Preseason quick recaps: September 29th

While the hockey world wasn’t treated to a Panthers-Hurricanes game thanks to a tropical storm, there were eight other games that only mattered a little bit tonight. Let’s take a look at them.

Nashville 4, Atlanta 3

Plus: It was a great night for the two teams’ power plays, as all but one connected for a goal (the Predators went 2 for 3 while the Thrashers went 1 for 1). Martin Erat stood out with two goals and one assist while Ryan Suter put together a nice one goal, one assist game. Johnny Oduya provided two assists for the Thrashers.

Minus: A fantastic night for a team’s PP comes at the expense of the PK unit, so Nashville stopped 0 percent and Atlanta shut down 33 percent of the man advantages (it’s fun to play with tiny samples, right?).

NY Rangers 5, Detroit 1

Plus: Henrik Lundqvist had a great game, turning away 34 of 35 shots. Ruslan Fedtenko continues his preseason hot streak with two assists in this one. Marian Gaborik scoring a goal and assist is one thing, but Derek Stepan’s one goal, one assist performance might help him make the team.

Minus: The Red Wings were pretty flat in this one, probably because they’re aware that this is the preseason. Still, losing a game 5-1 when you never allow more than 10 SOG in one period is a little troubling.

Philadelphia 3, NY Islanders 1

Plus: Jeff Carter put up two goals while the humorously named Sergei Bobrovsky put together another nice performance, stopping 32 out of 33 shots.

Minus: Of course, the Flyers did it against the Islanders B-team, which is a lot like player a normal NHL squad’s C-team.

Washington 4, Boston 1

Plus: The Capitals rested Alex Ovechkin, so Nicklas Backstrom took it upon himself to score two goals. Jason Chimera produced two assists in this one.

Minus: The Capitals only had 10 shots going into the third period (6 in the first, 4 in the second) while the Bruins only had 15. Not exactly the height of competition, right there.

Toronto 4, Ottawa 3

Plus: Whipping boy of the moment Nazem Kadri scored two goals and added one assist, including Toronto’s only even strength goal. The Leafs power play produced three goals and nine opportunities. This game produced this hysterical fight.

Minus: Senators fans hoping for the best from Pascal Leclaire this season probably want to ignore this one, as the buck-toothed goalie allowed four goals on only 19 shots.

Edmonton 4, Phoenix 3 (SO)

Plus: Ilya Bryzgalov earned the game’s star presumably by not being totally awful. Petr Prucha produced two assists while Scottie Upshall had a goal and an assist. Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky scored shootout goals to help the Oilers win the game.

Minus: Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers was pulled at the half-way mark in the game, leading many to wonder if he might get waived soon.

Calgary 3, NY Islanders 2

Plus: Rick DiPietro played in this game without his knee exploding, which makes his tepid 12-for-15 performance easier to stomach. Meanwhile Miikka Kiprusoff was solid in 40 minutes of duty (15 of 16 shots stopped).

Minus: Sure, the Flames won, but they beat half of the Islanders team. I wouldn’t get too excited about it.

San Jose 6, Vancouver 2

Plus: The Sharks dominated this game, particularly on the man advantage with four power-play goals. Dany Heatley, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski each scored one goal and one assist while Joe Thornton provided two assists. Raffi Torres scored two goals and Dan Hamhuis produced two assists for Vancouver.

Minus: Christian Ehrhoff attempted to start a fight, apparently inspired by Alex Kovalev.

Scroll Down For:

    Ducks deny rally, end Penguins’ winning streak

    1 Comment

    When Ondrej Kase cashed in on another breakaway opportunity for the Ducks to make it 4-1 in the second period, it looked like that goal would be icing on the cake for Anaheim. Even if it would be especially pretty frosting.

    Instead, that stylish goal ended up being critical, as the Pittsburgh Penguins nearly rallied in the third period to at least send Wednesday’s game to overtime. John Gibson ended up holding down the fort, and with an empty-netter in the dying seconds, the Ducks ended up beating the Penguins 5-3.

    You could call it a game of periods and close calls.

    The Penguins entered the first intermission thanks to a 1-0 Evgeni Malkin goal, but the Ducks dominated the middle frame with their first four-goal period of 2017-18. The Penguins’ prolific power play helped them stay in the game (2-for-4, with both goals coming during that third-period comeback bid), but the rally fell short. Pittsburgh’s winning streak ended at four victories.

