October 27, 2009
Just in case you were thrown off by the subtle headline, once more with feeling: The Toronto Maple Leafs, mired in the worst start in franchise history, improved to 1-7-1 on the season with a 6-3 victory at the Anaheim Ducks. Niklas Hagman's hat-trick, all scored on the power play, provided half the offense for Toronto. Hagman gave the Leafs the lead in the first period on a 5-on-3, built it to 3-1 in the second and then put the cherry on top with goal No. 6 in the third on another 5-on-3. All it took for Toronto to break through with a win was for Anaheim to play a horribly undisciplined game with 17 penalties taken and allowing 39 shots on goal. Truculence!
The good news: Gaborik's two goals and an assist propelled the Rangers over the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-2, to snap their three-game losing streak and to give the free-agent star a share of the NHL lead in goals scored (10) with Anze Kopitar(notes). The bad news: Gaborik's durability is all anyone can talk about after the victory, as he limped to the dressing room before the game was finished and after colliding with a Coyote. Gaborik told Rangers Rants the injury wasn't related to any of his nagging ailments, and it doesn't appear to be serious in nature.
Tomas Plekanec(notes) probably deserves a share of this star, as the Habs center made a strong zone-to-zone rush to set up a 2-on-1 in overtime against the visiting New York Islanders. Hamrlik went to the net hard and beat Marty Biron for the game-winner on a feed from Plekanec. Hamrlik was a plus-2 in 25:34, as the Canadiens defeated the Islanders by a 3-2 count.
Honorable mention: Jeff Tambellini(notes) scored twice for the Islanders. ... Jaroslav Halak(notes) won his fourth straight game Montreal with 29 saves. ... Ed Jovanovski(notes) scored his fourth and added an assist for Phoenix. ... Tomas Kaberle(notes) had a goal and four assists for the Leafs, while Anaheim had goals from Bobby Ryan(notes) (2) and Corey Perry(notes) (5) in a losing effort. ... Meanwhile, the Chicago Blackhawks sent the Minnesota Wild to their eighth straight road defeat with a 3-1 victory. Cristobal Huet(notes) made 20 saves, and Patrick Kane(notes) had the highlight of the night with this laser-accurate unassisted goal in the third period:
Did you know? The Coyotes lost the battle tonight, but may have won the war to remain in Phoenix under new ownership. Owner Jerry Moyes has agreed to sell the bankrupt franchise to the NHL, pending the approval of Judge Redfield T. Baum. If it gets the rubber stamp, will Ice Edge be the group that steps up to purchase the team?
Dishonorable mention: The Anaheim Ducks gave up five power-play goals and lost to the worst team in hockey -- assembled by their former GM -- on home ice. Doesn't get any more dishonorable than that. ... Colton Orr(notes) and George Parros(notes) both amassed 17 PIMs. Orr led them both in linesmen taken out:
Ilya Bryzgalov(notes) had a clunker, making 7 saves on 11 shots against the Rangers before getting pulled. ... Finally, Martin Havlat(notes) was a minus-2 with one shot in over 20 minutes against his former team in Chicago. So yeah, Hossa had the better night.