Alexander Semin, Chris Mason

Nightly recap – Saturday, October 23rd

A busy night around the NHL and we’ll take you around faster than Doc Brown’s DeLorean can get you to the year 2015. Either guys were lighting it up with hat tricks, or shutting it down via shutout in goal. It was just one of those nights.

Washington 4 – Atlanta 3 (F/OT)

An up and down game for both teams saw the Caps come out on top in overtime. Alex Semin scored a natural hat trick for the Caps, meanwhile Tomas Fleischmann scored the game-winner in OT. Evander Kane did everything in his power to lead Atlanta scoring a pair of goals of his own.

NY Rangers 3 – Boston 2

Tuukka Rask got his first start in two weeks and… It looked like he hadn’t played in two weeks, something the Rangers were happy to take advantage of getting goals from Artem Anisimov, Alex Frolov, and Marc Staal. Henrik Lundqvist was stellar stopping 35 in the win. Zdeno Chara and Nathan Horton had the goals for Boston.

Montreal 3 – Ottawa 0

Andrei Kostitsyn carried the offense for the Habs netting two goals, meanwhile it wasn’t a bad night to be Carey Price as he lead the way for Montreal with a 19-save shutout.  Brian Elliott stopped 31 shots in the loss for Ottawa who continues to struggle.

Buffalo 6 – New Jersey 1

It was just a bad night for New Jersey who saw their horrible on-ice performance overshadowed by Ilya Kovalchuk being scratched from the lineup by head coach John MacLean. Meanwhile, the Sabres on a roll getting two goals from Thomas Vanek and goals each from Patrick Kaleta, Tyler Myers, Drew Stafford, and Tyler Ennis. Devils starter Johan Hedberg was chased in the second period after giving up four goals on 13 shots.

Philadelphia 5 – Toronto 2

Another tough game for the Maple Leafs in what could be a breakout game for the Flyers. Five different scorers got on the board for Philly while the Leafs own inability to handle the puck kept them from getting things going. Mike Richards broke out of his goalless slump for Philly, meanwhile Clarke MacArthur scored his sixth goal of the year for Toronto.

Florida 4 – NY Islanders 3

The Islanders got everything they could ask for out of John Tavares as he had a hat trick, but the Panthers stayed strong despite his best efforts to foil them. Four different Panthers got on the board but it was Radek Dvorak who netted the game-winner late in the third.

Detroit 5 – Anaheim 4

A wild, back-and-forth game in Detroit saw the Wings come out on top thanks to Pavel Datsyuk’s late third period snipe with 12 seconds left to play to decide the game. Expect there to be some talk about another big hit from Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall who leveled Teemu Selanne early in the game with a hit being looked at as questionable. Selanne wasn’t hurt on the play and Kronwall wasn’t penalized, but Anaheim players aren’t happy with the play. Henrik Zetterberg had two goals for Detroit in the win.

St. Louis 1 – Pittsburgh 0 (F/OT)

Jaroslav Halak was the hero of the night for St. Louis pitching a 31-save shutout to beat the Penguins. Pittsburgh has had about their fill of Halak after it was Halak and the Canadiens who knocked them out of the playoffs in the second round in seven games. We’re sure they’re happy he’s taking up residence in the Western Conference now. Erik Johnson scored the game-winning goal 50 seconds into overtime to win it for the Blues. Brent Johnson did his part in goal for Pittsburgh stopping 23 in the loss.

Nashville 1 – Dallas 0

Cal O’Reilly scored 42 seconds into the game and that’s all the Predators would need to beat Dallas. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, was outstanding stopping 30 shots in earning the shutout. Kari Lehtonen stopped 23 shots in the loss for Dallas.

Columbus 3 – Chicago 2

The Blue Jackets were able to overcome an early 2-0 Chicago lead to take out the Blackhawks. The Jackets saw the game turn when Troy Brouwer took a five-minute major for boarding late in the second period. The penalty came just seven seconds after Derick Brassard got Columbus on the board for the first time. Early in the third with the man advantage, R.J. Umberger tipped home a shot to tie the game at 2-2 and Columbus turned that momentum into victory when Antoine Vermette scored his first goal of the year. Steve Mason stopped 30 shots in the win while Corey Crawford stopped 37 in the loss.

