Manny Malhotra pushes Vancouver past Minnesota 5-1

Vancouver 5, Minnesota 1

I’ve always been a big fan of Manny Malhotra but it’s admittedly for a pretty dumb reason: he is awesome at faceoffs in video games. In fact, once Rod Brind’amour retired – the Michelangelo of polygonal puck draws – Malhotra took the mantle as the best FO guy in the digital realm. (At least on NHL ’11.)

But one thing I’ve been keenly aware of is that Malhotra is rarely placed on the ice for his offensive acumen. The former New York Rangers first round draft pick put together a fantastic flourish of scoring last night, though, putting up a two goal, one assist performance against the woeful Minnesota Wild.

Canucks backup Cory Schneider nearly earned a shutout in this one, but he allowed an Antti Miettinen goal with two and a half minutes left in the game. Christian Ehrhoff must have had a four leaf clover in his skates as he was on the ice for every Vancouver goal, earning a +5 rating in this game.

One thing worth noting, though, is how night and day the Canucks are at home vs. the road. Vancouver moved to 3-0 at home and are 0-3-1 on the road. If they want to justify all of that Stanley Cup hype, they need to bring the same kind of efforts away from their friendly confines.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock
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Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Blue Jackets’ Wennberg done for night with upper-body injury

Alexander Wennberg, Jay Bouwmeester
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It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?

OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.

Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.

There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:

Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.