Maple Leafs down the Senators, Canadiens fall in OT to the Lightning, Flames win their fifth straight, Oilers lose again, plus updates on the Canucks and Jets.
TORONTO SUN/OTTAWA CITIZEN: Phil Kessel’s hat trick lifted the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 6-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators. The game turned on what the Senators considered a blown non-call on the Leafs Nazem Kadri for boarding Senators defenseman Cody Ceci, which saw Kadri steal the puck and set up Joffrey Lupul for the game-tying goal in the second period.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: While a questionable call, the Senators allowed that to rattle them. They had blown a 2-0 lead and seemed to fall apart in the third period, when the Leafs ran away with the game.
MONTREAL GAZETTE: Nate Thompson scored twice, including in overtime, as the Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Montreal Canadiens 2-1. Daniel Briere scored the only goal for the Habs.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not to take anything away from Lightning goalie Ben Bishop, but the Canadiens’ offense really didn’t look sharp in this game. Too many missed passes and blown scoring opportunities.
CALGARY HERALD: Mikael Backlund’s two goals (including the winner in overtime) lifted the Calgary Flames to a 4-3 win over the Minnesota Wild. The Flames have now won five straight games.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A month ago the Flames were struggling to score. Now they’re scoring in bunches. That’s how it goes in the first season of a rebuilding process. Backlund, meanwhile, continues to make himself invaluable for the Flames.
EDMONTON SUN: Goalie Ben Scrivens couldn’t prevent the Oilers from a 4-0 shutout loss to the Boston Bruins.
VANCOUVER PROVINCE: Jason Botchford looks at the few options the Canucks have if they decide to trade one of their core players before the trade deadline.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The best time for that will be in the off-season when teams have more cap space and willingness to spend. They won’t get much before the trade deadline for players under expensive contracts with no-trade clauses.
WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets hope to continue their recent improvement heading toward the Sochi Olympic break.