The Montreal Canadiens got the win in Dallas on Wednesday, but they did so short-handed.
Forwards Paul Byron and Brendan Gallagher both left the game because of injuries, and the news following Montreal’s 4-3 overtime victory didn’t sound promising for the latter.
Gallagher took a Shea Weber slap shot to the hand and was in immediate pain as he went to the bench. Habs coach Michel Therrien announced after the game that Gallagher will not accompany the team to Toronto to conclude this road trip.
Instead, he’ll head back to Montreal to meet with team doctors.
The Florida Panthers were without Seth Griffith for the majority of Wednesday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.
And interim coach Tom Rowe isn’t pleased about the incident that knocked his forward from the game.
Griffith was injured on a high hit from Nikolaj Ehlers in the neutral zone. The incident occurred just away from the puck (0:07 of the video clip above), as Griffith was skating toward the Jets blue line.
Griffith played one more shift, which lasted all of three seconds, before he left the game for good. There was no call on the play. Ehlers went on to score in the third period.
Afterward, Rowe sounded off on the hit.
“It was a dirty hit by Ehlers, he deliberately did it,” Rowe said, per the Miami Herald, which reported the injury was a concussion. “I don’t care what anyone says. I saw it on video, it’s a dirty hit.”
In 23 games this season, Griffith had no goals and five assists.
Just 24 hours after a disappointing loss to the Buffalo Sabres, the New York Rangers responded.
Unfortunately, though, for the Philadelphia Flyers, their losing streak continued as a result. The Flyers have now lost five in a row dating back to Dec. 22, before the holiday break, as they fell 5-2 to the Rangers on Wednesday.
At the other end, Henrik Lundqvist made 30 saves, none more impressive than the two quick stops he made on Brayden Schenn early in the second period after the Rangers took the lead.
Meanwhile, the Rangers played Wednesday’s game without defenseman Marc Staal because of an upper-body injury. He’s also expected to miss Saturday’s game (Can we call it ‘highly anticipated’ now?) against the Columbus Blue Jackets, as well.
Staal, who had played all 40 games and ranked third on the Rangers in average ice time (19:33), was hurt in Tuesday’s 4-1 loss to the Sabres, said Vigneault, who offered no other details. Staal played 19:15 against the Sabres with two hits and one blocked shot. It appeared that Staal had some difficulty skating at times against the Coyotes and Avalanche last week.
The Rangers are now just three points back of Columbus for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Buckle up: Canada will face USA for gold at World Juniors
Despite trailing twice in the first period and a goaltending change, Canada advanced with a 5-2 victory in a thriller versus Sweden later in the evening. Julien Gauthier, taken 21st overall last year by the Carolina Hurricanes, scored the winner, jamming in a loose puck past Felix Sandstrom.
Gauthier scored the empty-netter late in the third period, eliminating any possibility of a miracle Sweden comeback.
Earlier anxiousness of Canadian hockey fans was replaced by jubilation in the end. But it didn’t start out so well for Canada.
Sweden jumped out to the lead on a short-handed goal, as Joel Eriksson-Ek beat Connor Ingram with a shot off the wing, an attempt that Ingram should’ve stopped.
The Swedes regained the lead two minutes later, as Carl Grundstrom slid the puck through the legs of Ingram. He was replaced in net by Carter Hart, a prospect of the Philadelphia Flyers, immediately after Sweden’s second goal.
But Canada took over in the second period, and continued that into the third, never really sitting back on the lead.
Now, it’s Canada vs. USA for the gold. These teams met in the round robin, with Team USA scoring the win on New Year’s Eve.
Patrik Laine takes back rookie goal scoring lead as Jets topple Panthers
Quite a game for the young players on the Winnipeg Jets, and once again Patrik Laine was a central character.
The Jets defeated the Florida Panthers 4-1 on Wednesday. Mark Scheifele, Nikolaj Ehlers and Laine all scored, as Winnipeg moved to within a point of the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
Laine is now up to 21 goals on the season. Taken second overall in last year’s draft, he’s still just 18 years old and doesn’t celebrate his birthday until April.
He also surpassed Auston Matthews, taken No. 1 overall, for the rookie goal scoring lead, and what a back-and-forth battle that is shaping up to be in the second half of the season. It should be one of the most compelling storylines, outside of the playoff race, which both Laine and Matthews could also be a part of, over the next few weeks and months.
In a league where scoring is difficult and getting to the 50-goal plateau is a rare accomplishment unless you’re Alex Ovechkin, a pair of teenagers could very well reach the 40-goal mark by the time their respective freshman campaigns are done.