Regular season recaps – October 9

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From the Penguins losing their first two games at home, the Blackhawks suffering a defeat as they raise their Stanley Cup banner and the Devils going 0-2 (OK, 0-1-1) in their first games with shiny new toy Ilya Kovalchuk, the 2010-11 season has seen it’s fair share of spoilers* so far. Anyway, let’s get to the recaps. They will be brisk because this was a hefty night of hockey.

* – Not the kind of spoilers that movie Web sites hand out, like the fact that that Bruce Willis is that dude in a hairpiece in “The Sixth Sense.”**

Columbus 3, San Jose 2 (OT)

Steve Mason was the star of this one, stopping 33 out of 35 shots to help the Blue Jackets go 1-1 overseas. Joe Thornton now has two goals in two games, a goal-scoring trend I doubt will continue (then again, he is in a contract year). The Sharks might worry a bit about their 5-on-5 scoring, as four of their five goals this season have come on the power play so far.

Washington 7, New Jersey 2

My pick for the Eastern Conference finals ended up being a real blow-out in this one. Martin Brodeur allowed 5 goals in two periods before Johan Hedberg allowed two more while Michal Neuvirth made his Brodeur impression by stopping 31 out for 33 shots. Alex Ovechkin was his usual better-than-Ilya-Kovalchuk self, scoring two goals and one assist while his Russian pal was held pointless.

Dallas 5, NY Islanders 4 (SO)

The Stars almost coughed this one up, but Dallas is 2-0 on the road and in “extra innings” as they began the season with a shootout and overtime win. One trend that could make Stars fans giddy is that Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro seem like they’re finding the chemistry that helped them form one of the league’s most underrated duos a few seasons ago. Morrow already has three goals in two games and Ribeiro assisted on all of them.

Toronto 5, Ottawa 1

Well, would you look at that? With a 2-0 start, the Toronto Maple Leafs might be building the confidence to take a Northeast Division that lacks an elite team. Let’s not plan the parade just yet, but Brian Burke must be happy about his team’s solid start.

Montreal 3, Pittsburgh 2

Read all about it here.

NY Rangers 6, Buffalo 3

The story of this game was rookie Derek Stepan’s hat trick. Check out the video here.

Tampa Bay 5, Atlanta 3

Steven Stamkos had two goals and one assist, evildoer Steve Downie had a goal and an assist and the Lightning fought off a late charge by the Thrashers to begin the Steve Yzerman era with a win.

Nashville 4, Anaheim 1

The Ducks have been out-scored 9-1 in their first two games this season. That’s just horrible. The Predators hope to scrap their way to the playoffs yet again. So far, so good.

St. Louis 2, Philadelphia 1 (OT)

Jaroslav Halak began his time as the St. Louis Blues top starter by stopping 29 out of 30 shots to win the game. Brian Boucher was sharp, too, stopping 23 out of 25 shots. The Blues scored a power-play goal, but need to be more efficient than 1 for 10 if they want to return to the playoffs this season.

Detroit 3, Chicago 2

The Red Wings spoiled the Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup banner raising party by narrowly beating them in this one. Valterri Filppula scored two goals, including the game-winner on the power play, while Chris Osgood stopped 26 out of 28 shots to give Marty Turco and the Hawks their second loss of the season.

Note: We’ll cover the Kings-Canucks game tomorrow morning.

** – Numerous cool points to anyone who knows what TV show that reference is from.

Kings put Gaborik on IR because of lower-body injury

Los Angeles Kings' Marian Gaborik celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.

Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.

And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:

LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.

Minnesota Wild fire Mike Yeo

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo talks to Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.

***

It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.

Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:

The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.

Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.

One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?

Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …

Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.

/paging Jacques Lemaire …

Cold for Clutterbuck? Illness sidelines Isles’ heavy-hitter

New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) goes flying after tripping over Edmonton Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson (88) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. The Islanders defeated the Oilers 8-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.

The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.

According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).

Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.

Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines:

If Wild want Yeo out, they’ll probably need to fire him

Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.

“I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.

The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.

https://twitter.com/ChadGraff/status/698629021232455680

Yikes.

Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.

(And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)

Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.

Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?