On paper, playing the sad-sack Montreal Canadiens was a great chance for Steven Stamkos to bolster his chances to hit the 60-goal mark. Instead, he was held at 58 tallies as his four shots on goal failed to befuddle Peter Budaj.
Budaj generally had a light night of work, needing just 14 out of 16 saves to collect a 5-2 win. Still, the night won’t be all gravy for the mediocre backup, whose blunder of a pass set up an easy Vincent Lecavalier goal that will be blooper fodder for some time.
The Canadiens’ most productive combo instead highlighted the night, as both Max Pacioretty and Erik Cole collected two goals. That pushes Pacioretty to 32 and Cole to 34 in 2011-12, making them rare bright spots on what has mostly been a blight of a season.
Check out full highlights of the game below:
Stamkos’ road to 60
After giving himself a small cushion, Stamkos must score a goal per game in his final duo to hit 60. Here’s a look at those two remaining contests, including how many tallies he already has against each opponent:
Thursday: at Toronto Maple Leafs (one goal in three games)
Saturday: at Winnipeg Jets (three goals in five contests)
Theoretically speaking, the two teams are “vulnerable” enough that an empty-net goal or two isn’t out of the question. That being said, the Maple Leafs delighted in spoiling things for Buffalo earlier this week and the Jets are formidable at home.
Considering those factors and more, how do you feel about Stamkos’ chances of reaching 60? Let us know in the comments.
Report: Coyotes shut down Vitale (concussion) for the season
Matt Frattin was traded by the Leafs to Ottawa yesterday as part of the Dion Phaneuf blockbuster.
But for now, he’s staying in Toronto.
On Wednesday, Sens GM Bryan Murray announced that Frattin will remain with the Leafs’ AHL affiliate — the Toronto Marlies — on loan, but will be available for selection should Ottawa require his services down the road.
Frattin, 28, has spent all of this season with the Marlies, scoring nine goals and 22 points in 47 games. His last NHL appearance came during the ’14-15 campaign, with the Leafs.
Prior to that, the former North Dakota standout had spent time in Los Angeles and Columbus.
Gaudreau, Monahan, Bouma express remorse after benching
“We want to apologize to the organization, the coaches, our team especially, and the city of Calgary and the fans,” Gaudreau said, per the team’s Twitter account. “For us not to show up like that, and miss a game like that, it’s not professional on our part.”
“I’m a young guy and I’m a leader on this team,” Monahan added. “I’ve got to step up and take that back and earn that respect again.”
More on what transpired at Tuesday’s practice, from Sportsnet’s Mark Spector:
Calgary Flames head coach Bob Hartley did his best to keep an epic Super Bowl party under wraps. But two of his players — Lance Bouma and Sean Monahan — arrived at the Saddledome at 10:15 am for a 10:30 Monday morning practice, and those two barely beat Johnny Gaudreau in the Saddledome doors.
Then practice started, and in the words of Calgary winger David Jones: “It’s a little embarrassing when we’re not (making) five-foot passes.”
“I think (Hartley) was pretty pissed off.”
The trio was then subsequently benched for last night’s game against Toronto, which the Flames won 4-3.
Tonight, the New York Rangers are in Pittsburgh to take on the Penguins at Consol, in a rematch of the ’14 and ’15 playoffs (the Blueshirts eliminated the Pens from each of the last two postseasons, you’ll recall.)
You can catch the game at 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN, or watch live online with NBC Sports’ Live Extra.