Alexander Ovechkin comes out with a two-goal night, the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t fans of Florida, and more fallout from the Max Pacioretty/Zdeno Chara incident.
The Night that Was:
Lubomir Visnovsky has five goals over his last three games thanks to last night’s two-goal effort in Anaheim’s 5-2 win over the Rangers. Cory Perry added a pair of his own as both ended up with three point nights, but it was Bobby Ryan’s day as the winger scored his 31st of the season and added three assists for a four-point evening. Marian Gaborik scored his first goal since returning to the lineup and just his third goal since a four-goal game on January 19th. Anaheim moved to within two points of eighth place in the West, while the Rangers wasted an opportunity to put some separation between themselves and Buffalo: They’ve now played three more games than eighth-place Buffalo and have just two more points than them.
Chicago must be pretty happy to leave Florida. After losing to the Panthers on Wednesday night, the Blackhawks tried to get some revenge against the Tampa Bay Lightning. It didn’t work. They lost 4-3 in a shootout after trailing 3-1. In all fairness to Chicago however, it was probably the most borderline illegal shootout move we’ve seen in a while as Martin St. Louis appeared to stop his momentum when changing direction in front of Corey Crawford. Steven Stamkos and St. Louis finished with two points each (It was just the third multiple point game for Stamkos since February first), while Jonathan Toews was responsible for getting Chicago to overtime, getting in on all three goals (one goal, two assists). Tampa remains two points back of Washington with one game at hand for the division, while Chicago holds down fourth in the West with 81 points.
Although the Calgary Flames nearly blew it, they were able to turn it around and get the extra point in a 4-3 shootout win. The Dallas Stars were down 3-0 early in the first before Jamie Benn, Mike Ribeiro, and Tomas Vincour (his first NHL goal) all scored to tie the game at three. After that, Alex Tanguay and Curtis Glencross had to save the day, both scoring the shootout (and overcoming a highlight reel goal by Ribeiro), as the Flames came out of the night in a tie for fourth in the West. Brad Richards was a minus-one in his 22+ minutes of ice time in his return.
Slump? What slump? Alexander Ovechkin scored two goals to give him 27 on the season and added an assists for three points in Washington’s 5-0 win over Edmonton. Eric Fehr added two of his own to give him ten on the season while Alexander Semin added a goal and an assist. Braden Holtby, who has stolen the show in Washington lately, made 22 saves for the shutout, his first in the NHL. Holtby now has four wins in his last five appearances.
-After Darren Helm made it 1-0 Detroit in the first, Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown scored in the second, as the Kings beat the Wings 2-1.
-Chris Stewart had two goals including the overtime winner. He’s a point-per game (and nearly a goal-per-game) player since coming to St. Louis as the Blues beat Columbus 4-3.
-Rob Schremp scored his first as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers as Tim Stapleton scored the winner in OT. Carolina lost 2-1 to Atlanta, but the point tied them for eighth in the East.
What’s on Tonight?
Buffalo heads to Boston for an important divisional matchup, especially for the Sabres, while Philadelphia travels to Toronto. Ottawa and Florida tangle on the beach, Montreal makes their way to St. Louis in the return of Lars Eller, Minnesota and Nashville hook up, Calgary hopes they’re hotter than the desert in Phoenix, and Vancouver travels to the Shark Tank to visit one of the hottest teams in the West.
The Injury Bug:
-Nicklas Backstrom missed the first game of his NHL career yesterday thanks to his broken thumb. He is wearing a hard cast on his thumb.
-There’s no update on Thomas Vanek as of yet. He missed Tuesday’s game with the flu and was listed as questionable for today.
-John-Michael Liles needs to be re-evaluated after suffering a leg injury on Tuesday. He’s having a career-year for the Avalanche.
-Reports are that Blues forward Alex Steen will be out for the rest of the season with a high-ankle sprain. Steen had a career-high 48 points in 67 games this year.
-Ed Jovanovski is skating following his broken orbital bone and while his return isn’t close, he could be ready for the playoffs.
Rumours and News Around the League:
-Max Pacioretty, like many, is surprised that Zdeno Chara didn’t receive something for his hit on Tuesday night. As of right now, Air Canada has pulled its sponsorship, Quebec has opened a criminal investigation, and Pacioretty himself has released a statement. Pacioretty, among other things, said he was upset and disgusted that nothing was done by the league, citing that if there are no repercussions, what’s to stop players from thinking this is a positive action?
-Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma has earned himself a three-year contract extension from Pittsburgh.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:
No love for Jonathan Toews three-point night? Don’t worry, we’ve got some here. One goal, two assists, the game-tying goal, and a plus-two rating for Chicago’s Captain is a noteworthy night indeed despite the loss. He also had seven shots and was 14/24 on faceoffs.