Jordan Eberle's strong debut, Nikolai Khabibulin's shutout help Oilers top Flames 4-0

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for eberlehallpaajarvi-edmontonjournal-macwilliam.jpegEdmonton Oilers 4, Calgary Flames 0

Last season, you might have been able to summarize the Edmonton Oilers’ many miseries simply by pointing to their record against the Calgary Flames in the so-called Battle of Alberta: 0-6. In the first time in the 29 years the two spirited rivals squared off, the Oil couldn’t manage a single “W.”

It’s easy to overreact to a single game of success (or failure), but one thing is certainly different from this season to last: the Oilers won’t be swept by the Flames again.

While the other two members of the Oilers “Big Three” (Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi) were held off the scoreboard, Jordan Eberle scored what might have been the goal of the night while playing on the penalty kill. Take a look at this beauty of a goal in his NHL debut.

The Oilers reaped the rewards of their “old” young players, too, as Ales Hemsky celebrated his return from last year’s season-ending injury with a goal while Shawn Horcoff and Gilbert Brule also provided tallies for Edmonton. Ryan Whitney earned two assists in the game as well.

He might not be all the way out of his legal troubles, but for at least one night, Nikolai Khabibulin looked like the goalie worthy of the wacky contract the Oilers gave him. The troubled Russian stopped all 37 shots to earn an opening night shutout.

Click here for the box score and here for the Associated Press recap (although note that Eberle was credited with a goal and an assist, not two goals).

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    Caps re-sign Christian Djoos, who could get his NHL shot next season

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    The Washington Capitals have re-signed defenseman Christian Djoos to a two-year, $1.3 million contract.

    It’s a two-way deal in 2017-18, and a one-way deal the following season.

    Djoos, 22, is expected to push for an NHL spot next season, along with Madison Bowey and possibly Tyler Lewington.

    That’s because Karl Alzner and Kevin Shattenkirk, both unrestricted free agents, aren’t expected to re-sign with Washington. On top of that, the Caps lost d-man Nate Schmidt in yesterday’s expansion draft.

    Djoos, a seventh-round pick in 2012, had 13 goals and 45 assists in 66 games for AHL Hershey this past season.

    It was his second full season in the AHL.

    Bettman says NHL will call more slashes next season


    Commissioner Gary Bettman says the NHL will look to enforce slashing penalties more next season.

    Following the league’s board of governors meeting, Bettman said pointless slashes to players’ hands will be called more. Ottawa’s Marc Methot and Calgary’s Johnny Gaudreau were among the players to miss time last season with hand injuries from slashes.

    Related PHT coverage:

    Gaudreau (finger) out six weeks, Treliving says Staal slash the culprit

    — Flames made ‘mountain out of a molehill’ over Gaudreau slash

    — Methot ‘out for weeks’ after suffering a shattered finger from Crosby slash

    — Melnyk blasts ‘whiner’ Crosby, who won’t face hearing for Methot slash

    Report: Vegas sends Trevor van Riemsdyk to Hurricanes

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    Here. We. Go.

    According to Frank Seravalli of TSN, the Vegas Golden Knights have sent defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk to the Carolina Hurricanes.

    Van Riemsdyk was among 15 defensemen taken by the Golden Knights in Wednesday’s expansion draft, however, general manager George McPhee made a point of saying that, as a result of having this sudden surplus at the position, he was going to have to move some of those blue liners.

    McPhee has been busy over the past few days, making deals with a number of teams ahead making his expansion selections, stockpiling draft picks, including three in the top 15 of the first round.

    More to come.

    Stars add Barnes and Wilson to Hitch’s staff, retain Fraser

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    Dallas filled out Ken Hitchcock’s coaching staff on Thursday, with a host of familiar faces.

    Hitchcock’s longtime assistant, Rick Wilson, has come aboard, as has former Stars forward Stu Barnes. In announcing those hires, GM Jim Nill also revealed the club would retain the services of assistant Curt Fraser, who has been with the club since 2012.

    “The three have a unique familiarity with the club from the time they spent here,” Nill said in a release. “We’re excited for the wealth of knowledge and experience they will add to our coaching staff.”

    Wilson, 66, worked with Hitch in Dallas from 1995-2002 and, together, captured the Stanley Cup in ’99. He also worked with Hitchcock in St. Louis over the last few years.

    Barnes, 46, finished his 17-year NHL career in Dallas, then quickly transitioned to the coaching side of things in 2009, spending two years as a Stars assistant under Marc Crawford.