Rookie tournament recaps: Tuesday, September 14th

1 Comment

Here’s your morning recap on what went down in the NHL rookie tournaments across North America last night. Things will be wrapping up soon because real NHL training camp opens up this weekend for everyone and for some of these guys it’s their last chance to make a first impression on their teams.

Traverse City Prospects Tournament – Traverse City, Michigan

Tampa Bay 3 – Dallas 1

Tampa’s James Wright and Carter Ashton continued to impress in Traverse City as both had goals while Wright added an assist as well in leading Tampa to victory. Marc-Olivier Vachon also had a goal and an assist for Tampa. Dustin Tokarski stopped 35 shots for the Lightning while Team USA hero Jack Campbell saved 28.

Minnesota 5 – NY Rangers 4

Former Miami University standout Jarod Palmer had two goals to help lead the Wild over the Rangers rookies. The Rangers issues came with not being able to stay out of the box as the Wild scored three times on the power play. Jay Fehr and Joel Broda each had a goal and an assist for Minnesota.

Carolina 8 – Columbus 1

It’s been a tough rookie tournament for the Blue Jackets and an 8-1 thrashing by Carolina is the icing on the cake for them. Matt Kennedy and Jeff Skinner were the big points winners on the day, each netting five. Kennedy had two goals and three assists while Skinner had a goal and four helpers to help make his outstanding tournament look gaudier. Jason Missiaen was the unfortunate goalie who had to eat eight goals against, but it doesn’t look like the defense helped much as he still made 42 saves.

Detroit 2 – St. Louis 1

Tomas Tatar continues to impress everyone in Traverse City as he scored the third-period game-winner for Detroit to put the Red Wings into the gold medal game of the Traverse City Tournament. Petr Mrazek stopped 27 shots for Detroit. Alex Pietrangelo had St. Louis’ lone goal as he continues to do well in the tournament. Jake Allen made 28 saves for St. Louis in the loss. Detroit will play Minnesota in the gold medal game tonight.

Young Stars Tournament – Penticton, BC

Edmonton 5 – Calgary 3

Alex Plante scored two goals for the Oilers and former University of North Dakota standout Chris Vande Velde added one as well as the Oilers took out Calgary in the Battle of Alberta in Penticton. Keith Seabrook, Greg Nemisz, and John Negrin scored for Calgary. Edmonton’s Tyler Bunz (headline writers salivating at the chance he can make the NHL someday) stopped 34 in the win for the Oilers. None of Taylor Hall, Magnus Paajarvi, and Jordan Eberle played in this game for Edmonton, but they will play tonight against San Jose.

London Prospects Tournament – London, ON

Chicago 9 – Pittsburgh 5

In what turned out to be a mess of a game for the Penguins in goal, the Blackhawks were able to put on an offensive showcase. Mattias Modig gave up seven goals in 18 shots to start the game and the Pens could never get out from behind the eight ball all game long. Igor Makarov, Kyle Beach and Jeremy Morin all had big games for Chicago. Get used to those names Hawks fans, you could see them in Chicago sooner than you think. The Pens close out the tournament with a 2-1 record, meanwhile Chicago finishes 1-2.

Ottawa 3 – Toronto 2

The Senators were able to take out their rivals from Toronto thanks to the efforts of Mike Hoffman’s two goals. Erik Condra added the third for the Sens. Meanwhile, Jerry D’Amigo got on the board for the Leafs in the loss. Hoffman, as it turns out, is the big star of the tournament for Ottawa coming away from the tournament showing that the Sens may have gotten a steal in the fifth round in the 2009 draft. Ottawa finishes the tourney with a 2-1 record, while the Leafs fell to 1-2.

Point gets Lightning extra point against Kane, Blackhawks

Getty
Leave a comment

The Tampa Bay Lightning edged the Chicago Blackhawks – barely – on Wednesday to leapfrog back over the St. Louis Blues for the top record in the NHL.

The Bolts capitalized on a power-play opportunity in overtime, with Brayden Point scoring the decisive goal in a 3-2 OT win. It was an exciting overtime period, with Point being stopped all in alone earlier in the OT, and the same happening to Patrick Kane on a breakaway.