    Some bounces went both ways, as Antoine Vermette nearly scored for the Ducks while Carl Hagelin suffered a near-miss. So maybe those missed opportunities cancel each other out?

    From the Ducks’ perspective, this is the latest argument in favor of this team being a threat now that key pieces have returned to the lineup. This win begins what they hope is a successful five-game homestand, as Anaheim still needs to battle for its own playoff hopes.

    The Penguins can’t ruminate on this loss for very long. They head to Los Angeles to face what must be a frustrated Kings team (four straight defeats, only two wins in their last eight games) on Thursday, with little reason to expect any mercy.

    This last stretch of wins improved the Penguins’ outlook, but dropping games in back-to-back nights could make things tense again in a hurry. You can check out that Penguins – Kings game on NBCSN Thursday.

    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.

    Willie O’Ree celebrates 60th anniversary of debut with Bruins

    3 Comments

    BOSTON (AP) Hockey pioneer Willie O’Ree was honored in Boston on Wednesday on the 60th anniversary of the Bruins forward breaking the NHL’s color barrier.

    At a news conference at the TD Garden before the Bruins game against the Montreal Canadiens, Mayor Marty Walsh declared Jan. 18, 2018 to be “Willie O’Ree Day”. O’Ree made his debut in 1958 during a 3-0 victory against the Canadiens at the Forum in Montreal.

    Walsh called O’Ree a Boston legend who changed the city for the better and thanked him for his courage. As part of the celebration, the city dedicated a new street hockey rink in the Allston-Brighton neighborhood to be known as Willie O’Ree Rink.

    A native of Canada, O’Ree, 82, had four goals and 10 assists in 45 games over parts of two NHL seasons. He spent a total of 21 years in pro hockey.

    For the past two decades, O’Ree has served as the NHL’s Diversity Ambassador, spreading the message that hockey is for everyone.

    More AP NHL hockey at https://apnews.com/tag/NHLhockey

    Bruins cruise vs. Canadiens in Julien’s return to Boston

    4 Comments

    Don’t blame Claude Julien if Wednesday made him think of better times, and not just because it was his welcome back night in Boston.

    Coming into this one, it was a tale of two teams going in opposite directions, and the teams stuck to their scripts. The Boston Bruins remain red-hot with a 4-1 win, while the Montreal Canadiens are mired in mediocrity .. or worse?

    When you’re as disappointing as the Canadiens have been, plenty of things are going wrong. It was a weak start even with a 1-0 lead and 1-1 first period in mind, and it obviously didn’t get any better.

    Nights like these have to sting for Julien, a coach known for his sophisticated systems and eye for defensive detail.

    There are questions about Max Pacioretty possibly being trade bait. People wonder if Jonathan Drouin or Alex Galchenyuk fit as centers, or if neither work that way. Yet, these performances make you realize that as exasperated as management must be, they may also appreciate more specific distractions.

    Because, frankly, this was a team … non-effort.

    Then again, the Bruins are a red-hot squad, so maybe they shine an especially harsh light on the Habs’ haplessness?

    Boston generated a 32-22 shots on goal advantage in this one, with multiple contributors stepping up. Big guns came through (Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak were among the goal scorers, Patrice Bergeron collected two assists), while David Backes and others added to the fun.

    It was the kind of effort Julien would have been very happy with, if it didn’t come at his expense.

    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: Pittsburgh Penguins at Anaheim Ducks

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

    PROJECTED LINEUPS

    Pittsburgh Penguins

    Dominik SimonSidney Crosby — Daniel Sprong

    Carl HagelinEvgeni MalkinPatric Hornqvist

    Conor ShearyJake GuentzelPhil Kessel

    Tom KuhnhacklRiley SheahanRyan Reaves

    Brian DumoulinKris Letang

    Olli MaattaJustin Schultz

    Matt HunwickJamie Oleksiak

    Starting goalie: Tristan Jarry

    [NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Canadiens vs. Bruins; Penguins vs. Ducks]

    Ducks

    Rickard RakellRyan GetzlafCorey Perry

    Derek GrantRyan KeslerJakob Silfverberg

    Nick RitchieAdam HenriqueOndrej Kase

    Chris WagnerAntoine VermetteJ.T. Brown

    Cam FowlerKevin Bieksa

    Hampus LindholmJosh Manson

    Francois BeaucheminBrandon Montour

    Starting goalie: John Gibson