1 and has allowed just five goals in his four games with the Senators. Boston’s goal came courtesy of Nathan Horton, as the former Panther notched his 18th of the season and Tuukka Rask made 33 saves for his second shutout of the year, after earning five of them last year.

At the other end of the spectrum, while still a shutout, was the 6-0 clobbering that the Calgary Flames laid on the St. Louis Blues. Jarome Iginla scored his 26th and 27th goals of the season, putting him three shy of 30 goals for the tenth-straight season. Iginla would add an assist, giving him one of three three-point nights for the Flames. Alex Tanguay had the other with a goal and two assists, and Brendan Morrison added three assists. Rookie Ben Bishop allowed all six goals while Miikka Kiprusoff stopped 25 shots for the shutout.

Quick Hits:

-Under the “first NHL goal” category, you can add Blake Geoffrion’s name. The grandson of ‘Boom Boom’ had he only regulation goal for Nashville as they fell 2-1 to Edmonton in a shootout.

Joe Thornton and Erik Johnson traded regulations goals while Ryan Clowe had the lone one in a shootout for a 2-1 Sharks win.

-Third time’s the charm? Scottie Upshall scored in his Columbus debut, but the third 2-1 shootout game was won by Vancouver as this one had 16 shooters.

-The man Upshall was traded for, Rostislav Klesla, also scored in his debut for the Coyotes, but the Dallas Stars scored the goal to make it 3-2 with five seconds to go.

Brad Boyes scored in his first game with the Sabres too, as Buffalo earned themselves a 3-2 win over the New York Rangers.

Eric Staal had the game-winner in his return to the lineup as Carolina beat visiting Florida 2-1.

What’s on Tonight?

The Penguins head North to Toronto, Tampa Bay visits New Jersey, Minnesota takes on the Islanders, Calgary and Chicago hook up, and it’s an always-entertaining Detroit and Anaheim matchup.

The Injury Bug:

Mikko Koivu’s broken finger is healing well, and he’s expected to miss just two more weeks after visiting with a hand specialist.

-Staying with the Wild, after suffering a setback in practice on Sunday, the hope is that Guillame Latendresse will be back in the next one-to-two weeks. He’s been out since late November because of surgery for a torn labrum and a sports hernia.

-The Devils might be getting a little more dangerous. Word is that Zach Parise is set to have his knee examines and he could begin skating soon. No timetable on his return though.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Nate Lawson gets it, despite the Isles dropping one to the Capitals last night. It took a highlight-reel goal to beat him in overtime, and eight of the 42 shots he faced last night came off the stick of Alexander Ovechkin. It was a hard-earned point for the rookie goalie.

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