Los Angeles 6 – Colorado 4

A wild and somewhat ugly game that saw Colorado’s Scott Hannan leave the game with a head injury in the second period, L.A.’s Wayne Simmonds get a game misconduct in the third for a butt-ending major penalty, and L.A.’s Brad Richardson netting a hat trick to lead the Kings to victory. Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk had two goals each for Colorado, meanwhile Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown, and Alexei Ponikarovsky also scored for the Kings.

Carolina 4 – Phoenix 3 (F/OT)

The Hurricanes continue to play the role of road warriors, this time taking out the Coyotes in Glendale. Anton Babchuk’s tip-in goal in overtime gave the Hurricanes the victory. It wasn’t all easy though as the Hurricanes did lead 3-0 at one point. Kyle Turris lead the charge for Phoenix scoring twice and assisting on Scottie Upshall’s goal that made it 3-3. The game made it to overtime thanks to the big play of Phoenix’s Ilya Bryzgalov who saved 37 shots in the loss. Cam Ward was pretty good too stopping 36 shots in the win.

San Jose 6 – Edmonton 1

The Oilers thought they were off to a good start when Jordan Eberle scored shorthanded just 1:22 into the game, but things went downhill fast after that. Dany Heatley scored late in the first to tie it and the Sharks wore down Edmonton from that point on with Joe Pavelski leading the charge with a goal and two assists. Joe Thornton had three assists for San Jose as well.

Trade talk: Who Oilers might deal, Eric Staal in limbo

Carolina Hurricanes center Eric Staal (12) celebrates his second-period goal with teammates, including his brother Jordan Staal, second from left, during an NHL hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. The Penguins won 5-2. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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As has often been the case, some big trades have already happened before the hype-soaked Feb. 29 deadline, but there’s plenty of speculation regarding what might happen next.

TSN’s Insider Trading segment is always a must-watch, so check it out right here.

To reiterate, the video’s worth watching in full, but here are some highlights:

  • The Edmonton Oilers shine as one of the most obvious “sellers.” Teddy Purcell could be a nice supplementary piece, yet Pierre LeBrun rightly points to Justin Schultz as the most interesting name.

He’s really received just about every chance you can ask for in Edmonton, but LeBrun notes that his confidence is “shot.” Schultz is a pricey guy to take on thanks to his qualifying rights; still, some team might believe that they can make that reclamation project work.

  • Andrew Ladd seems to be in limbo with the Winnipeg Jets, as it sounds like there’s the possibility of an extension or a trade.
  • Eric Staal‘s situation is murky, too. Bob McKenzie points out that Staal has control of his situation with no-trade/no-movement clauses, so he can dictate his future with (or without) the Carolina Hurricanes.
  • An interesting opinion raised by LeBrun: Mikkel Boedker‘s maybe the No. 1 rental forward.

Darren Dreger reports that Boedker is looking for a six-year deal with a $5.5 million cap hit (which would be $33 million), whether that comes from the Arizona Coyotes or someone else.

***

Again, watch the full video, as a lot of names and teams are discussed. Plenty of things can happen, but we’ll ultimately need to wait and see.

Brian Elliott’s been steady for up-and-down Blues

St. Louis Blues goalie Brian Elliott (1) lunges to make a save against the Nashville Predators during the first period Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2014, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Sanford Myers)
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ST. LOUIS (AP) Brian Elliott is on a roll. Too bad the St. Louis Blues have little to show for it.

During a prolonged scoring slump, the veteran goalie’s play has bordered on spectacular. He has seized the opportunity since Jake Allen was sidelined by a knee injury in early January.

The 30-year-old Elliott has allowed one or fewer goals in regulation and overtime in five of his last seven starts, a run that has put him among the NHL’s best with a 2.07 goals-against average and .932 save percentage on the season.

“Fantastic,” captain David Backes said after Elliott’s latest standout effort in a 2-1 shootout loss to Winnipeg on Tuesday. “You can’t complain about our goaltending, that’s for dang sure.”

“Our goalie was our best player again. Played great,” coach Ken Hitchcock said.

The rest of the team is in the doldrums, and the bottom line is the Blues have lost four of six. The Blues have scored no more than one goal in five of their last six.

