A light night in the NHL last night with just three games, but there was plenty of scoring either way. Two teams scored six goals themselves, while the other game had six combined. And you were worried about scoring….
The Night that Was:
The Toronto Maple Leafs missed an opportunity to jump into a ninth-place tie last night, suffering a 6-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Things were close after one with Tampa ahead just 1-0, but two second-period goals from Mattias Ritola (doubling his goal total for the season) put Tampa ahead 4-2 to end the period, before they closed it out with two more goals. Dion Phaneuf and Nikolai Kulemin had the goals for Toronto, while among Tampa’s six goals was Mike Lundin’s first of the season. The win moved Tampa three points back of Washington in the Southeast.
It looked like it would be San Jose’s game to lose last night in Chicago, but five goals from the Blackhawks erased a 2-1 deficit in the second period en route to a 6-3 win. Marian Hossa had two goals, both coming on the power play, but more impressive was the four assists put up by Patrick Sharp. Jonathan Toews also scored 30 for the first time in his career as he was one of five ‘Hawks with multiple points, while Patrick Marleau and Joe Pavelski had two points each for San Jose. It was just the second regulation loss in their last ten for San Jose, while Chicago moved to 7-1-2 over that stretch. Patrick Kane also scored his 100th career goal during this game.
Mikko Koivu returned to the lineup and nearly put Vancouver’s win in doubt yesterday. After being out of the lineup since mid-Febraury, Koivu scored the goal to make it 3-2 Vancouver in the third, but the Canucks held on to win 4-2 with an empty netter. Ryan Kesler’s second of the night was the goal that sealed it, while his third would hold up as the winner. Koivu actually added an assist as well for a two-point night, as he and Andrew Brunette finished with two-point evenings. Mikael Samuelsson had two power play assists for the Canucks who became the first team to 100 points with the win and have won six straight.
What’s on Tonight?
Much busier tonight than last night: Atlanta heads to New Jersey, it’s the battle of New York when the Isles visit the Rangers and Boston meets up with Columbus. Washington puts their eight-game winning streak on the line in Montreal, Carolina and Buffalo continue to jockey for that final playoff spot in the East while Pittsburgh takes on Ottawa. Philly heads to sunny Florida, Los Angeles hooks up with the Preds in Nashville, San Jose travels to Dallas and Calgary hosts Phoenix.
The Injury Bug:
-Flyer’s defenseman Chris Pronger will be out three to four weeks after he had surgery to repair a broken bone in his hand.
-Sami Salo left Vancouver’s game last night after taking a shot off of his elbow. He didn’t return.
-David Moss was seen limping off the ice at practice yesterday after injuring his leg falling into the boards.
-Colby Armstrong broke his foot last night blocking a shot, despite playing afterwards. His season is over.
-And you’ve probably seen the Blair Witch-esque footage, but Sidney Crosby skated briefly for the first time yesterday. No word on a potential return.
Rumours and News Around the League:
-Headshots have been the main source of discussion at the GMs meetings, and it seems like progress is finally being made. Mario Lemieux has table a proposal that sees a series of fines charged to the team of a repeat offender, while Gary Bettman is tabling a five-point plan to help. The plan includes equipment development, a revised concussion protocol, team and coach penalties on repeat offenders, a re-evaluation of safety standards in the arena, and then further evaluation of where the league stands.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:
Seeing as he worked so hard to get back in the lineup, Mikko Koivu gets the honour. He had a goal and an assist, both even strength, and finished with a plus-one rating in nearly 20 minutes of ice time. Koivu also had four shots on goal.