A four-goal game, a couple of first goals of the season (one was a long time coming, a first-career shutout, and a very special milestone for the Calgary Flames’ captain.
The Night that Was:
Marian Gaborik returned to the lineup for the New York Rangers yesterday, but it’s not like it mattered. Ryan Callahan had four goals and Mats Zuaccarello added a pair as the oft-injured, returning star was held pointless, and the Rangers rolled to a 7-0 win over Philadelphia. Callahan would add an assist for a five-point night, while Zuccarello, Artem Anisimov and Vinny Prospal were the three Rangers to record multiple points (Anisimov had the other goal). Philadelphia has now lost four-straight and get this: Only one of those teams have been a playoff team and that’s the Rangers. A tough stretch for the East leaders. Henrik Lundqvist earned his ninth shutout of the season as he had to make just 24 saves.
In Calgary, the Flames solidified their quest for a playoff spot with yet another win, 3-2 over Nashville. Despite a late flurry, Miikka Kiprusoff held strong, stopping 21 of 23 shots and Olli Jokinen potted two assists. Along with that, Jarome Iginla went five-hole on Pekka Rinne on a penalty shot in the second period for his 30th of the season. This is now the tenth-straight season that Iginla has hit the 30-goal plateau. He joins Jaromir Jagr, Mike Gartner, Phil Esposito, Wayne Gretzky, Bobby Hull, Marcel Dionne, Mike Bossy, Jari Kurri, and Darryl Sittler. Calgary holds on to fifth in the West, four points up on ninth-place Minnesota.
The New Jersey Devils stayed hot as well yesterday with a 3-2 shootout win. The New York Islanders played them tough, tying the game at one and then later at two, but after exchanging goals in the first round of the shootout, Brian Rolston won it in round six for the Devils. Blake Comeau scored his third goal in his last three games for the Isles while Al Montoya made 27 saves to continue his stellar play since becoming a member of the Islanders. If you’re wondering, Ilya Kovalchuk had a goal and an assist too, leaving him scoreless in just two of his last seventeen games.
Corey Schneider continues to give the Vancouver Canucks a chance to win even when Roberto Luongo isn’t in net. Schneider stopped Anaheim at every turn while Manny Malhotra potted a pair as the Canucks won 3-0. For Schneider, the 26-save performance marked his first-career shutout as Daniel Sedin added the other goal and Jannik Hansen added a pair of assists. Dan Ellis got the start for the Ducks, but allowed all three goals on just 16 shots. Vancouver is now seven points up on their closest competition for the Presidents’ trophy.
-Warren Peters scored his first goal as a member of the Wild while Rob Niedermayer did so for the Buffalo Sabres. Sabres beat Minnesota 3-2 in OT.
-The Washington Capitals won it in overtime over the Florida Panthers 3-2 thanks to Alexander Semin. Michal Neuvirth made 32 saves for the win.
What’s on Tonight?
Just three games on Monday evening and all three are division matchups: Washington heads to Tampa Bay (Southeast), Columbus and St. Louis tangle in the Central, and Dallas and L.A. represent the Pacific Division.
The Injury Bug:
-Mike Lundin returned to practice for the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday. He could be back in game action this week.
-Florida youngest Shawn Matthias is getting closer to returning to the ice. He’s been sidelined since late January with a broken ankle.
-Guillame Latendresse has said he’s not setting target dates for his return to the lineup for Minnesota as he’s missed all of them so far, and despite skating, he goes back and forth between feeling good, and feeling tight and tired after practice.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:
I want to give it to Rob Niedermayer for scoring his first goal of the year (finally), but instead it goes to teammate Andrej Sekera. Sekera had two assists, three shots, and a plus-two rating for the Sabres.