Hitchcock said the offense didn’t work nearly hard enough to sustain chances against the Jets, then put his players through a rigorous workout the next day to drive home the point. The defense is adjusting to expanded roles without Alex Pietrangelo, who is among the league leaders in minutes played but will be sidelined at least three weeks with a right knee injury.

Elliott describes Pietrangelo as the type of player who “stick handles in a phone booth” to get the puck out of the zone.

“Umm, we have some work to do,” Hitchcock said. “It’s pretty obvious.”

Elliott has thrived with a heavy work load and is set to make his 13th consecutive start on Friday at Florida. Last year, Elliott was an All-Star.

“It’s fun, it’s awesome,” Elliott said. “It’s why you play, to play the game and not to watch.”

Before relieving Allen on Jan. 8 in the second period at Anaheim, Elliott had played just three games in the previous 14. There was no question who was No. 1.

Whenever Allen returns, it’s liable to be more of a job share.

“You try not to think about the past and the future, you just focus on the present,” Elliott said. “I don’t really look at the stats, I just keep trying to be the rock back there for the guys.”

The last week or so, the 25-year-old Allen has been jumping into the latter stages of practices. Hitchcock said there’ll be something to talk about when he’s a full participant.

The team is hoping injecting Jaden Schwartz will help revive the offense. The speedy forward was third on the team with 63 points last season but has played just seven games this season and is coming off a 49-game layoff from a broken left ankle heading into Friday’s game.

“It doesn’t matter how many goals we score, you want to keep as many as you can out of your own net,” Allen said. “Obviously, we haven’t had a good amount of goals the last few games but we’re still coming out with some points.”

Despite the scoring drought, the Blues have kept themselves in the vanguard, picking up at least a point in 12 of the last 15 games. Nine of them have been decided by a single goal.

“Good teams get through tough situations,” Elliott said. “When things start clicking we’re going to be a dangerous team.”

Jackets sign d-man Murray to two-year, $5.65 million extension

Ryan Murray
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Columbus has agreed to terms with young blueliner Ryan Murray on a two-year, $5.65 million extension, the club announced on Thursday.

“Ryan Murray is a talented, smart player who has been a very steady performer on our blue line and we are extremely happy to have this deal completed,” Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “Ryan has earned more ice time, showed steady improvement and contributed in all situations for us throughout the season.

“We look forward to his continued growth and development with our club.”

Murray, 22, was the second overall pick at the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, taken one spot behind Nail Yakupov. While the first few years of his career were a disappointment — Murray missed a boatload of time to various injuries — his ’15-16 campaign has been a step in the right direction.

Murray has four goals and and 17 points in 55 games this season, sitting third on the team in TOI per game (22:27).

Of those numbers, the 55 games played is perhaps the most important, as it makes Murray one of three Blue Jackets – Boone Jenner and Gregory Campbell are the others – to have played in every game this season.

Considering Murray’s previous career-high for games played in a season is 66, he’s well on his way to breaking that mark.

Originally slated to become a restricted free agent on July 1, Murray is now locked in with Columbus (at $2.825M annually) through 2018. Of all the club’s blueliners, only he, Fedor Tyutin and Jack Johnson are signed for that long.

NHL confirms ’17 Draft for Chicago, an ‘ideal setting’

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 18:  Owner and Chairman Rocky Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks prepares to speak to the crowd during the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Rally at Soldier Field on June 18, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Well, it’s official — the NHL Entry Draft is coming to the Windy City for the first time.

On Thursday, the league announced that Chicago and the United Center would play hosts to the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, marking the first time in league history the ‘Hawks organization has hosted the event.

“The energy and passion Chicago has for the Blackhawks makes United Center the ideal setting for the 2017 NHL Draft,” NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. “The Draft will be one of the central moments of our Centennial, and the NHL family is looking forward to bringing this signature event to Chicago for the first time.”

Though it’s still far off — heck, the 2016 draft, which will be held in Buffalo this June, hasn’t even happened yet — the ’17 draft already has a few key names attached to it.

Chief among them is WHL Brandon forward Nolan Patrick, the son of ex-NHLer Steve Patrick.

Nolan, 17, scored 56 points in 55 games for the Wheat Kings in his first full campaign, capturing the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s rookie of the year.

He’s expected to be one of the top players selected in ’17, as is Timothy Liljegren, a defenseman currently plying his trade with Rogle in the Swedish Hockey League.