The Night that Was:
Stephen Weiss and Sean Bergenheim scored in the first and second for Florida before Philadelphia got a goal out of Eric Wellwood (who banked it off of Ed Jovanovski) to cut the lead in half. It would finish at a 2-1 Panthers final, with Brian Campbell earning two assists and Scott Clemmensen making 35 saves. Ilya Bryzgalov faced just 13 Florida shots.
It was the Evgeni Malkin/Sidney Crosby show last night in Pittsburgh. Tyler Kennedy (7) opened the scoring with Crosby getting an assist, and after Jim Slater (10) and Bryan Little (20) gave the Jets a 2-1 lead, Malkin and Crosby set up James Neal’s 33rd to tie the game. In the second, Neal’s second of the game was set up by Malkin, and after Bryan Little tied it at three, Crosby set up Kennedy’s second of the night. Malkin would score his 42nd of the season from Crosby, and then Tim Stapleton would score his 9th. Neal would complete the hat-trick (from Malkin), and in the third Malkin and Pascal Dupuis would score the final two goals in an 8-4 win. If you kept track of all of that, Malkin had five points (2G/3A) and Neal (3G/1A) and Crosby (4A) both had four points while Kenney and Matt Cooke each had two points. Brad Thiessen made 26 saves for the victory, but allowed multiple point nights to Little, Andrew Ladd, Tobias Enstrom, and Spencer Machacek.
The Toronto Maple Leafs had the lead twice over the New York Islanders last night but couldn’t finish them off. In the first, Phil Kessel gave Toronto the lead with his 36th off of a one-timer, but Josh Bailey (11) tied it up five minutes later. Matthew Lombardi’s 8th gave the Leafs the lead early in the second, but then David Ullstrom (3) would tie it up on a beautiful feed from Michael Grabner after a miscue from Mike Komisarek. The third would belong to the Isles as Matt Moulson scored two (32) and PA Parenteau added another (16) for a 5-2 win. Parenteau and John Tavares each had three point nights while Moulson and Streit added two each.
The Chicago Blackhawks got themselves out to a 3-0 lead after the first when Andrew Shaw (10), Patrick Sharp (29) and Brent Seabrook (7) all scored. Those goals seemed to cover the second as well, as that passed by scoreless before Sharp’s 30th and Marian Hossa’s 29th came in the final frame, and Rick Nash broke Corey Crawford’s shutout bid with his 25th. Duncan Keith finished the evening with four assists while Sharp, Hossa and Shaw all had two points. Hossa also recorded his 900th career point in the Blackhawks’ win.
Ilya Kovalchuk’s 400th career goal was the only one needed for the New Jersey Devils. They squeaked out a 1-0 win over the Ottawa Senators thanks to a 34-save shutout from Johan Hedberg. Ben Bishop made 33 saves in a losing effort.
Ales Hemsky signed an extension to stay with Edmonton earlier this season, but maybe he wants to make Nashville his new home. After Darcy Hordichuk opened the scoring with his first of the year, Hemsky’s 7th gave the Oilers a 2-0 lead, that David Legwand (17) made 2-1 late in the first. Hemsky opened the second with his 8th goal of the season and second of the game, and after Ryan Jones (15) made it 4-1 for Edmonton, Patric Hornqvist’s 24th cut the lead in half. Hemsky would cap off the hat-trick with his ninth of the season before the second was out, and Legwand and Sam Gagner would trade goals in the third, en route to Edmonton’s 6-3 win. Hemsky ended up with four points on the evening as Gagner, Teemu Hartikainen and Jeff Petry all finished the night with two-point efforts and Devan Dubnyk made 41 saves for the win.
Between Calgary and Colorado, the first period featured all of the scoring until overtime. Matt Stajan got things started 1:47 in with his 8th of the season, and after Paul Stastny’s 19th of the season tied it up, things didn’t change. 3:51 into overtime, David Jones banked a puck in off of Mikka Kiprusoff for his 18th of the season and the game-winner. Jones and Stastny both finished with two points in the 2-1 win and Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves for win number 25.
It was two goals a period last night in Dallas between the Stars and Coyotes. Loui Eriksson opened the scoring with his 26th before Lauri Korpikosi (16) tied it up. In the second it was the Michael Ryder show as Ryder scored his 31st and 32nd of the season, with Phoenix following that up with two of their own in the third from Oliver Ekman-Larsson (12-SHG) and Ray Whitney (23). Overtime would pass by scoreless and Mike Ribeiro would score the only shootout goal, coming in the second round, for a 4-3 Stars win. Ryder, Eriksson and Ribeiro all had three-point nights while Whitney and Shane Doan chipped in with two points each.
The Los Angeles Kings continue to win games. Gunning after their fifth win in a row last night, they never trailed against the Sharks. Mike Richards’ 16th opened the scoring up shorthanded before Martin Havlat (6) tied it up on the same power play for San Jose. Alex Martinez (4) would score the only goal of the second, and Anze Kopitar would make it 3-1 before Dan Boyle made it a one goal game. Dustin Penner’s 7th restored the two-goal lead, and Jeff Carter made it 5-2 with his 21st of the season and 6th as a King. Richards and Kopitar both had three-point nights and Jonathan Quick made 20 saves for the victory.
What’s on Tonight?
The Montreal Canadiens and Buffalo Sabres meet up in a matchup of one team battling for a top draft pick and another for the playoffs. The Florida Panthers and the Carolina Hurricanes find themselves pitted against each other, while Detroit and the New York Rangers go toe-to-toe in the Big Apple. It’s the always-exciting Vancouver Canucks and Chicago Blackhawks matchup in Chicago, while the St. Louis Blues pay a visit to Anaheim and the Ducks.
The Injury Bug:
-Andrej Meszaros is expected to miss 6-to-8 weeks after undergoing surgery to remove a disc fragment from his back.
-Nicklas Backstrom is getting close to returning, but there still is no firm date set to it. He is skating symptom-free however, and is taking a very careful, cautious approach to his comeback.
-Jimmy Howard will not play Wednesday as he tweaked his groin on Tuesday. He is currently listed as day-to-day. Joey MacDonald is also out with a back injury so neither will available tonight.
-David Backes’ lower body injury, sustained after blocking a shot, will not keep him out of the lineup. He will play tonight.
-James Wisniewski reported concussion-like symptoms on Columbus’ flight home from their road trip. Many feel he will get shut down for the year if symptoms persist.
News, Notes, and Rumours
-Shane Doan has a disciplinary hearing scheduled with the league for his elbow to Jamie Benn on Tuesday. The Stars feel that Doan’s elbow was enough to warrant a suspension.
The Overlooked Fantasy Line(s) of the Night:
With all of the attention paid to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, Duncan Keith had a pretty big night. Keith finished the evening with four assists, two of them coming on the power play, one shot, and a +1 rating. Mike Ribeiro had a good night as well with three assists and one of them coming on the power play.