Recaps of all Canadian NHL game action from Thursday, plus an update on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
TORONTO SUN/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS: Phil Kessel’s first goal of the season snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. It was a painful loss for the Jets, who were clinging to a 2-1 lead until Matt Frattin tied it in the third, setting the stage for Kessel’s game winner. Zach Redmond and Andrew Ladd scored for the Jets.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE/STARTRIBUNE.COM: Cory Schneider, appearing in his first game since January 27, kicked out 22 shots as the Vancouver Canucks dumped the slumping Minnesota Wild 4-1. Daniel Sedin, Chris Higgins, Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen scored for the Canucks, while Tom Gilbert spoiled Schneider’s shutout bid with a power-play market in the third period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Expect Schneider’s performance to keep the local media hyperventilating over the “goaltender controversy” in Vancouver. Meanwhile, the Canucks just keep winning, as this was their fourth in a row, opening a three-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers in the Northwest Division.
BUFFALO NEWS/MONTREAL GAZETTE: For the second straight game, the Montreal Canadiens failed to hold a lead in the third period, as the Buffalo Sabres rallied from a 4-2 deficit to defeat the Habs 5-4 in a shootout. Thomas Vanek scored twice in regulation for the Sabres, while Jason Pominville netted the winner in the shootout. Canadiens coach Michel Therrien singled out Ryan White for his ill-time double-minor which sparked the Sabres third-period rally. Tomas Plekanec scored twice for the Canadiens, while P.K. Subban netted his second goal in as many games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: White acknowledged his lack of discipline cost his team. I daresay he’ll have plenty of time in the press box to ponder the error of his ways.
NEWSOBSERVER/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Cam Ward made 45 saves and Jay Harrison scored the OT winner as the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a 2-1 deficit to down the Ottawa Senators 3-2. Alexander Semin’s power-play goal in the third period forced the game into overtime. Ward was spectacular in this game in which his teammates were out-played and out-shot 47-26. Erik Karlsson and Daniel Alfredsson scored for the Senators.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If not for Ward, the Senators would’ve won this one handily. He stole that game for the Hurricanes.
CALGARY HERALD/COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Alex Tanguay scored in overtime as the Flames edged the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-3. Flames goalie Leland Irving made 26 saves for the win, and picked up an assist on the Flames third goal.
EDMONTON SUN: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins won’t require shoulder surgery, and the club hopes to have him back in the lineup soon.