What do you need to know about last night's big stories? Joe McDonald gives us his take on the biggest and best.
Give Hamilton a break: The Calgary Flames continue their rollercoaster season while trying to adjust to a new style of play. But the Flames' top players need to get going. It doesn't help that dynamic forward Johnny Gaudreau is sidelined with a broken finger. Calgary earned a point in a 2-1 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Monday, but I'm most interested in Flames defenseman Dougie Hamilton. His name has been churning through the trade-rumor mill but it would be a huge mistake for the Flames to move the 23-year-old blueliner. Despite his 6-foot-6, 210-pound frame, Hamilton has been playing scared -- some evaluators are saying he's playing "soft" -- and inconsistently. But there's no denying his athleticism. After struggling last season, his game has improved. He's still trying to develop into a dominant two-way defender. He's still young and by the time he reaches his mid-20s, he is capable of being one of the elite defenseman in the league. He should be part of team's core group for a long time, so don't give up on him.
Niemi should be the man: Dallas Stars goaltender Antti Niemi saw a solid performance go for naught -- again. Despite a 27-save performance, the Stars lost 4-3 in overtime to the St. Louis Blues on Monday. Niemi had no chance on the overtime goal by the Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko. Overall, there's too much inconsistency between Niemi and fellow goalie Kari Lehtonen. The tandem has split the games almost evenly this season and that's become a problem in Dallas. Most times, I'm all for having two No. 1 goalies. However, in the Stars' situation, I want to see one goalie as the main guy for the majority of the season and Niemi should be it. If he can get on a roll, and the team in front of him can deliver, it will boost Niemi's confidence. That would be especially important for the Stars' postseason hopes.
McDavid vs. Matthews rematch: After 13 games without a goal, 19-year-old Auston Matthews has three goals -- including his first game-winner on Saturday against the Washington Capitals -- in his last two games and five points in the last four. These types of ebbs and flows are expected for a first-year player, but he's still a stud. Opponents are focusing on him but he will develop into a franchise player and will eventually be right behind the Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid in scoring for years to come. On Tuesday, the pair of phenoms face each other for the second time this season. Neither player recorded a point during Toronto's 3-2 victory on Nov. 1 at Air Canada Centre. No matter, because any time these two are on the ice at the same time, fans should pay attention.