A Day in the NHL: Monday March 21


A pair of hat-tricks last night for a couple of rookies, while three other players came close with two-goal games. Good thing too, because there are only two games tonight.

The Night that Was:

The New York Rangers and Pittsburgh Penguins met up in what was an entertaining game that the Rangers won 5-2, but was marred by a scary incident. After Artem Anisimov and Jordan Staal traded first period goals and a scoreless second, Matt Cooke opened things up in the third with yet another dirty play. The poster-boy for headshots elbowed Ryan McDonagh straight in the jaw four minutes in to the third and had the Rangers up in arms. He earned himself a five-minute major for elbowing and he’ll be due for a meeting with the NHL. Pittsburgh scored one shorthanded but the Rangers would score one on the major and one eleven second later on hold-over penalty. Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky had three points as the Rangers moved three points up on eighth place Buffalo.

Speaking of eighth-place Buffalo, they were hoping to keep that gap shortened a bit, but a hat-trick from the first-ever fourth-generation NHL’er sunk their hopes. While Buffalo had three second-period goals, Blake Geoffrion scored one in the first and two in the third to give him six in his NHL career, and Martin Erat converted on the winner just 27 seconds in to overtime. Geoffrion was the only player to register multiple points in the game as Anders Lindback stood on his head, making 35 saves with a handful of them making the highlight reels in the 4-3 win. The win moved Nashville into seventh in the West.

The team that sits eighth in the West did so with a win last night as well. After the Ducks went up 3-0 in the first over Calgary and chased Miikka Kiprusoff from the net, the Flames got one, then two in the second, and the two teams traded goals in the third and went to overtime. In OT it was Corey Perry’s 39th of the season that was tipped in off of Toni Lydman’s point shot, as Anaheim claimed the extra point which determined the team that moved into eighth. Perry had two goals and an assist on the night while Teemu Selanne had three points of his own and Ryan Getzlaf had a four-point night. Tom Kostopolous had two goals and a helper for the Flames, who lost 5-4.

Ryan White scored his first NHL goal, but that was nothing compared to PK Subban’s first NHL hat-trick. The enigmatic rookie scored his ninth, tenth, and eleventh goals of the season in an 8-1 blowout over the Minnesota Wild. Alex Auld made 30 saves as Subban added an assist, while both Benoit Pouliot and David Desharnais had three assists. Mikko Koivu scored the lone goal for Minnesota on a penalty shot as Montreal moved two points back of Tampa Bay for fifth and the Wild fell farther back in the West.

Quick Hits:

-David Clarkson had two goals as Martin Brodeur had to make a measly 13 saves against Columbus for his fifth shutout of the season as New Jersey won 3-0.

-Chris Campoli scored his first with Chicago on a power play late in the third that was drawn from a questionable call on Shane Doan. Either way, Chicago beat Phoenix 2-1.

What’s on Tonight?

Two games: Pittsburgh goes toe-to-toe with Detroit in a matchup of a couple of Stanley Cup finals and Calgary wraps up games on back-to-back nights with a date in Los Angeles.

The Injury Bug:

-Mike Green could return on Tuesday for Washington, but he missed practice on Saturday so his status remains questionable.

The Tampa Bay Lightning are still expecting Ryan Malone back on April 1st but took part in a full morning skate over the weekend.

Sidney Crosby skated again over the weekend and his workouts are progressing by the sounds of it. No word on a return though.

-Ryan Whitney has skated a couple of a days on his surgically repaired ankle, but while there’s an outside shot he’s back this year, don’t count on it.

Rumours and News Around the League:

-Matthew Hulsizer spoke on a Phoenix Coyotes’ broadcast about his attempts to acquire the team. Hulsizer has made what some are calling a “last-ditch” effort when it comes to the Coyotes, by ensuring that the Goldwater Group gets the $25-million back to cover the losses the Coyotes suffered.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Ryan Getzlaf has a four point night and gets over-looked? Wow. Then again, that might happen with a pair of hat-tricks on the same night. Getzlaf had the first goal of the night for the Ducks as he assisted on the game-tying goal and game-winning goal as well. He also won the faceoff that lead to that game-winner, winning 14 of 28 of his faceoffs and finishing with a plus-three rating.

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