Games recaps, updates on Kevin Bieksa and Nazem Kadri and the latest on the Canadiens and Oilers.
WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Michael Hutchinson made 29 saves for this 14th win of the season as the Jets blanked the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-0. The Jets also welcomed back defenseman Jacob Trouba, who missed 16 games with an upper-body injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets enter the All-Star break with a record of 26-14-8, sitting firmly in fifth overall in the Western Conference and only two points behind the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks.
OTTAWA SUN: Erik Karlsson scored twice as the Senators took a 3-0 lead over the Toronto Maple Leafs and hung on for a 4-3 victory.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators remain 10 points out of the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference, as are the Maple Leafs, who have now lost six straight games.
CALGARY HERALD: Flames goalie Joni Ortio suffered his first NHL defeat this season as the Anaheim Ducks doubled up the Flames 6-3. It marked the 20th straight game the Flames have lost in Anaheim.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Definitely not the happiest place on earth for the Flames, though they retain hold of the final wild-card playoff berth in the Western Conference as the LA Kings also lost last night.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Bad news for the Canucks as veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa is out indefinitely following surgery on his broken left hand. Bieksa suffered the injury during a recent game against the Tampa Bay Lightning when struck by a slapshot by Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks only recently welcomed back Dan Hamhuis from a groin injury. Losing Bieksa could be a serious blow.
TORONTO SUN: The Maple Leafs and Nazem Kadri are reportedly in talks on a new contract worth $22 million over five years.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s $4.4 million per season for a center on pace for 23 goals and nearly 50 points, numbers similar to what he posted up last season, but nowhere close to the nearly point-per-game pace he was on (44 points in 48 games) during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign. Is Kadri worth it, Leafs fan? Discuss!
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens enter the All-Star break in a light mood, having won seven of their last ten games and sitting fourth in the Eastern Conference, only three points out of first overall.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: They’ve also done it scoring fewer goals at this point in the season than they did at this time a year ago. The Habs offensive, defensive and puck-possession numbers are among the league’s worst, yet thanks to superb goaltending and timely offense they’re among the best teams in the NHL.
EDMONTON SUN: With a pair of comeback wins, the Oilers are showing signs of a turnaround.