Michael Finewax

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Blues are Moving on Up

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The NHL decided to give Gustav Nyquist a six game suspension for his spear on Minnesota’s Jared Spurgeon on Wednesday.


I probably would have given him an extra game or two as there is no place in hockey for a cheap shot like that but the NHL got it’s point across.


Nyquist decided not to show up with the NHL Department of Player Safety as was his right and instead conducted his business over the phone.


Spurgeon came close to injuring his eye as Nyquist just missed by a couple of inches.


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Joonas Korpisalo made 31 saves in his first start in over two weeks to lead Columbus to a 5-2 win over Toronto.


Korpisalo replaced Curtis McElhinney as the Columbus backup when McElhinney was placed on waivers and claimed by Toronto on January 10. Korpisalo has given Columbus similar netminding as the veteran McElhinney as he is 4-1 with a 3.27 GAA and a .902 save percentage.


McElhinney was given the start against his former teammates by coach Mike Babcock and he couldn’t be blamed for the loss as he gave up four goals on 34 shots and is 4-4-2 with a 2.45 GAA and a .924 save percentage. He as 2-1-2 with a 2.39 GAA and a .924 save percentage for Columbus but the Blue Jackets were not happy with his last performance for them when he allowed five on 34 shots in a 5-4 loss to the Rangers on January 7.


The Blue Jackets scored the only two goals of the first period as Josh Anderson and Boone Jenner found the back of the net.


Oliver Bjorkstrand made it 3-0 early in the second when he put a laser behind McElhinney on a breakaway. It was his first of the season. I was surprised with the demotion of Bjorkstrand near the start of the season as I thought he played very well for Columbus in limited action last season. He had 14 goals and 26 points for Cleveland of the AHL in 37 games before his recall.


Nick Foligno made it 4-0 with a power play goal just before the halfway point of the game and it looked like it was going to be a runaway but Nazem Kadri scored once in the second and then again in the third to give Toronto some hope with over 13 minutes left.


But Korpisalo would not budge and when Matt Calvert scored into the empty net, that was all she wrote.


Mitch Marner fell hard into the boards in the second period and while he played into the third, it appeared that he injured his shoulder so the Maple Leafs made call it a night early in the third. There was no update on his status after the game so consider him day-to-day.


Josh Leivo, Zach Werenski, Alexander Wennberg and Seth Jones each had two assists in the game.



It sure looks like the Blues should have fired Ken Hitchcock well before they did on February 1 as they moved to 6-1 under Mike Yeo with a shutout win over Detroit.


It was Carter Hutton’s second straight shutout as he has won both times since the move to put Yeo behind the bench, raising his record to 9-7-2 with a 2.52 GAA and a .907 save percentage. The goaltender stopped 25 shots, giving him 51 in a row in his last two outings.


Petr Mrazek was very good in the Detroit cage as he gave up a goal to Ivan Barbashev on the Blues first shot on goal of the game but he played ‘kitty bar the door’ the rest of the way as Jaden Schwartz scored an empty netter with only 11 seconds remaining in the game to seal it for the Blues. Mrazek is 12-15-6 with a 3.04 GAA and a .901 save percentage as he attempts to climb back into respectability.


The Blues have given up only eight goals in the seven contests since Hitchcock was removed with one being an empty net goal against Pittsburgh. They have moved into third place in the Central Division, three ahead of the Nashville Predators.


Kenneth Agostino and Carl Gunnarsson drew assists on Barbashev’s goal while Schwartz’s was unassisted.


Henrik Zetterberg led both teams with six shots on goal.





Brian Elliott was terrific as he stopped 33 shots including 14 in the first period as the Flames upended Philadelphia 3-1.


Elliott won for the fourth time in his last five starts as he has finally become the goalie the Flames thought they were getting when he was dealt from St. Louis in the off-season as he pushed his record to 12-13-2 with a 2.79 GAA and a .898 save percentage.


Elliott was especially great in the first after Alex Chiasson took a questionable spearing call on Nick Cousins, that gave him a five minute major and a game misconduct. The killed off most of the penalty when Sean Monahan fired the puck over the boards that gave him a two minute minor for delay of game. On the subsequent five-on-three power play, Elliott made a couple of huge saves, one coming off the stick of Cousins, to keep the game tied at 1.


Cousins (he was busy in the first) got the Flyers off to a quick 1-0 lead 90 seconds into the opening frame as he banged home a beautiful pass from Matt Read.


Matthew Tkachuk, who should get plenty of Calder Trophy consideration, tied the game at 1 as he took a Mikael Backlund pass and easily beat Michal Neuvirth in the Flyers net. It was his 11th goal of the season as he has 36 points after he set up T.J. Brodie with the winning goal in the second stanza.


Brodie gave the Flames a lead they would not give up as he scored from 50 feet out on a wrister that beat the screened Neuvirth.


Mark Giordano scored his seventh of the season into the empty net to give the Flames their final margin of victory.


For Neuvirth, his record dropped to 9-6-1 with a 2.63 GAA and a .897 save percentage.


Jordan Weal had six shots on goal while Brayden Schenn had six hits.


FLORIDA 6 SAN JOSE 5 (Overtime)


Jonathan Huberdeau’s third goal of the season was the overtime winner as the Florida Panthers won a wild one over San Jose 6-5.


The Panthers led 5-3 with less than three-and-a-half minutes to go in the third when Joe Pavelski started to wield his magic as he scored twice to send the game into overtime.


The second goal by Pavelski forced Roberto Luongo to leave the game with an apparent lower body injury. James Reimer replaced him and stopped both shots sent his way to get the victory. Luongo stopped 29 of 34 shots.


Martin Jones had a rough night as he was able to turn aside only 16-of-22 shots as the Panthers beat the Sharks on San Jose ice.


Aleksander Barkov had a couple of goals and an assist while Nick Bjugstad had two goals for Florida. Jussi Jokinen also found the back of the net.


Pavelski had a huge night as he also assisted on goals by defensemen Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Burns also picked up an assist and is tied for second in NHL scoring with Sidney Crosby at 61, two in arrears of Connor McDavid.


Joel Ward also scored for San Jose. 


David Schlemko and Alex Petrovic each had a pair of assists.


There is not going to be too many times this is written but Schlemko led both teams with six shots on goal, two better than Pavelski. Pavelski is up to 20 goals and 52 points this season as he continues to be an offensive force to be reckoned with. 


Congratulations are in order to Jaromir Jagr who picked up an assist in the win. It was his 1,900th career point in the NHL as he trails only Wayne Gretzky, albeit by 957 points.

Michael Finewax is entering his 13th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
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