Riding the Zamboni - Thursday, December 30th (early edition)
Let’s take a look at the four games that ended at a reasonable hour tonight. We’ll get around to Colorado-Edmonton and Philadelphia-Los Angeles later on.
Kristian Huselius scored two goals and Rick Nash provided two assists while R.J. Umberger scored a game winning power-play goal to help the Blue Jackets beat the Maple Leafs tonight. Steve Mason earned the win (20 out of 22 saves) although Jonas Gustavsson played pretty well (29 out of 32 saves) in the loss.
The Thrashers gave one of hockey’s oddest couples an early wedding gift with a shootout win over the Bruins tonight. Atlanta’s other explosive offensive defenseman Tobias Enstrom scored two goals while Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler scored for Boston. Recent call-up Tim Stapleton and underrated forward Bryan Little made it happen in the shootout for the Thrashers.
This is a story of two teams on very different paths right now. The Lightning are now comfortably in first place in the Southeast Division in front of the Caps while the Canadiens have slipped out of the Northeast lead with a three game losing streak and a 2-8-0 run in their last 10. Steven Stamkos scored two goals and two assists while Cedrick Desjardins earned his first NHL win with 27 saves in this one.
During last year’s playoffs, the Sharks couldn’t get a break against the Blackhawks. Former Chicago goalie Antti Niemi is now 3-0 against his old employers. He made 26 out of 29 saves while Joe Thornton scored a game-winner to give San Jose the win. The Blackhawks might find that two weeks without Jonathan Toews won’t pass very easily.