For most of the world, Wednesday was just another Hump Day in a long series of easy-to-forget evenings. Chances are pretty good that this isn’t just another day for Columbus Blue Jackets forward R.J. Umberger, though.
In the span of one night, Umberger scored the overtime game-winning goal in the Blue Jackets’ 3-2 comeback win against the Florida Panthers – but most importantly – might also become a dad.
The Associated Press reports that Umberger left quickly after the game concluded to be with his wife, who is reportedly expected to give birth “at any time.” Congratulations in advance to the Umberger family. Hopefully having a child in his life won’t affect R.J. like it did Tracy McGrady.
New dad in the making Umberger was the first star (and MVND?*) of the game, but here’s a quick look at the games a whole.
Columbus 3, Florida 2 (OT)
The Panthers jumped off to a 2-0 lead only to lose this one, much like they did against the Atlanta Thrashers earlier this week (the Thrashers ended up winning that game as well, taking a shootout win).
David Booth and Cory Stillman scored those first two Panthers goals. Fedor Tyutin scored late in the first and Antoine Vermette scored with less than one minute remaining in the third to make way for Umberger’s OT game-winner. Steve Mason earned the win after stopping 29 out of 31 shots, edging Tomas Vokoun, who made 35 out of 38 saves.
* -Most Valuable New Dad.
No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.
Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.
They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.
On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.
Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.
Perhaps some of that has to do with health?
Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.
The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.
“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”
He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.
You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.
Here are the handy links for the two contests.
First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.
Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.
“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”
Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.
Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.
Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.
Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer