The Flames explode but lose... Cam Ward is coming... streak-busting... off year for Lids but don't discount him... Franzen close... Hockey in the Himalaya's
Huge night for the Flames as they got a whole THREE GOALS!!! Jarome Iginla scored his first in 12 games, Olli Jokinen got his second in his past 10 and Dion Phaneuf scored his first in 18... but they still lost in a shootout. While we don't think these guys are going to turn into the '86 Oilers overnight, they should snap out of their funk soon and start putting the puck in the net a little more.
We've been telling you that Cam Ward has been coming on lately and it just keeps coming as he's been a very solid 6-4-0, 2.04 & .939 in his last 10 games... get this guy on the cheap before all the GMs clue in.
One streak that did continue was Alex Semin's as with two goals last night he extended his point streak to seven games where he's 6+8=13... this guy is blazin right now.
There hasn't been much focus on Ryan Kesler or Mason Raymond lately as all the talk has been about the Sedin's & Burrows but Kesler has quietly put together 3+11=14 in his past 13 games and Raymond had three points last night to give him 3+5=8 in his last seven.
Chris Osgood got his second start in the past five games so Babs is giving him a glimmer of hope that he can regain his #1 job but Ozzie responded by giving up three goals on eight shots in the first period and five on 25 overall in a loss to the Wild... that ain't gonna get it done.
It's shaping up to be an off year for Nicklas Lidstrom as he's on pace for only 45 points which would be his lowest total (by far) since the lockout. But if you have an opportunity to get this guy then we'd highly recommend it as he's really been coming around lately and has 4+13=17 & a plus-13 in his last 16 games.
Michal Neuvirth won his second straight start last night stopping 30 of 31 to beat the Ducks. Look for him to get the call in the next few games as Theodore & Varlamov are still nursing their injuries... go ahead and get Neuvirth in there as the Caps get Florida and Tampa at home to close out the week.
It was a 33 save shutout for Antero Niittymaki and he's won four of his last five... not bad but the Bolts have a date with the Caps coming up and Mike Smith is ready to return so we can't see Niittymaki's run lasting much longer.
Injury Updates (see our Injury Updates page for a consolidated list of injuries):
Johan Franzen has been cleared to play by the doctors so its just a matter of him getting back into game shape... he's hoping to come back in the next two weeks, probably right before the Olympic break.
The Wild's Niklas Backstrom has a minor back injury and didn't play last night but he probably could have if they needed him to... I guess we'll see if he's ok to go tonight in Denver.
Mike Comrie's been out for the past 30 games due to mono, aka "the kissing disease" (yes, we are that immature), but he's been back on the ice lately and its possibly that he could make his return tonight... so if you've been stashing him on your bench (not sure why you would) then its time to activate!
Returning to action from the injured list last night was: Brenden Morrow, Josh Harding, David Backes and Brian Pothier.
What's distracting us today? How about something a little more on the inspiring side? We read this article "Hockey finds a Himalayan Shangri-la" from The Star. Pretty unique piece on kids in Northern India playing hockey... definitely worth a read.
We particularly liked the line they use on their banner: "Ice hockey is for those who are physically strong, mentally tough but soft at heart".
Maybe we're getting a little sensitive.