Around the rink – Wednesday, October 20th

If anything else, last night proved that even in a light night of action that anything can happen. Four more games hit the schedule tonight so let’s just hope that if anyone is hitting someone else that it all happens on the ice so we can avoid anything more unseemly to discuss further. As always, all times listed are Eastern because we’re trying to not even go near the same time zone Rick Rypien is in.

7:00 PM

Buffalo @ Atlanta

The Sabres are trying to shake the dust off of their miserable start to the season and facing Atlanta won’t make things any easier. The Thrashers are doing well to start the year and goalie Chris Mason gets the start once again. Evander Kane and Anthony Stewart are leading the way right now. Stewart has four goals while Kane is rocking it with three goals so far this year. Fun fact: Neither has an assist yet. Fill the net, guys.

Buffalo will look to try and keep Atlanta off the board as the Sabres, even with Ryan Miller doing well, are still having a hard time keeping opponents off the board as they’re in the bottom third in the NHL  in goals against.

Anaheim @ Columbus

The Jackets are in a bit of a tough way, but if they’ve got reason to perk up, having Anaheim come to town should help them out. While the Ducks have done well of late, those wins have come at home. On the road, they’ve played miserable thus far. This game could shape up into a war of attrition. Well, one with a lot of goals anyhow.

9:00 PM

Vancouver @ Chicago

Say, perhaps you heard about this Vancouver team here today. After getting trashed by Minnesota on and off the ice last night, the Canucks try to improve on things. Roberto Luongo gets to start once again and because he’s not facing Minnesota he should do better right? Hopefully no one tells him that it’s a playoff game against Chicago or else things might get really ugly. Chicago, meanwhile, is playing some pretty good hockey as Marian Hossa is on fire of late.

10:30 PM

Carolina @ Los Angeles

Speaking of teams on fire, the Carolina Hurricanes bring their traveling road show to L.A. to face Jon Quick Jonathan Bernier and the Kings. While the Canes are playing inspired hockey, the Kings are no slouches themselves off to a 3-1-0 start thanks to the play of Quick, Ryan Smyth, and Dustin Brown. How Jonathan Bernier bounces back after his rocky first start will be interesting. Carolina, meanwhile, kicked the Sharks around to the tune of 5-2 last night getting a stellar star from Cam Ward making 41 saves. Justin Peters gets the call in goal tonight in his first action of the season.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan

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Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?

Hellebuyck debuts with victory as Jets best Wild

Connor Hellebuyck
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Dustin Byfuglien had a goal and assist, Connor Hellebuyck made 14 saves to win his NHL debut and the Winnipeg Jets spoiled left winger Zach Parise‘s return from a knee injury by beating the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Friday.

Mathieu Perreault added his second goal in two games and Nikolaj Ehlers‘ goal late in the third put the game away.

The Jets won on the road for the first time in their last seven tries and for just the third time in their last 11 games.

Ryan Carter scored for Minnesota, finally getting a shot past Hellebuyck that made it 2-1 midway through the third period.

Hellebuyck was college hockey’s top goalie in 2013-14 and the goaltender on the U.S. team that won a bronze medal in the 2015 world championships.

Minnesota finished with a season-low 15 shots, which was also a season low in shots allowed for the Jets.

Wild fans at the Xcel Energy Center let out a roar when it was announced before the game that Parise would start, but not even his return could spark Minnesota.

After Jason Zucker was whistled for an elbowing penalty behind the net, Perreault took a pass from Byfuglien and zipped it past Devan Dubnyk to give Winnipeg a 1-0 lead with 3:34 left in the second period.

Byfuglien made it 2-0 early in the third when his odd-angle shot hit Dubnyk in the back of the skate and went in for his seventh goal.

Carter’s goal bounced off of Winnipeg defenseman Mark Stuart and past Hellebuyck to give Minnesota some momentum.

The rookie didn’t get rattled, however, stopping a big shot from Jason Pominville with 3:11 to play.

Just 11 seconds later, Ehlers got loose on a breakaway and put the game away.

Winnipeg’s defense came into the game ranked 29th in goals allowed, but had little problem preventing Minnesota from generating quality scoring chances.

The Wild have just one win in their last six games. Parise was Minnesota’s leading scorer when he sprained a knee ligament on Nov. 5.

NOTES: Wild F Justin Fontaine missed his 11th game with a sprained MCL, but has a chance to return for Saturday’s game against Dallas according to coach Mike Yeo. … The Wild went 4-3-1 without Parise. … Jets RW Blake Wheeler had an assist and now has points in 18 of 24 games.

Blackhawks baffle Ducks with late magic; Kane’s streak at 18 games


The Chicago Blackhawks may not be at peak-level right now, but they’re still a tough team to finish off.

For most of Friday’s game, it seemed like the story would be about John Gibson possibly elbowing into the Anaheim Ducks’ No. 1 role, continuing that franchise carousel.

Instead, it was about yet another tremendous comeback for Chicago, as the Blackhawks scored two goals in the final two minutes of the third period to erase a 2-0 deficit. Artem Anisimov than scored the OT GWG.

Stunning stuff … though definitely not unprecedented.

With less than 30 seconds remaining, Patrick Kane grabbed an assist on Duncan Keith‘s 2-2 goal. Kane extended his point streak to 18 games, tying a record for America-born players.

For the Ducks, it’s yet another gut punch, one that makes you wonder how they’d fare in another playoff series against Chicago (if they can even get there … a big if).

Bruce Boudreau is bummed: