Patrice Bergeron and Antoine Vermette power their teams past foreign foes in exhibitions

Thumbnail image for GYI0060230518-patricebergeron-elsa-getty.jpgAs the regular season rapidly approaches, NHL teams are presenting their product in exhibition games against foreign league teams, often on their turf. Today’s slate featured two of those games, with the NHL going 2-0. Let’s take a quick look at both of them.

Boston Bruins 7, Liberec 1

Plus: The Bruins survived “White Hell” thanks to an outstanding performance by center Patrice Bergeron, who scored twice off of breakaways and also provided three assists for a five-point night. The crowd didn’t die down even when their team was down 7-1, which is an impressive feat. Then again, this was an especially festive event. Apparently this marked the first time an NHL team played against a Czech elite league team.

Minus: Is there any way to make an appropriate joke about “White Hell?”

Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Malmo Red Hawks 1

Plus: The Blue Jackets survived an early string of chances for the Red Hawks, beating them 4-1 thanks largely to two goals by Antoine Vermette and two assists by Derek Brassard. Check out these video highlights of the game via NHL.com.

Minus: The Blue Jackets shouldn’t get too cocky, though. The Red Hawks apparently dressed 10 players under the age of 20 because the team is going through a tough stretch right now. The Red Hawks play in a league one level below the Swedish Elite League, too. So it’s not exactly as if the Blue Jackets just beat the best hockey team not in the NHL today.

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    Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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    As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

    On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

    From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

    The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

    Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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    Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

    He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

    The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

    There was no call on the play.

    Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

    Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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    Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

    Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

    That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

    Not bad.

    Gibson (lower-body injury) will play again this regular season, says Carlyle

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    The Anaheim Ducks have been without goalie John Gibson for almost two full weeks because of injury, but head coach Randy Carlyle provided reason for optimism on Thursday.

    Per reports, Gibson took part in practice and Carlyle has said that his No. 1 netminder will play again during the regular season. Anaheim has nine games remaining on its schedule.

    That’s good news for Anaheim heading into the post-season.

    While Gibson has been out, Jonathan Bernier has stepped beyond his back-up role and provided solid goaltending for the Ducks during the stretch drive — which should also be a bonus for this club with the playoffs quickly approaching.

    Bernier has wins in six of his last seven starts. In nine games this month, he has only twice allowed three goals or more.

    The Ducks have fought their way back into contention for the Pacific Division with a recent surge that has coincided with San Jose’s current skid — only four wins in their last 10 games and four straight losses.

    Related: Career back on track, Bernier hopes he can re-sign in Anaheim