Big night for R.J. Umberger: Forward scores OT goal, becomes a dad?

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.

Goalie nods: Greiss gets start over injured Halak

Thomas Greiss
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Thomas Greiss will be between the pipes for the New York Islanders when they host the Blackhawks tonight in Brooklyn.

Greiss was signed this offseason to back up Jaroslav Halak, who skated this morning but remains day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

“Jaro’s not 100 percent right now, so it was an easy decision,” coach Jack Capuano told Newsday. “Jaro’s progressing well and we’ll see how he is moving forward.”

Greiss will be backed up by J-F Berube, who was claimed off waivers from Los Angeles earlier in the week.

Corey Crawford will be in goal for Chicago.

These two teams meet again tomorrow at United Center.


Michael Hutchinson goes for the Jets in New Jersey after Ondrej Pavelec got the win last night in Boston. Cory Schneider for the Devils.

Henrik Lundqvist for the Rangers. Sergei Bobrovsky for the Blue Jackets in their opener.

Jonathan Bernier for the Leafs. Jimmy Howard for the Red Wings in their opener.

Mike Smith for the Coyotes. Jonathan Quick likely for the Kings, who will need a better effort than the one they had Wednesday against San Jose.

Related: Mike Smith seeing benefit from sports psychologist

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.