A Day in the NHL: Thursday March 24


Despite the top two teams in the West going head-to-head last night, plenty of playoff games, and a last-second goal to force overtime, everyone is looking forward to tonight. After all, it is the Boston/Montreal rematch.

The Night that Was:

The storyline everyone wanted to play up last night in Detroit was the fact that Daniel Sedin made his way straight into the lineup after being away from the team for a few days for the birth of his third child, and scored two goals. Alright, that is pretty impressive, especially considering that it extended a nine-game point streak for Sedin. Sedin was able to score both of his goals before Jiri Hudler was able to get the Wings on the board partway through the third period, spoiling Roberto Luongo’s shutout bid, but giving the Canucks a 2-1 win.. Luongo still made an eye-popping 39 saves for the win, which is even more impressive when you consider that Johan Franzen, Pavel Datsyuk and Todd Bertuzzi were out for Detroit, along with Chris Osgood. Not surprisingly, Henrik Sedin assisted on both of his brother’s goals.

It was one in the second and three in the third as Chicago locked out the Florida Panthers 4-0. Marcus Kruger made his NHL debut for Chicago (not factoring in on the scoresheet), as Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Kane, and Tomas Kopecky all scored in the final period. Brent Seabrook scored the only goal of the second, his first game-winner of the season. Kane, Seabrook, Duncan Keith, and Jonathan Toews all had two points for Chicago as Corey Crawford’s spectacular rookie season continued, making 23 saves for his fourth shutout of the season and 29th win. Chicago leads the way in a three-way tie for fifth in the Western Conference.

Dallas and Anaheim exchanged goals all night. It started in the second defensemen Lubomir Visnovsky and Alex Goligoski traded goals, while Loui Eriksson (24), Corey Perry (40), Trevor Daley (8), and Teemu Selanne (23) all scored in the third. Selanne’s was probably the most dramatic, making it count with five second left. Like Chicago, four Ducks finished with two-point nights including rookie Cam Fowler who scored the game-winner, giving Anaheim the 4-3 win. It was Fowler’s 8th goal of the season, giving him 34 points. Jonas Hiller was activated from the IR earlier in the day and backed up Ray Emery in his 23-save performance, as Anaheim moved into sole possession of eighth.

Torrey Mitchell and Patrick Marleau finished with two goals each as San Jose and Calgary combined for six goals in the first period. Unfortunately for the Flames, they were down 4-2 after the first, and things didn’t finish up much nicer, as San Jose won 6-3. Coming back from what many thought would be a gruesome leg injury, Logan Couture scored his 28th of the season while Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton joined Marleau with two-point evenings. Antti Niemi won his third-straight start, and hasn’t missed a game since January 15th, as the Sharks not only threw a big wrench in Calgary’s playoff plans, but moved three points ahead of Phoenix for the division.

What’s on Tonight?
Busy night on Thursday. The most noteworthy matchup is the Habs/Bruins rematch. However, it’s no fun because it’s in Boston. No rabid Montreal fans…oh wait, everyone hates each other everywhere. Atlanta heads to the Island to take on…well…the Islanders, while the Rangers host Ottawa. Pittsburgh and Philadelphia hook up in an always-entertaining cross-state battle, Edmonton heads to St. Louis, Anaheim looks for wins on back-to-back nights in Nashville, and Toronto continues their Western swing in Colorado. Columbus and Phoenix and LA hosting the Sharks are the late contests.

The Injury Bug:

-The Red Wings placed Chris Osgood on injured reserve once again. Joey MacDonald backed up Jimmy Howard last night, while Detroit signed Sarnia (OHL) goaltender Troy Passingham as insurance in case MacDonald couldn’t make the game in time.

Brooks Orpik returned to practice yesterday, but the Penguins say he won’t be playing today. Orpik has been rehabbing a broken finger.

-Speaking of defensemen returning to practice, Ed Jovanovski was back at Coyotes’ practice, but don’t expect him back sooner than the final week of the regular season.

-Both Andrei Markov and Zach Parise are skating as they rehab knee injuries. Markov will not be back this year, but Parise may return to practice this week.

New and Rumours from Around the League:

-You may have heard Mark Recchi get himself in a little hot water for suggesting that Max Pacioretty and the Montreal Canadiens embellished the fallout from the Zdeno Chara incident. Recchi pointed to the fact that, just days after, an apparently concussed (although the severity was not divulged) took in a movie.

The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:

Cam Fowler’s game-winning goal and powerplay assist earn him the honours. He had two shots in 18 minutes of ice time as the 12th overall pick from this past year’s draft is second to PK Subban in scoring by rookie defenseman with 34 points this season.

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