The Night that Was:
The streak was stopped last night in Detroit. With the Red Wings eyeing a 24th-straight home win, their Western rivals the Vancouver Canucks stopped by and gave them everything they could handle. Things started well when the Wings opened the scoring halfway through the first with Darren Helm’s 7th. Daniel Sedin tied things up at one midway through the second before the floodgates opened up. Kyle Quincey gave the Wings the lead again with his first as a second-time Wing before Cody Hodgson tied it up, but 20 seconds after that Justin Abdelkader gave them the lead. It looked like Detroit would win it 3-2, but with 16 seconds left Daniel Sedin’s second of the game (28th of the season) sent things to overtime, and then a shootout. Things were scoreless in the shootout before Alex Burrows stepped up and buried the winner, giving the Canucks a 4-3 win and the Wings their first home loss since November 3rd (4-1 loss vs. Calgary). Helm had three points while Abdelkader had a pair for the Wings, and both Sedins finished with two points. Jimmy Howard made 40 saves in the loss as Roberto Luongo made 33.
In the race for 8th in the Eastern Conference playoffs, the Winnipeg Jets need to play their best hockey to make it. They certainly played a good first period against Tampa Bay last night, where Andrew Ladd’s 20th and Tanner Glass’ 5th got them out to a 2-0 lead. The home side would make it 4-0 with Ladd’s second and Dustin Byfuglien’s 10th (both on the powerplay), before Tampa came alive. Steven Stamkos (43), Teddy Purcell (16), and Martin St. Louis (19) all scored in the third, but the last two came in the last minute, and the Lightning didn’t leave themselves enough time to come all the way back, falling 4-3. Ladd had a three-point evening, while Byfuglien and Blake Wheeler chipped in with two-point nights and Ondrej Pavelec made 22 saves. Both Stamkos and Purcell had a goal and two assists as Mathieu Garon (14/18) and Dwayne Roloson (16/16) split the duties in net.
The Toronto Maple Leafs are another team in the race for that 8th playoff spot, but their night was far less successful. The San Jose Sharks were making a rare trip to Toronto, and after a scoreless first Patrick Marleau scored his 24th and 25th in the second period to give San Jose a 2-0 lead after two. Jake Gardiner would score his fourth to cut the lead in half, and despite intermittent pressure, Antti Niemi made 29 saves to hold on to the 2-1 Sharks win. James Reimer made 23 saves in a losing effort, but it was the first time in five games he allowed fewer than three goals.
Lost in the shuffle may have been the fact that, with a win and a Florida Panthers loss, the Jets could move in to first in the Southeast. After a scoreless first between the Wild and Panthers, Mikael Samuelsson and Kyle Brodziak traded goals in the second to head to the final period tied up at one. Matt Cullen’s 13th gave the Wild a 2-1 lead on the power play, but Florida would salvage at least a point after Sean Bergenheim tied it up at 15:48 of the third. There was no scoring in overtime, so things went to a shootout. Erik Christensen and Cullen both scored for the Wild as Niklas Backstrom stopped Kris Versteeg and Bergenheim, along with 41 other saves for the 3-2 victory. Samuelsson and Dany Heatley each finished with two points as the Jets jumped past Florida for first in the Southeast and Florida now sits in 8th in the East.
The Rest of the Story
The Anaheim Ducks continued their late-season surge last night with a 3-2 shootout win over Carolina. Corey Perry (30) and Luca Sbisa (4) scored for the Ducks while Jamie McBain (6) and Jerome Samson (2) scored for Carolina. Saku Koivu had the lone shootout goal as Jonas Hiller made 30 saves for the win and Justin Peters made 35 in the loss.
In what could be a potential playoff matchup at some point, the St. Louis Blues visited the Nashville Predators in another 3-2 shootout decision. Chris Stewart (13) and Vladimir Sobotka (4) scored for St. Louis and Roman Josi (3) and Colin Wilson (13) chipped in with goals for Nashville before T.J. Oshie and Andy McDonald won it for the Blues in the shootout. Jaroslav Halak made 25 saves for the win while Pekka Rinne made 22, losing for just the second time in five starts.
The Dallas Stars scored a big 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks last night. Marian Hossa had given the ‘Hawks a 1-0 lead through two, but Steve Ott (10), Michael Ryder (24), and Loui Eriksson (19) capped off the win to go with 26 saves from Richard Bachman. Ryder and Mike Ribeiro each had two points as the Stars moved in to a tie for 8th in the West.
One of the teams they’re tied with, is the Calgary Flames. Calgary was looking to gain ground on seventh-place Phoenix last night when they hosted the Coyotes, but the ‘Yotes came away with a 4-3 shootout win. Alex Tanguay had a goal and an assist for the Flames while Matt Stajan scored his second of the year, while Ray Whitney had a two-point night for Phoenix. Whitney also had the lone goal of the shootout.
The final game of the night saw the Edmonton Oilers score a surprising 2-0 win over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. Taylor Hall (22) and Jordan Eberle (27) both scored in the second period, while Devan Dubnyk made 35 saves for the shutout. Eberle added an assist for a two-point night.
What’s on Tonight?
The Vancouver Canucks continue the road trip in New Jersey, while the New York Rangers swing by the Island for a date with the Islanders. Montreal and the Capitals go head-to-head in Washington, Colorado takes a trip to Columbus, and Milan Lucic takes on Ryan Miller (er…Boston visits Buffalo). Your ‘late game’ takes place at 8:30 Eastern when Dallas hosts Minnesota.
The Injury Bug:
-Sidney Crosby skated yesterday, but there remains no update on the Penguins superstar.
-Jonathan Toews was in a single-car accident Thursday afternoon, but assured everyone that he was not harmed. He didn’t play last night, but was not scheduled to play before the accident anyways.
-A kitchen accident has Craig Anderson out indefinitely. The Senators goalie cut his hand while preparing food, and will be out for a while. The Sens called up Robin Lehner to replace Anderson.
News, Notes, and Rumours
-Jeff Carter switched teams once again last night. The Los Angeles Kings acquired the centre from Columbus for a first-round pick and defenseman Jack Johnson.
-The Carter deal might have made another Kings forward available as well. While the Kings would probably want to unload Dustin Penner’s contract, Dustin Brown may now be available thanks to the Carter acquisition.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line(s) of the Night:
Sure the Red Wings lost at home since…well…post-Halloween pumpkins were just beginning to rot, but Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader both had good nights. Helm had a goal and two assists, while Abdelkader added a goal and an assist. They combined for a +5 rating, two penalty minutes, and three shots as well.