Here are the Eastern Conference morning papers:
- The Thrashers only mustered thirteen shots on net last night, but that was enough to defeat the Washington Capitals 2-0 and move back into first place in the Southeast Division. Injured Thrashers forward Ilya Kovalchuk had a successful off-ice workout yesterday and is hoping to return early next week.
- The Bruins weren’t perfect last night, and that is why they lost 3-1 to the dominating NHL force that is the Detroit Red Wings. Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe has an interesting Sunday article focusing on the lost art of takeaways.
- It looks like the Sabres dodged a bullet, as goaltender Ryan Miller’s injury is not considered serious and he should be in between the pipes on Tuesday night.
- The Hurricanes can’t say they weren’t warned about what would happen in the third period if they continued with their lackadaiscal play, and lo and behold, the team blew their 1-0 lead going into the final period and lost 4-1 to the Penguins. In other game notes, Erik Cole finally got his revenge on Brooks Orpik for his hit from behind two seasons ago, as the two dropped the gloves on Saturday night.
- Rangers coach Tom Renney has thought about resting Brendan Shanahan because of all the small injuries he has been playing with. Meanwhile, Chris Drury is enjoying playing on a line with Nigel Dawes and Petr Prucha. In other Rangers news, Larry Brooks of the NY Post advises the Rangers to take a pass on the Peter Forsberg sweepstakes.
- The Flyers had an impressive 3-0 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Ducks last night at the Wachovia Center.
- The Penguins didn’t panic when they were trailing 1-0 at the second intermission because they knew the goals would come; and they did, as the Penguins defeated the Hurricanes 4-1. The Pens are slowly but surely getting their injured players back, as Colby Armstrong returned to the line up last night.
- “I don’t think we were hungry enough tonight,” said Capitals defenseman Mike Green after his team’s 2-0 loss to the Thrashers last night.
- The Panthers pulled out a big win last night with a 3-2 victory over their state-rivals from Tampa. Richard Zednik hadn’t scored in seventeen games but he picked the right time to breakout of his slump by scoring the game-winnger last night.
- If it isn’t the power play leading the Habs to victories, it is the penalty kill, as the Canadiens killed off five penalties yesterday and added a shorthanded goal in their 4-1 victory over the Islanders. The Islanders are starting to lose their playoffs chances with a 1-5-1 record in their last seven games, writes Herb Zurkowsky of the Montreal Gazette. Rick DiPietro is a tremendous netminder, but he can’t do it all himself, writes the legendary Red Fisher.
- The Devils defeated the Kings 6-3 on Saturday night, but it was not without a little drama on the bench that saw Brent Sutter and Jamie Langenbrunner yelling at each other in full view to the fans at the Prudential Center and at home on television.
- “We had three or four Grade-A chances when the game was still relatively close. We had a lot of quality chances. We just didn’t put them in,” said Islanders coach Ted Nolan after losing 4-1 at Montreal.
- The Senators left Ray Emery out to dry last night in their 4-2 loss at Toronto, writes Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun. Brennan also tells readers that the Senators are interested in adding Swedish forward Fabian Brunnstrom to their roster for next season.
- Lightning GM Jay Feaster doesn’t usually like to negotiate contract extensions during the season, but Feaster is willing to make an exception for defenseman Dan Boyle.
- With all their injuries, and the suspension to Nik Antropov, the Leafs had some new faces lead them to a 4-2 victory over the rival Senators. Rosie Dimanno of the Toronto Star believes Mats Sundin deserves better treatment.
Here are the Western Conference morning papers:
- Jarome Iginla’s goal-scoring struggles continued last night as he failed to score for the eighth straight game and the Flames were defeated 2-1 at home by the Stars. Scott Cruickshank of the Calgary Herald has the recap. The Flames and Dion Phaneuf are expected to resume contract talks on Monday.
- The Ducks losing streak reached six games last night as they were defeated 3-0 in Philadelphia.
- The Blue Jackets got their largest home crowd in one year but disappointed their fans immensely with a 4-1 loss to the Wild, marking the team’s third straight loss since the All-Star break. “We are mentally fragile right now,” said Jackets defenseman Ole-Kristian Tollefsen after last night’s contest. Off the ice, the Jackets are expected to open talks with goaltender Pascal Leclaire about a contract extension.
- Marty Turco was tremendous once again last night in defeating the Flames 2-1 at the Saddledome, writes Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News. Forwards Steve Ott and Jeff Halpern have demonstrated great chemistry since being paired together on the team’s checking line.
- The Red Wings’ penalty killing shifted the momentum in last night’s game and helped Detroit take down the Bruins 3-1 at the Banknorth Garden in Boston. In other Wings news, defenseman Derek Meech has loved being a regular with Niklas Kronwall on the sidelines.
- The Kings lost 6-3 to the Devils yesterday, but the bigger news surrounding the team was the loss of Rob Blake for at least two weeks to a broken ankle.
- The Wild dominated the Blue Jackets last night in Columbus, on the back of two goals by Marian Gaborik, writes Michael Russo of the Star Tribune. You don’t hear his name much, but Nick Schultz is a well-known name in the Minnesota area.
- Alexander Radulov scored the overtime winner to extend his goal-scoring streak to six games in leading the Predators to a 3-2 victory over Phoenix. Last night’s game marked the end of J.P. Dumont’s sixteen game point streak.
- Jeremy Roenick tallied the shootout winner last night over the Blackhawks, and had extra incentive to do so because he didn’t want his son to miss his flight home to Phoenix. “I didn’t know what to expect all day today. It was like a first game again. I was so jacked up and excited. You just try to contain that and remember to play hockey,” said newest Shark Jody Shelley about his San Jose debut.
- The Blues made too many mistakes at home yesterday in their 6-4 loss to the Avalanche.
- The Coyotes lost to the Predators 3-2 in overtime, but they were happy to at least earn one point in the standings after trailing in the game 2-0.
- Tony Gallagher of the Vancouver Province says the Canucks require more offensive talent in order to make a playoff run.
- “It’s always disappointing to lose in a shootout like that, but we can hold our heads high and know we played a good game,” said Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp after his team’s 3-2 shootout loss at San Jose.
- The Avalanche continued to show that they can win without their top three offensive players last night with a 6-4 victory over the Blues. Terry Frei of the Denver Post thinks acquiring a rental player for the playoff run and attempting to secure his services after is still a reasonable option for a team to choose.
- After missing Friday’s game versus Dallas, Oilers center Shawn Horcoff is hoping to be back in the team’s line up for Monday night’s game versus Calgary. “He’s a poster boy for every bit of work you put in the game paying off,” said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish about Oilers winger Zack Stortini.
For Illegal Curve, I’m Richard Pollock.
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