Kane had been getting the best of the Lightning earlier in the game, scoring the first two goals of the contest in the first period. Not a lot of players can make plays like this off the rush:

Then again, few teams can score a goal this pretty, especially while shorthanded:

Steven Stamkos and Vladislav Namestnikov collected assists on Wednesday, but the top line (including Nikita Kucherov) failed to score a goal, though they created quite a few chances. The best – at least in regulation – came when Stamkos seized an opportunity against the Blackhawks, but Corey Crawford was game:

Wow.

Again, both goalies made some big stops. Here’s that Kane miss in OT, with Andrei Vasilevskiy depriving number 88 from a hat trick:

So, with that, the Lightning hold a one-point standings edge (34 to 33) over the Blues in the early race for the Presidents’ Trophy, and most importantly, gives them a five-point edge in the Atlantic Division. Tampa Bay’s impressive start to 2017-18 is especially notable since they’ve played one fewer game than St. Louis and two fewer than the Toronto Maple Leafs (the second-ranked team in the up-and-down Atlantic).

Check out the logjam at second-to-last in the competitive Central for Chicago, as of this writing, with these three teams all at 21 games played:

Dallas Stars: 11-9-1, 23 points
Blackhawks: 10-8-3, 23 points
Minnesota Wild: 10-8-3, 23 points

It has to be a little frustrating for the Blackhawks to see a two-goal lead dissolve, but plenty of teams would struggle to secure such an edge against the powerhouse Lightning. Maybe the Blackhawks will gain some confidence in merely sticking with them (and grabbing a point for their troubles).

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Much-needed response from Oilers vs. Red Wings

Getty
Leave a comment

One win can’t cleanse the palate of a bitter 21-game start, but beggars can’t be choosers, and the Edmonton Oilers really needed a W tonight.

That’s not to say it would be easy, either, as they faced a rested Red Wings team in Detroit to close off a back-to-back after Tuesday’s humiliating loss to the St. Louis Blues. Edmonton got that sorely needed response, chasing Jimmy Howard and beating the Red Wings 6-2.

While Connor McDavid (two assists) and Leon Draisaitl (one helper) made their typical impacts, it’s especially heartening for the Oilers to see less-obvious names show up in the box score. Jesse Puljujarvi, Jujhar Khaira, Mark Letestu, and Drake Caggiula ranked among goalscorers, while Ryan Strome collected a pair of assists.

Any bit of confidence gained, particularly for supporting cast members, could be very important for the fledgling Oilers.

It doesn’t take long to ruin the party; now at 8-12-2, the Oilers’ 18 standings points still leave them at second-worst in the West.

Still, all the Oilers can do right now is gradually, slowly dig themselves out of the troubling hole they’ve created for themselves. This won’t be easy, and even this early on, they might need a few other teams to hit a wall.

But, hey, it’s better than the nothing this team showed last night, right?

Catch up on Edmonton’s struggles

Why they’re the NHL’s most disappointing team

The uncomfortable parallels between McDavid and Jack Eichel

These struggles are the results of some bad moves from Peter Chiarelli

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Scott Darling: Latest goalie beaten from center ice (Video)

1 Comment

Here’s a thought: considering an 82-game regular season and about a two-month-long postseason, it’s almost a little surprising that we don’t see more center-ice goals.

Such a goal can happen in so many ways. A puck can take an odd bounce. A goalie might take his eye off the puck for a second while deciding what to do next, much like an NFL receiver who drops an easy pass while dreaming of those sweet, sweet, yards up ahead.

So, let’s not be too hard on Carolina Hurricanes goalie Scott Darling, who padded Mika Zibanejad‘s already-robust goal totals with the center-ice flub you can see in the video above.

If you prefer a GIF form, this one nails the spirit of the thing:

(Agreed, little emoticon monkey. Agreed.)

Since we’re on the subject of goals netminders would want back even more than usual, we might as well also consider Tyler Ennis beating Chad Johnson here:

Ouch. Hey, we’ve all been there (vaguely speaking).

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks – Lightning, Wednesday Night Rivalry

Getty
1 Comment

The latest edition of “Wednesday Night Rivalry” features a rematch of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, as the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Chicago Blackhawks.

During that competitive series, the Blackhawks were the favorites. The tide has turned now, however, as the dynamite duo of Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov have propelled the Bolts to the upper crust of the NHL. Chicago, meanwhile, strains to remain a contender.

But it’s worth noting that the Blackhawks cannot be taken lightly. They still feature Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Corey Crawford, so tonight should provide plenty of entertainment.

Along with watching on NBCSN, you can also check the action out on online and via the NBC Sports App.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE