A Day in the NHL: Thursday March 3


Goals galore in Chicago, a scary incident on Long Island, and the playoff races can’t get any tighter.

The Night that Was:

A high-scoring affair in Chicago last night saw the Blackhawks come away with the victory, but not before things got a little hairy. Chicago was up 4-1 in the third period before Calgary scored two to make it 4-3, and then after the ‘Hawks made it 5-3, Calgary made it 5-4 before it finished at 6-4 Michael Frolik had a huge game with a goal and two assists, while Jonathan Toews had two goals, and three other Blackhawks had two points. For Calgary it was Jarome Iginla with the three-point evening (which included his 28th goal of the season) while Rene Bourque had two goals. The win moved Chicago all the way into fourth after they came into the evening out of a playoff spot, while Calgary drops to sixth.

Toronto fans are used to Toronto blowing leads in the third period, not coming back from them. That was the story last night though as Phil Kessel scored the game-tying goal in the third period, and then added an assist on Mikhail Grabovski’s overtime winner for the 3-2 final. Grabovski, Kessel and Carl Gunnarsson each had two points for Toronto, while Matt Niskanen scored his first as a Penguin and of the season and added an assist as well. Pittsburgh is up three points on fifth-place Washington while Toronto is now just four points out.

The Detroit Red Wings and Anaheim Ducks were so tightly-contested last night that the game-winner had to be scored on a penalty shot in overtime by Bobby Ryan. It was also Ryan’s first career OT goal and penalty shot. Jason Blake and Pavel Datsyuk had the goals in regulation as Dan Ellis made 28 saves and Jimmy Howard stopped 26 shots. Detroit is still well ahead of their closest competition in the Central (9 points ahead of Chicago) while Anaheim moved one point out of eighth in the West with the 2-1 win.

Blake Comeau had two goals for the Islanders in their 4-1 victory last night, but there was plenty of rough stuff going on to take away from that win. Trevor Gillies was playing in his first game since returning from a suspension for the Pens/Isles brawl, but he’ll be headed back to the press box. Cal Clutterbuck hit Justin DiBenedetto into the boards and upon seeing this, Gillies then hit Clutterbuck from behind. Gillies was tossed from the game for hitting from behind and now has a hearing scheduled with the NHL for Friday.

Quick Hits:

-The Devils won again last night and are a sneaky nine points out of a playoff spot in the East. They beat Tampa Bay 2-1.

What’s on Tonight?

Tampa Bay heads to Boston, the Minnesota Wild visit the New York Rangers and Marian Gaborik (if he wasn’t hurt), Toronto takes on rival Philadelphia and St. Louis takes on the Washington Capitals. Buffalo heads to the home of the All-Star game and the Hurricanes, Ottawa will have to figure out a way to stop the Enstrom/Byfuglien combination in Atlanta, while Montreal takes on Florida—two of Chris Higgins’ former teams. Columbus visits Edmonton, Nashville and Vancouver go toe-to-toe, Phoenix will head to Los Angeles, and Detroit meets San Jose.

The Injury Bug:

-Ottawa’s Daniel Alfredsson is not ruling out a return to the lineup this season, although the road ahead for recovering from his back injury won’t be easy.

-Speaking of Gaborik, he’s still experiencing headaches at night, although they’re getting less frequent. Still no timetable for his return though.

Vladimir Sobotka cracked a bone in his left foot and will be out until mid-March.

Brooks Orpik still isn’t close to returning (about three weeks away) but the Penguins will keep an eye on him in case he can come back early.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Michael Frolik and his three-point night. One goal, two assists, a plus three (he scored on his only shot of the game), and he played just 10 minutes last night. It was his second three-point game of the year.

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