The Night that Was:
Jaroslav Spacek and Kirk Muller returned to Montreal with the Carolina Hurricanes last night and it went very well for them. Jiri Tlusty opened the scoring three minutes in with his 13th to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 lead. In the second, Spacek snuck in from the point and scored his second of the season for a 2-0 lead. Tomas Plekanec (12) and Erik Cole (21) would tie the game back up before David Desharnais (11) would give the Habs the lead with two minutes to go in the second. Things fell apart in the third for Montreal though. Eric Staal scored a shorthanded goal (15) three minutes into the third before Jamie McBain scored his fifth on a puck that bounced into the slot to give Carolina a 4-3 lead. Staal would add a late one for the 5-3 win. Desharnais was the only Canadien to finish with multiple points while Eric Staal had two goals and an assist while McBain added an assist for a two-point night.
In a matchup of teams that some thought would be a Stanley Cup Finals preview at the beginning of the season, San Jose visited the Washington Capitals. The first period saw just one goal scored as Joe Pavelski (21) made it 1-0 Sharks, tipping a Dan Boyle slap shot from the wrong side of centre, beating Braden Holtby. He would add his second early in the second on a power play, before Patrick Marleau’s 21st made it 3-0. Dmitry Orlov was able to score with just a second left on the clock to bring Washington within two. The Sharks would score two more in the third (Brent Burns’ 8th and Marleau again) before Roman Hamrlik and Jeff Schultz made it a little closer. The Caps kept Thomas Greiss busy with 42 shots, but he made 39 saves for the 5-3 win as Pavelski finished with four points and Joe Thornton had 3 assists. Logan Couture had a pair of helpers too as Roman Hamrlik was the only Cap to finish with two points.
It was a low-scoring game between the Phoenix Coyotes and the Vancouver Canucks last night. The first 30 minutes of the game passed by scoreless before David Booth’s 10th of the season opened the scoring on a great solo effort. It looked like that would be enough, as Roberto Luongo kept the Coyotes off the board for most of the game before Keith Yandle snuck one past Luongo with just two minutes to go. Outside of an end-of-period tussle, overtime passed by uneventfully before the shootout. Then it was on: Cody Hodgson and Ray Whitney scored in the first round, Alex Edler and Gilbert Brule scored in the third, and Booth and Mikkel Boedker both scored in the fifth round. Ryan Kesler scored the only goal of the sixth round, sealing a 2-1 shootout win. Luongo made 23 saves while Jason Labarbera made 21 saves in a losing effort.
What’s on Tonight?
The Ottawa Senators start things off tonight in Tampa Bay, while the New York Rangers travel to Boston and Buffalo hosts the New Jersey Devils. St. Louis squares off with the Blue Jackets in Columbus, Dallas hopes to avoid being a victim of Detroit’s home dominance, Anaheim and Minnesota go head-to-head, and Chicago takes on the Predators in Nashville. The New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets battle it out in the ‘Peg and Toronto travels to Calgary as both teams look to avoid loss number 23.
The Injury Bug:
-The Philadelphia Flyers are denying that Jakub Vorcek’s ‘upper body injury’ is a concussion. In fact, they’re denying it has anything to do with his head and claim he is day-to-day. Meanwhile, James van Riemsdyk’s status is still unknown. It’s said that he’s still suffering post-concussion symptoms and he may be out ‘a while’.
-Tuomo Ruutu left yesterday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens with an upper-body injury. He left the game and did not return.
-Sheldon Souray remains out with a foot injury. Dallas still considers him day-to-day.
News, Notes, and Rumours
-Minor deal yesterday between Winnipeg and Anaheim. The Jets acquired forward Maxime Macenauer from the Ducks for Riley Holzapfel.
-Reports are starting to indicate that, if the package is right, Columbus would move Rick Nash. The big rumours so far have centered around Jeff Carter, but Nash would fetch the best return out of most players considered ‘available’ around the league.
-Flyers’ forward Zac Rinaldo earned himself a two-game suspension for his hit on Jonathan Ericsson of Detroit. Rinaldo left his feet to deliver a high hit to Ericsson.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line(s) of the Night:
While Joe Pavelski had a four-point night (and his team scored five goals), Joe Thornton had a three-assist night as well to help the cause. Two of Thornton’s assists came on the power play, and his even-strength assist came on the game-winner. He had a plus-one rating and won 9 of 13 faceoffs.