Game recaps, updates on Radim Vrbata, Karri Ramo and Nail Yakupov, and the latest on the Leafs.
OTTAWA SUN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Thanks again to stellar goaltender from Andrew Hammond, the Ottawa Senators picked up their sixth win in seven games, downing the Winnipeg Jets 3-1 to finish their road trip with a 4-0-1 record. Hammond made 35 saves for the victory.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bit of a surprise start for Hammond, as it was expected Craig Anderson would get the call. Anderson apparently hasn’t fully recovered from his injury. With the win, the Senators are only four points out of playoff contention. Thanks to Hammond’s performance, the Senators are playing with confidence and have a legit shot at a wild-card spot.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Montreal Canadiens lost their second straight road game, dropping a 3-1 decision to the Anaheim Ducks. Former Hab Jiri Sekac picked up an assist for the Ducks, while Anaheim goalie John Gibson made 37 saves. The Canadiens remain atop the Eastern Conference, two points up on the New York Rangers and New York Islanders.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: Canucks forward Radim Vrbata is wary of his former team, the Arizona Coyotes, whom Vancouver will face next. Vrbata cites his club’s recent loss against the hapless Buffalo Sabres as proof it won’t be an easy game against the stripped-down Coyotes.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sometimes the most dangerous opponent down the stretch are non-playoff clubs which have nothing to prove. The pressure is off those teams and they’re more relaxed, while a team jockeying for playoff contention (like the Canucks) are under considerably more tension.
CALGARY SUN: Flames goalie Karri Ramo has a league-best “goals-against average at 1.87 and best save-percentage of .938” this season among NHL goalies with 10-or-more appearances in road appearances,
EDMONTON SUN:Under new Oilers coach Todd Nelson and center Derek Roy, young winger Nail Yakupov is enjoying an offensive revival. He has nine points in his last 13 games.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle explains how the unrelenting media circus following the Leafs is taking a toll on the players.