A breakdown of the Versus 2010-11 NHL TV Schedule

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Earlier today, our own Joe Yerdon did a great job of breaking down the NBC schedule. You can bet that we’ll be ready to give you extensive coverage of the NHL all year round, but there’s no doubt that those NBC games will be special.

Since we want to cover hockey from all angles, I thought I’d take a look at the Versus TV schedule, too. Here it is in its entirety via the Versus Web site. Feel free to use this to plan your hockey viewing nights this season.

* Versus Exclusive

October
7 — Carolina vs Minnesota, Noon (Helsinki)
7 — Philadelphia at Pittsburgh, 7:00*
7 — Chicago at Colorado, 10:00*
8 — Minnesota at Carolina, 12:00 (Helsinki)
8 — Columbus at San Jose, 3:00 (Stockholm)
9 — Phoenix at Boston, 12:00 (Prague)
12 — Colorado at Detroit, 7:30*
13 — NY Islanders at Washington, 7:00*
14 — Tampa Bay at Philadelphia, 7:00
18 — Colorado at NY Rangers, 7:00*
19 — Boston at Washington, 7:30*
25 — Los Angeles at Minnesota, 8:00*
26 — Buffalo at Philadelphia, 7:30*

November
2 — San Jose at Minnesota, 8:00*
8 — Phoenix at Detroit, 7:30*
9 — Washington at NY Rangers, 7:30*
15 –St. Louis at Colorado, 8:00*
16 — Philadelphia at Montreal, 7:00*
17 — Boston at NY Rangers, 7:00
22 — Boston at Tampa Bay, 7:30*
24 — St. Louis at Nashville, 8:00*
29 — Dallas at Carolina, 7:30*
30 — St. Louis at Chicago, 8:00*

December
6 — San Jose at Detroit, 7:30*
7 — Buffalo at Boston, 7:30
8 — San Jose at Philadelphia, 7:00
13 — Los Angeles at Detroit, 7:30*
14 — Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7:00*
15 — NY Rangers at Pittsburgh, 7:00
20 — Anaheim at Boston, 7:30*
21 — New Jersey at Washington, 7:30*
27 — Minnesota at Columbus, 7:30*
28 — Boston at Tampa Bay, 7:30*
31 — Phoenix at St. Louis, 8:30

January
3 — Chicago at Los Angeles, 9:00*
4 — Minnesota at New Jersey, 7:00*
10 — Boston at Pittsburgh, 7:30*
11 — Philadelphia at Buffalo, 7:30*
17 — Los Angeles at Dallas, 8:30*
18 — Montreal at Buffalo, 7:30*
24 — NY Rangers at Washington, 7:30*
25 — Montreal at Philadelphia, 7:30*
26 — New Jersey at Detroit, 7:00
29 — NHL SKILLS COMPETITION — Raleigh, NC
30 — NHL ALL-STAR GAME — Raleigh, NC

February
1 — Pittsburgh at NY Rangers, 7:30*
1 — Phoenix at San Jose, 10:00
2 — NY Islanders at Pittsburgh, 7:00
7 — NY Rangers at Detroit, 7:30*
8 — Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 7:30*
9 — Montreal at Boston, 7:00
14 — Washington at Phoenix, 8:00*
15 — Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30*
16 — Minnesota at Chicago, 8:00
20 — Montreal at Calgary, 6:00 — Heritage Classic (McMahon Stadium)
21 — Washington at Pittsburgh, 7:30*
22 — New Jersey at Dallas, 8:30*
23 — San Jose at Pittsburgh, 7:30
28 — Chicago at Minnesota, 8:00*

March
1 — Buffalo at NY Rangers, 7:00*
2 — Pittsburgh at Toronto, 7:00
7 — Washington at Tampa Bay, 7:00*
8 — Colorado at Minnesota, 8:00*
9 — Chicago at Tampa Bay, 7:30
14 — San Jose at Chicago, 8:00*
15 — Carolina at Buffalo, 7:30*
16 — Washington at Detroit, 7:30
21 — Pittsburgh at Detroit, 7:30*
22 — Washington at Philadelphia, 7:30*
23 — Vancouver at Detroit, 7:00
28 — Chicago at Detroit, 7:30*
29 — Chicago at Boston, 7:30*
30 — NY Rangers at Buffalo, 7:00
31 — Columbus at Washington, 7:00

April
4 — Boston at NY Rangers, 7:30
4 — Los Angeles at San Jose, 10:00
5 — New Jersey at Pittsburgh, 7:30*
6 — St. Louis at Chicago, 8:00
7 — Atlanta at NY Rangers, 7:00
8 — Chicago at Detroit, 7:00

As you can see, Versus is televising a staggering amount of hockey this season. For those of you scoring at home, here are the number of appearances each NHL team is slated to make on the channel (although it’s important to note that these things are subject to change).

Anaheim – 1
Atlanta – 1
Boston – 11
Buffalo – 9
Calgary – 1
Carolina – 4
Chicago – 11
Colorado – 5
Columbus – 3
Dallas – 3
Detroit – 11
Edmonton – 0
Florida – 0
Los Angeles – 5
Minnesota – 9
Montreal – 6
Nashville – 1
New Jersey – 5
NY Islanders – 2
NY Rangers – 11
Ottawa – 0
Philadelphia – 9
Phoenix – 5
Pittsburgh – 11
San Jose – 8
St. Louis – 5
Tampa Bay – 6
Toronto – 1
Vancouver – 1
Washington – 11

So Versus achieved nearly full representation of the NHL in its schedule, with only Ottawa, Edmonton and Florida earning a goose egg in coverage. The teams who received the most amount of games shouldn’t raise many eyebrows, with the Capitals, Penguins, Rangers, Red Wings, Blackhawks and Bruins tied at 11 appearances. Buffalo, Minnesota and Philadelphia aren’t far behind with nine while San Jose’s prominence as a dominant NHL team for the past few years earned them an impressive eight performances.

