Game recaps, updates on Dustin Byfuglien and Bryan Little and the latest on the Canadiens, Canucks and Maple Leafs.
CALGARY SUN: The red-hot Flames overcame an early two-goal deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 5-2, winning their third straight game and taking a two-point lead over the LA Kings for third in the Pacific Division. Former Red Wings Jiri Hudler scored twice and sophomore center Sean Monahan tallied a goal and an assist.
OTTAWA SUN: The surging Senators also rallied from an early two-goal deficit to edge the Buffalo Sabres 3-2. Sens goalie Andrew Hammond ran his record to 7-0-1, while Erik Karlsson, Mika Zibanejad and Mark Stone tallied for the win. The Senators now move within three points of the Boston Bruins for the last wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago the Senators’ playoff chances looked bleak. Thanks to Hammond’s stellar goaltending they’ve picked up 15 of a possible 16 points. They’re on the verge of overtaking the struggling Florida Panthers and have a legitimate shot at passing the Bruins.
EDMONTON JOURNAL: Antoine Vermette’s shootout goal gave the Chicago Blackhawks a 2-1 victory over the Oilers, who received a strong performance from goaltender Ben Scrivens to force a shootout.
WINNIPEG SUN: Bad news for the Jets, as Dustin Byfuglien (upper-body injury) will miss two-to-four weeks, while center Bryan Little is also sidelined with an undisclosed injury.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets have been whacked by injuries this season but have managed to remain in playoff contention. Losing their best defenseman and top center, however, will be a significant test of their mettle down the stretch.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Despite their recent 0-2-1 road record, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien is pleased with the additional depth (Jeff Petry, Devante Smith-Pelly, Torrey Mitchell and Brian Flynn) recently added by management.
THE VANCOUVER SUN: The Canucks must play with more urgency after a week of wasted opportunities have allowed their rivals in the Western Conference playoff chase to gain ground in the standings.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks are tied with the Flames in points (76) but hold second in the Pacific Division because they have a game in hand over Calgary. The Kings are only two points behind them and the San Jose Sharks only four back.
TORONTO STAR: The fan behind the offensive tweet which aired on TSN aimed at Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf, his wife Elisha Cuthbert and teammate Joffrey Lupul has issued a formal apology. Cuthbert took to Twitter to accept the apology.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Let this be a lesson to people who believe they can hide behind Twitter to make offensive remarks about others. As this young hockey fan discovered, actions have consequences.