A highly anticipated rematch between the Bruins and Habs was on the line, the Toronto Maple Leafs were looking to keep pace in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and nearly the entire Pacific Division was in action. Oddly enough, the entire Pacific Division is in the playoff race in the West.
The Night that Was:
The “Montreal vs. Boston: Rematch” last night really wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. In fact, you might expect something like this from the team looking for revenge, not the team on the lookout for it (Despite the fact that the NHL outlawed the ‘r’ word). Within a minute Johnny Boychuk’s second of the season had made it 2-0 and by the time the first was up, Gregory Campbell and Nathan Horton had made it 3-0. By the end of the night, Horton and Campbell would add another goal each, and Tomas Kaberle scored his first as a Bruin as Montreal left Boston on the wrong end of a 7-0 beat down. Tim Thomas made 24 saves while Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara and David Krejci recorded three assists each. Boston is now five points up on Montreal for first in the division and third in the conference.
Despite not being in the playoff picture, the Ottawa Senators get to play one of the more enviable roles in all of sports: the spoiler. No expectations, no pressure, just fun, and the New York Rangers experienced the Sens first hand. While the Rangers forced overtime against Ottawa on a goal early in the third by Brandon Prust, things stayed tied until a shootout where Erik Karlsson was the only one out of ten shooters to score. Henrik Lundqvist and Craig Anderson each made 29 saves in the 2-1 Ottawa win. Ryan Shannon had the lone goal for Ottawa, as the Rangers remained four points up on Buffalo for seventh in the East.
Toronto continues to do all of the heavy lifting in their push for the playoffs as they took down the Colorado Avalanche 4-3. Nikolai Kulemin had a pair in the first period to negate a shorthanded goal by Daniel Winnik as Tyler Bozak and Phil Kessel scored as well. Despite the loss, Erik Johnson had three assists and Ryan O’Reilly had a goal and an assist in the losing effort for Colorado. On the Toronto side of things, Dion Phaneuf and Clarke MacArthur had two assists each and James Reimer stopped 25 of 28 for his 16th victory of the season. The win pushed Toronto within three points of eighth in the East.
The Battle of Pennsylvania was so even-keeled it took a shootout to decide last night. Mike Richards’ 21st opened the scoring while Tyler Kennedy’s 18th tied things up in the second with Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang getting the assists. Alex Kovalev and Danny Briere traded goals in the shootout before Kunitz finished things off for the 2-1 Pittsburgh win. Sergei Bobrovsky made 30 saves while Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 of his own. Pittsburgh is now just four points behind Philly for the Atlantic Division lead.
-Rob Schremp scored the game-winner as he returned to Long Island with his new team as Atlanta downed the Islanders 2-1.
-The first goal came late in the second period, and three more followed as St. Louis downed the Edmonton Oilers 4-0. Jaroslav Halak only had to make 12 saves.
-Corey Perry and Teemu Selanne had two goals each but it wasn’t enough as Nashville won 5-4, spoiling Jonas Hiller’s return.
-Ilya Bryzgalov made 28 saves while three different Coyotes had goals and nine different ones had points in a 3-0 win over Columbus.
-Patrick Marleau and Dustin Brown scored a pair each but it took a shootout to decide things as Jonathan Quick backstopped the Kings to the win 4-3 win.
What’s on Tonight?
Pittsburgh hopes for a little more of that Atlantic Division magic as they host the New Jersey Devils while Florida visits Buffalo, who hopes to separate them from the Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls. Speaking of playoff hopefuls, Carolina visits Tampa Bay as well. Washington visits Ottawa and Vancouver heads to Atlanta.
The Injury Bug:
-Patrik Berglund was held out of last night’s matchup due to a lower-body injury. The Blues called up TJ Hensick on an emergency basis.
-Still no Steve Sullivan for the Nashville Predators. They still hope to have him back in time for the last few games of the season though following groin surgery.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night:
Greg Campbell had two goals, one of which was shorthanded, a plus-two rating, and five penalty minutes in less than ten minutes of ice time. He also had three shots on goal and won six of his nine faceoffs.