A Day in the NHL: Bruins and Rangers Faceoff; Three Shutouts on the Board

The Night that Was…
The top two teams in the Eastern Conference squared off yesterday afternoon, and it was an exciting, back-and-forth tilt. The New York Rangers got the home crowd into it early when Ruslan Fedotenko (8) and Carl Hagelin (12) both scored before the game was seven minutes old. The Boston Bruins would cut the lead in half at 7:57 when Benoit Pouliot scored his tenth of the season. Jordan Caron (4) would tie the game in the second period, leaving the third to decide a winner. Marian Gaborik scored his 32nd of the season just three minutes in, and after seven minutes of trying, David Krejci (17) would tie it. Unfortunately for Boston that didn’t last long as Derek Stepan (14) made it 4-3 soon after and it finished by that score. Brad Richards and Michael Del Zotto each had two-assist evenings as Caron was the only one to net multiple points for the B’s. Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves for victory number 31, while Tim Thomas was tested just 17 times, stopping 14.It was an always-entertaining Central Division showdown in Motown last night between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. Things were going well for the ‘Hawks early, as three minutes in Patrick Sharp’s 25th had them up 1-0. Three minutes later though, we’d be back where we started as Niklas Kronwall (14) tied it up. After he started the game, Jimmy Howard would end up on the bench for the second and third with a lower-body injury, and Joey MacDonald would take over. MacDonald faced just eight shots in his first period of work, but one of those came from Patrick Kane who beat him for his 16th and a 2-1 Chicago lead. The Wings would throw just 15 shots at Ray Emery over the final two periods, as he made 23 saves overall for a 2-1 Chicago win. Sharp would add an assist for a two-point night as MacDonald made 12 saves in relief of Howard.

The Dallas Stars entered the night in a playoff position in the Western Conference while the Calgary Flames were still trying to get in. After a scoreless first where Calgary outshot the Stars 13-9, Curtis Glencross’ 22nd gave the Flames a 1-0 lead. That would only last for about seven minutes though as Loui Eriksson (22) tied it up with a beautiful move while shorthanded, and Michael Ryder’s 28th put Dallas up 2-1 headed to the third. The Glames would scrape one out in the third though, as Jarome Iginla’s 25th tied it up, and after the rest of the third and overtime passed by scoreless, we were off to a shootout. Jamie Benn scored on the first shootout attempt and after Olli Jokinen was stopped, Eriksson put the Stars up by two. Alex Tanguay was then stopped by Lehtonen, who made 36 saves to lead the Stars to the 3-2 win. Eriksson had two points in the victory, while Miikka Kiprusoff made 38 saves and Iginla reached 25 goals for the 13th-straight season.

With the Bruins’ loss, the Ottawa Senators could move a point back of Boston for first in the Northeast with a win over the Florida Panthers. Things started off well for the Sens too when Jared Cowen (5) and Chris Neil (11) gave the Sens a 2-0 lead through one. The second period turned out completely differently though, as the Panthers got three unanswered goals from Marcel Goc (7), Krys Barch (2), and Mikael Samuelsson (9) for a 3-2 lead. Jack Skille would add his fourth of the season in the third period to close out a 4-2 Panthers’ win. Skille and Mike Weaver both finished with two-point nights while Jose Theodore made 23 saves for his 18th win of the season.

The Rest of the Story:

It was the Jamie McGinn, Peter Mueller and Stefan Elliott show last night when Colorado took on Minnesota. McGinn scored both first-period goals with Mueller and Elliott drawing assists on both and Semyon Varlamov made 30 save for the 2-0 shutout. The Avs moved a point out of 8th with the win.

All it took was a goal from Eric Wellwood partway through the second period for the Flyers to overcome the Washington Capitals. Wellwood’s second of the season stood as the winner in a 1-0 shutout for Philadelphia. Ilya Bryzgalov made 34 saves for the shutout.

The New York Islanders only needed one goal to down the New Jersey Devils. Kyle Okposo scored his 15th early in the second and Anders Nilsson made 24 saves for his first NHL win and shutout. New Jersey failed to keep pace with Philadelphia, who now holds fifth-place with a two-point lead.

What’s on Tonight?

It’s a light night in the NHL. Phoenix stops by Pittsburgh to visit the Penguins as the Pens go for win number six in a row. The Buffalo Sabres pay a visit to the Winnipeg Jets as Buffalo could tie the Jets for eighth in the Eastern Conference with a win, and Edmonton visits Anaheim in a matchup of two teams who may be more likely to watching the ‘Chase for the Cup’ rather than actually participating.

Injury Bug

-Tuukka Rask returned to Boston after injuring his left knee making a save Saturday. No update was released, but one is expected soon after he was examined over the weekend.

-Chicago’s Jonathan Toews has resumed off-ice workouts, but still nothing on-ice. Toews has missed seven games with a concussion.

-Steve Downie missed the Avs game against the Wild last night. It’s an undisclosed injury, believed to be suffered during a third-period skirmish against Pittsburgh.

-The Flyers will be without Kimmo Timonen and Andrej Meszaros indefinitely. Meszaros has a lower-body injury, while Timonen is said to have a back injury.

-Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom will be out at least two weeks with a strained groin. Many are expecting him to be out a little longer.
-Montreal’s Andrei Markov participated in a contact practice on Monday, and was seen rushing the puck and moving well. Markov had knee surgery in December after complications arose after he returned to practice in November. Overlooked Fantasy Line of the Night
Jamie McGinn scored both Avalanche goals in the first period yesterday, with one coming at even strength and his second coming on the power play. McGinn had the game-winning goal and a plus-one rating to go along with five shots.
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