Game recaps plus updates on Tyler Myers, Michel Therrien and the return of the Canucks’ walking wounded.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: On the one hand, kudos to the Flames for overcoming the loss of captain Mark Giordano. On the other hand, can the Leafs just forfeit their remaining games this season? The Flames’ win gives them 81 points and lifts them ahead of Vancouver for second in the Pacific Division.
OTTAWA CITIZEN: Andrew (“The Hamburgler”) Hammond continued his hot streak, making 34 saves backstopping the Senators to a 2-1 victory over the New York Islanders. Hammond’s now run his record to 9-0-1 and is the biggest factor behind the Senators’ recent surge in the standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Memo to Senators coach Dave Cameron: I know you don’t like advice from fans or pundits, but if you seriously harbor any hope of coaching your team into the playoffs, you’ll play Hammond as often as possible. The Senators are now five points behind the Boston Bruins for the final wild-card berth in the Eastern Conference.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Though the Oilers scored three power-play goals, they fell to the Columbus Blue Jackets by a score of 5-4.
WINNIPEG SUN: Jets defenseman Tyler Myers (upper-body injury) might be able to play in Saturday’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Despite the Canadiens recent offensive struggles, coach Michel Therrien insists he’ll stick with his defense-first system.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Defense first? The Canadiens are among this season’s worst defensive teams and have lousy puck-possession numbers. Therrien’s system is basically Hart and Vezina candidate Carey Price stealing game the Habs would otherwise lose with a lesser goalie. Despite their lofty position in the standings, the Canadiens aren’t a serious Stanley Cup contender.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: “Forwards Brad Richardson and Chris Higgins, along with defencemen Kevin Bieksa and Yannick Weber” are expected to return to the Canucks lineup tonight against the Toronto Maple Leafs.