From Abdelkader to Zuccarello – 15 March 2011

Tampa Bay Lightning 6 Toronto Maple Leafs 2
Lightning strikes leaving Maple Leafs playoff hopes damaged.

Tampa may have had a 1-0 lead heading into the second period but that did not last long into the second as Toronto’s captain Dion Phaneuf snuck a wrist shot past Dwayne Roloson for a tie game.

It was Mattias Ritola, a player whom just recently returned from an AHL stint, who scored next – twice. The two goals from Ritola were just minutes apart and put the Lightning up 3-1 over the Maple Leafs.

Toronto’s Nikolai Kulemin scored a few minutes after the second Ritola goal to cut the lead to 3-2 but Tampa Bay captain Vincent Lecavalier stepped up and regained the Lightning’s two goal lead heading into the second intermission.

The third period saw Dominic Moore and Mike Lundin each score (both with assist going to Martin St. Louis and Steven Stamkos) to increase the Lightning’s lead over the Maple Leafs and see Tampa claim the two points to sit comfortably in 5th place in the Eastern Conference. The Maple Leafs now sit 11th in the East 6 points behind the 8th (and final play off seed) New York Rangers.

San Jose Sharks 3 Chicago Blackhawks 6
If there was any debate about the Blackhawks missing Antti Neimi the game last night may have ended it as Chicago went on the attack and saw Niemi give up four goals on the 18 shots he faced (replaced by fellow Finnish goaltender Antero Niittymaki whom gave up two goals on 16 shots).

It was the Sharks that had struck early. Joe Pavelski put the Sharks up 1-0 over the Blackhawks on a power play goal at the 2:20 mark in the first. Viktor Stalberg had tied the game up little over halfway though the first for Chicago; while the Sharks took a late lead to head into the first intermission with a 2-1 lead over the Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks came out in the second highly motivated and Marian Hossa scored a power play goal just over three minutes into the period to tie the game up at two. Hossa then scored another power play goal less than three minute later with a follow up goal just over a minute later from Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews put the Blackhawks up 4-2 over the Sharks.

Niklas Hjalmarsson, who the Sharks had put in an offer on the RFA over the summer before Chicago matched the over then saw Niemi go to the Sharks, put the Blackhawks up 5-2 with a slap shot. Logan Couture scored late in the second to and gave hope to Sharks fans of a momentum swing for the third when just over 20 seconds later Chicago’s Patrick Kane put the Blackhawks up 6-3 after 40 minutes of play.

Minnesota Wild 2 Vancouver Canucks 4
Minnesota captain Mikko Koivu returned after breaking finger in game against brother Saku and the Ducks; but it was not enough to keep Vancouver from winning their sixth straight.

Less than two minutes into the game and Raffi Torres had the Canucks on the scoreboard. By the end of the first Minnesota’s Clayton Stoner had taken two penalties (the only two of the period for either time) and saw Vancouver score two power play goals (Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler) to make it 3-0 after only 20 minutes of play.

It was late in the second before another goal was scored – luckily for Minnesota it was one for them, not against. Andrew Brunette got a wrist show past Roberto Luongo off of a feed from Mikko Koivu.

Koivu would come back out in the third and score early putting a backhander past Luongo and cutting the Wilds deficit to one goal before Vancouver’s Ryan Kesler would score an empty net goal with 4 second remaining in the game.

Up into the Netting

They say a problem with concussions is that it is an internal brain injury: you don’t see the symptoms. Well this you can see and I thank Janne Virtanen for sharing his handwriting samples pre concussion and now.

The General Managers from across the NHL are meeting in Boca Raton, Florida this week for their annual meeting. They are looking at head shot rules, hits, and other topics including that time lost from head shots is down.

Probably the biggest news story from yesterday was that Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby took to the ice for a 15 minute skate. A big step in the recovery but still a long road ahead of him. Watch the video:

Speaking of captains and recovery from concussions. Red Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom talks about hits to the head:

Another great read from Risto Pakarinen: Intern.

If you did not come across it yesterday with the Puck Daddy article on it check out the interactive NHL Wheel of Justice.

Depending on who you talk with there is a strong love/hate love/love or hate/hate relationship between the Mainstream Media and Bloggers. Jay Rosen takes a look at the twisted psychology of Bloggers vs Journalists.

Monica McAlister
An avid hockey lover that grew up in Michigan and lived in the Washington D.C. area while going school for Sports Management. Volunteer with the American Special Hockey Association (ASHA); and follows as much SM-liiga and Elitserien as possible along with the vast array of North American leagues.

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