Canadian teams are falling like the dollar, the Blackhawks are the NHL’s hottest team, Holtby is making history, Lecavalier is writing his own redemption story, and more in seven things we learned in the NHL.
A Canadian crisis
Like the loonie, Canadian teams are struggling to keep pace with their American counterparts.
If the regular season came to its close today, Canadian teams would be relegated to watching playoff hockey in between rounds of golf. All the Canadian teams. ALL of them.
The Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, and Montreal Canadiens all came out on the losing end of their respective contests on Tuesday night. The Toronto Maple Leafs were the lone Canadian club to pick up a win, and they’re not about to challenge for a playoff spot.
As it stands, the Canadiens and Ottawa Senators both sit one point back of the New Jersey Devils for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks match the Colorado Avalanche in points in the standings, but trail in regulation wins, thus sit outside of the current wild card picture.
It’s the Canadiens who are Canada’s most confounding hockey team at the moment. They were atop the conference after starting the season 19-4-3, but a 4-16-1 slide since has them on the outside looking in.
Canadiens head coach Michel Therrien refuses to blame his players, notably veteran defenceman Andrei Markov.
Therrien’s future is anyone’s guess at this point.
Kane, Crawford power Blackhawks to franchise-record streak
Nobody is as hot as the Chicago Blackhawks right now.
The Blackhawks picked up a franchise-record 12th straight win with a 4-1 victory over the Nashville Predators Tuesday night. Patrick Kane matched his career-high mark in goals by scoring his 30th of the season.
Kane scored 30 in 82 games during the 2009-10 season. The 27-year-old winger needed just 49 games to reach 30 this season and appears on track to set new offensive career highs across the board.
As great as Kane has been, Corey Crawford‘s play between the pipes has been outstanding over the course of the club’s win streak.
Crawford is currently on a 9-0 run with a 1.88 goals-against average and a .946 save percentage over that span of games.
Hunwick delivered a timely goal
Toronto Maple Leafs defenceman Matt Hunwick‘s first goal of the season could not have come at a more opportune time.
Hunwick broke a third period tie with less than eight seconds left on the game clock to send the Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Holtby’s out here making history
Braden Holtby is a current favourite to take home the Vezina Trophy following the season. The 26-year-old stopper made 32 saves to help the Washington Capitals to a 6-3 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets Tuesday.
Holtby earned his 30th win of the season.
And for even more historical context…
Holtby improved to 29-5-2 on the season. He’s currently sporting a 1.99 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage.
This was not Nilsson’s night
The Edmonton Oilers and Tampa Bay Lightning combined for 10 goals in a wild one Tuesday night. The Lightning walked away the winners by a final score of 6-4.
Anders Nilsson was the victim of a couple of weird goals in the loss, one an unlucky bounce and the other an indefensible poke-check attempt.
Nilsson handed Brian Boyle a shorthanded freebie in the third period.
Expect Cam Talbot to be back in goal when the Oilers visit the Dallas Stars Thursday.
Rejuvenated Lecavalier at home on Kings’ power play
Vincent Lecavalier couldn’t find work in Dave Hakstol’s lineup with the Flyers. He appeared done, biding his time with a difficult decision looming at season’s end.
Since landing with the Los Angeles Kings in a trade earlier this month, Lecavalier has skated 10-15 minutes per night on a Stanley Cup contender. The 35-year-old scored a goal for the third consecutive game during the first period of the Kings’ meeting with the Stars Tuesday.
A knuckler to the top corner. Not the prettiest goal of Lecavalier’s career, but he’ll take it.
The former first overall pick totaled one assist in seven games with Philadelphia prior to the trade. He’s scored three goals, all with the man advantage, and added an assist in six games with the Kings.
Canadiens paid tribute to Denna Laing
The Canadiens paid tribute to Denna Laing with a moving video package prior to the start of their Tuesday night meeting with the Bruins.
Laing suffered a spinal cord injury in the Outdoor Women’s Classic during the NHL Winter Classic festivities in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
The Canadiens and Bruins also announced plans to auction off autographed, game-worn jerseys from Tuesday night’s game to raise money for Laing.
Patrice Bergeron‘s sweater was sitting at $5,060.00 late Tuesday night. Great stuff from the Canadiens and Bruins.