The Red Wing-Spartan duo of Justin Abdelkader and Drew Miller helped Detroit inch its way up the conference standing this week by earning five points. The pair was especially effective on Thursday in a 3-0 victory over the Oilers. Miller picked up his third assist of the year in the second period. Working from the boards near the edge of the right faceoff circle, the winger sent a perfect centering pass to Cory Emmerton, who was racing towards the net. Emmerton buried his shot top shelf to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead. Abdelkader finished the Oilers off late in the third. The left winger fired a wrister into Edmonton’s open net in the waning minutes, giving Abdelkader his first goal of the season.
David Booth performed well this week, despite his team’s struggles. The Canucks trudged to a 0-2-2 record, while Booth notched a helper on Sunday. The Vancouver winger set up a Henrik Sedin tally early in the third period, narrowing Minnesota’s lead to 3-2. Booth’s effort went for naught, as the Wild captured a 4-2 triumph.
Center Shawn Horcoff returned to action in style for the Oilers on Sunday, following a month-long stint on the team’s injured reserve. The team should be happy to see Horcoff return, as the Oilers stumbled to a 4-7-4 record in the captain’s absence. The veteran scored his second goal of the year to make his debut a success. While camping in front of the net, Horcoff deflected a Ryan Nugent-Hopkins shot to give the Oilers a 5-2 lead midway through the second period. Edmonton would hold on to win, 6-5, despite Chicago’s fierce comeback that nearly wiped out a four goal Oiler lead.
Fellow Oilers Jeff Petry and Corey Potter also looked good this week. Petry registered a goal during Tuesday’s 4-3 shootout loss to the Blue Jackets. The defenseman sent a long wrist shot past Columbus goaltender Steve Mason to hand Edmonton a 1-0 lead early in the opening period. Not long after, Petry got into a tussle with Matt Calvert, leading to a five minute fighting major for the pair. (Check out the game highlights here: http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2012020328) Petry also racked up three shots, eight hits and three blocked shots in Edmonton’s wild win over Chicago on Sunday. Potter dished out six hits, helping to end a five game losing streak for the Oilers. Make sure to check out the highlights from the game here: http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2012020370&navid=sb:recap
The Sharks had a mixed week, accruing a record of 1-1-2. San Jose center Tim Kennedy was held off the score sheet, though he did the little things well. This was most visible on Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to the Flames, as the 26-year-old accounted for six shots and a takeaway.
Chicago’s historic 24-game point streak came to an end on Friday. The Blackhawks looked out of sorts against the Avalanche, and Colorado made the squad pay, earning a 6-2 triumph. Chicago again lost in regulation on Sunday, though Duncan Keith tallied an assist in the contest. The veteran defenseman was credited with his 12th assist of the season on Brent Seabrook’s mark in the second period that narrowed Chicago’s deficit to two.
Ryan Miller had a tough week. The former Spartan goalie accumulated a 0-2-1 record. He stopped 24 shots on Tuesday versus Carolina, but the Hurricanes pushed the puck past Miller four times to hand the Sabres a close loss. The veteran netminder came on in relief of backup goaltender Jhonas Enroth with 1:06 to play in the third period of Thursday’s matchup with the Devils. Miller turned away each of the four shots he faced in the remainder of regulation and in overtime, but could not stop New Jersey’s David Clarkson and Patrick Elias in the shootout. The Buffalo netminder turned aside 25 Philadelphia shots on Sunday, but the Flyers found a way to win on Sunday evening, sending the Sabres home with a 3-2 defeat.
Tampa Bay’s Adam Hall only played in two of the team’s four games this week, but he made the most of his playing time. He claimed his fourth assist of the year in Tuesday’s 5-2 win over the Devils. The right winger aided B.J. Crombreen in sealing the Lightning’s victory with a late empty net goal.
The Winnipeg Jets soared to a 2-1-1 record, while Jim Slater had a quiet week statistically. The veteran center’s best performance came during a close 4-3 loss to a familiar divisional foe, the Florida Panthers. Slater recorded a shot, takeaway, a hit and won three of five faceoff opportunities in Tuesday’s match.
Injury / Scratch Report:
Florida defenseman Mike Weaver remains out with a lower body injury suffered on February 28. He has been placed on the team’s injured reserve and a return date for the veteran has not been set.
Toronto’s John-Michael Liles continued to sit on the bench this week. Maple Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle has named the defender a healthy scratch in each of the team’s games since February 16.