One other important note is that Versus will carry Canada’s answer to the Winter Classic, aka the Heritage Classic. That game will feature the Calgary Flames and Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, February 20. As usual, the network will also cover the All-Star Game and its related festivities after the event took an Olympic break last year.

The 78-game schedule marks a 13 game increase from last season, according to Versus. Let it be known that I am delighted by any increase in hockey coverage; the more puck drops fans can see, the better.

Video: AHL goalie Jonas Gustavsson scores his first career goal

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He didn’t shoot, but Jonas Gustavsson still scored.

The former NHL netminder, now with the Bakersfield Condors in the AHL, scored his first career goal Friday, as part of his team’s victory over the San Diego Gulls.

From the AHL:

With San Diego goaltender Dustin Tokarski on the bench for an extra attacker and the Gulls working on a power play, Gustavsson made a save before an errant San Diego pass slid down the length of the ice and into the vacated net at 16:56 of the third period.

Gustavsson is the fifth AHL goaltender to be credited with a goal without actually shooting the puck into the opposition net. In addition to his goal, Gustavsson stopped 30 of 31 shots in the Condors victory.

Bolts and Islanders both win, which is bad news for Bruins

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The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning each had to work overtime to decide their separate games, but when they ended, both clubs were victorious.

And that makes things even more interesting in the Eastern Conference wild card race.

With their shootout win in Pittsburgh, the Islanders tie the Bruins in points but take over the final playoff spot for now with fewer games played. The Lightning, despite an abundance of injuries all season, are just a point back of Boston and New York.

Nikita Kucherov scored the winner for Tampa Bay against the Red Wings. He’s up to 38 goals, which is second most in the league behind Sidney Crosby, currently at 42 goals.

Sellers leading up to the trade deadline, and without Steven Stamkos since the middle of November, the Lightning are in the thick of this race, even if others may have counted them out.

“Once again, people counted us out,” defenseman Victor Hedman told the Tampa Bay Times. “But we showed a lot of character. And we’re right back in it.”

The Bolts don’t play again until Monday, when they host the Chicago Blackhawks — only one of the hottest teams in the league.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s busy slate of games includes a showdown between the Bruins and Islanders. For Boston, it’s a chance for redemption after a particularly costly third period against Tampa Bay on Thursday.

What is wrong with the Sharks?

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Not that long ago, the San Jose Sharks appeared well on their way to winning the Pacific Division title.

On March 14, they had a seven-point lead on both Anaheim and Calgary. Gone is that advantage. Not only have the Ducks surged back into the fight for the division, but the Sharks have lost five in a row and are having a terrible time of late creating any offense.

The Ducks defeated the Jets on Friday, moving into a tie with the Sharks at 91 points.

San Jose’s struggles hit a new low Friday with a 6-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, a team with its own flaws and nowhere close to a playoff position.

At one point midway through the second period, the Sharks trailed the Stars by four goals and had only six lousy shots on goal. During this skid, San Jose has scored only five goals.

Earlier this week, members of the Sharks said they weren’t terribly worried about this losing streak. The losses, they had said, were in close games, which is true: San Jose lost three consecutive one-goal games.

“When I look at the losing streak, we dominated some of those games for long periods and found ways to lose. You never like to lose, but I’m not that concerned,” Sharks coach Pete DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “We’ve got to obviously end it. We’ve got to get healthy. I don’t see a bunch of symptoms of a team that can’t get this fixed pretty quickly.”

This, however, was a blowout. Adam Cracknell recorded the hat trick, pushing his single-season career-high in goals to 10.

The performance at one point forced DeBoer to take a timeout, in which he expressed his displeasure.

Making matters worse for the Sharks: Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game early in the third period and was put under further evaluation. He didn’t return.

The Sharks visit the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Halak and the Islanders defeat Penguins, move into wild card spot

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Quite a hockey game between the New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday.

It offered plenty to enjoy — Phil Kessel‘s dominant but unfruitful shift in overtime, a combined 86 shots on goal between both teams, a showcase of skill from the likes of John Tavares and Sidney Crosby, and two strong goaltending performances from Jaroslav Halak and Marc-Andre Fleury.

Josh Ho-Sang, who wears No. 66, which is just fine in the eyes of Mario Lemieux, set up Brock Nelson‘s goal in the second period.

The Islanders and their fans probably aren’t hung up on style points at this juncture of the season. They just care about wins and points in the standings, and those are exactly what New York accomplished with a 4-3 shootout win in Pittsburgh.

Anthony Beauvillier and Tavares scored for the Islanders in the shootout. Halak made 37 stops, including a game-saver in overtime off Matt Cullen. Halak trapped the puck, which was right on the goal line, between his legs on a chance from in front. The play was reviewed but no goal.

The win gives the Islanders 82 points, which is the same total as the struggling Boston Bruins.

However, the Islanders, with one game in hand on the Bruins, take over the final wild card spot in the East for now.