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Riding the Zamboni – Saturday, November 6th

A loaded night in the NHL means there’s a lot of ice to cover around the league. Here’s how things broke down across the league tonight.

St. Louis 2 – Boston 1 (F/SO)

A great game in Boston that saw Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask have a tremendous goaltender battle. Halak made 33 saves while Rask made 34 as the game was, unfortunately, decided in the shootout where Brad Boyes’ third round goal was the decider. Vladimir Sobotka scored his first of the year against his former team, while Gregory Campbell also scored his first of the year and first in a Bruins uniform.

Buffalo 3 – Toronto 2 (F/SO)

It may have been won in a shootout, but it’s a win nonetheless for the Sabres who desperately needed to break their losing streak. The Sabres overcame a 2-0 hole getting goals from Jochen Hecht and Derek Roy to tie the game up while Tyler Ennis’ goal in the shootout sealed the deal. Jhonas Enroth stood tall in the shootout to earn his first NHL win. The bright spot for Toronto was seeing Mikhail Grabovski score his first goal of the year while Jean-Sebastian Giguere stopped 29 shots.

Ottawa 3 – Montreal 2

Consider the Sens reinvigorated for the time being, and tonight they’ve got former Canadien Alex Kovalev to thank for it. Kovalev had two goals against his former team to lead the way for Ottawa. Carey Price played passably well in goal for Montreal with 28 saves while getting goals from Jaroslav Spacek and Brian Gionta.

Philadelphia 2 – NY Islanders 1

It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win for the Flyers who got goals from Mike Richards and Andreas Nodl in the win. Sergei Bobrovsky was the real story for Philly as he stood on his head all night long stopping 31 shots and allowing only one goal to Matt Moulson to spoil his bid at a shutout.

Carolina 3 – Florida 2

It’s Eric Staal’s world right now and we’re all just living in it. Staal had two goals for the Hurricanes as they held off the Panthers in victory. Jeff Skinner had a goal and an assist as well to pace the Canes. Michal Frolik and Darcy Hordichuk had the goals for Florida. Yes, that Darcy Hordichuk. Cam Ward had a light night in victory, stopping 18 shots in the win.

Chicago 5 – Atlanta 4 (F/SO)

The 2009-2010 Chicago Blackhawks reunion party concluded by having both teams play a little bit longer just for the hell of it and throwing a shootout on top of things. Viktor Stalberg scored the winner in the shootout, all while Ondrej Pavelec was the hard luck loser stopping 36 shots in the loss. Marty Turco did all right for himself stopping 33 shots. Jonathan Toews had two goals and two assists while Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist for Chicago. Three former Blackhawks got points on the night for Atlanta with Dustin Byfuglien, Andrew Ladd, and Ben Eager each getting assists.

Minnesota 3 – Columbus 2

The bloom came off Jackets goalie Mathieu Garon’s rose a bit tonight after seeing his shutout streak broken and taking a loss in the process. Brent Burns had two goals, while Cal Clutterbuck and his amazing mustache scored the game winner. Jose Theodore stole the spotlight away in goal as he made 35 saves for Minnesota, helping show that no matter who the Wild throw in goal, scoring against them will prove to be tough. Garon finished the night with 21 saves in the loss. Rick Nash and Kyle Wilson had the goals for the Jackets.

Colorado 5 – Dallas 0

You could call it a bad night for Dallas. Occasional scratch and former Hobey Baker winner Kevin Porter had two goals for Colorado while Peter Budaj stopped 31 shots in getting his first shutout of the season. Stars goalie Andrew Raycroft had a busy night as he stopped 40 shots despite losing by five goals. The Stars might want to work on tightening up the defense a little. Milan Hejduk, Pascal Dupuis, and Brandon Yip had the other goals for the Avs. Dupuis finished the game with three points.

Pittsburgh 4 – Phoenix 3 (F/SO)

The Penguins started things off badly, giving up two early goals and getting down 2-0 leading to Marc-Andre Fleury being pulled from the game in favor of Brent Johnson. Johnson provided them the stability tonight to get back in the game as Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Chris Kunitz had goals. Rookie Mark Letestu scored the game-winner in the shootout for the Pens. Radim Vrbata, Wojtek Wolski, and Eric Belanger scored for Phoenix while Ilya Bryzgalov made 33 saves in the loss.

Los Angeles 4 – Nashville 1

It turned out to be a special 1,000th game for Ryan Smyth as he had a goal to celebrate the milestone. Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown each had a goal and an assist while Justin Williams had two assists. Rookie Jonathan Bernier had his bid at a shutout spoiled with just under three minutes to play as Shane O’Brien scored his first as a Predator. Bernier finished the game with 25 saves. Pekka Rinne stopped just 18 shots before being pulled in favor of Anders Lindback who stopped all nine shots he saw.

Vancouver 6 – Detroit 4

The Canucks are on fire winning their sixth straight game and taking advantage of a tired Detroit team. Vancouver’s third line did the damage tonight with Manny Malhotra getting two goals and an assist for Vancouver while Jannik Hansen also added a goal while Alex Edler had a goal and an assist. Detroit got two goals from Niklas Kronwall in the loss. Neither Roberto Luongo nor Jimmy Howard looked at all impressive in goal tonight in what amounted to be an exciting up-and-down game.

San Jose 5 – Tampa Bay 2

Patrick Marleau did his job to help make up for not having Joe Thornton in the lineup scoring two goals while Dany Heatley and Logan Couture each had a goal and an assist. Dan Boyle finished with two assists, meanwhile Antero Niittymaki stood tall making 33 saves in the win. Despite the number of goals allowed, Mike Smith played strong for Tampa Bay stopping 34 shots. Steven Stamkos had a goal and an assist while Vincent Lecavalier had two assists for the Lightning.

Looking to make the leap: Daniel Sprong

PITTSBURGH, PA - OCTOBER 15:  Daniel Sprong #41 of the Pittsburgh Penguins handles the puck in front of Kyle Turris #7 of the Ottawa Senators during the game at Consol Energy Center on October 15, 2015 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
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This is part of Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT…

Daniel Sprong was stuck in a difficult position during the 2015-16 season.

He ended up being just one of eight players from the 2015 draft to play in the NHL, spending the first two months of the season in Pittsburgh after earning a spot on the roster thanks to an impressive training camp and preseason performance. But once there the Penguins really didn’t seem to know what to do with him. He showed flashes of the talent that earned him a spot on the roster, but it was also clear that his play away from the puck needed work and that he never completely had the trust of then-coach Mike Johnston.

If he was not a healthy scratch, he was only playing limited minutes.

But because he was only 18 years old, he was not eligible to play in the American Hockey League during the regular season due to the AHL-CHL transfer agreement.

That meant if he wasn’t going to play in Pittsburgh, a league that was probably a little too advanced for him at the time, he had to return to the QMJHL to play for his junior team, the Charlottetown Islanders, in a league that he was probably too good for. It’s an agreement that works great for the CHL, but doesn’t really give prospects the best chance to develop that season because their only options are a league where they are overmatched or a league where they are probably the best player on the ice every time they go over the boards.

Eventually, the Penguins were left with little choice and did in fact return him to the Q where he, quite predictably, dominated the competition and recorded 46 points in 33 games.

At the conclusion of Charlottetown’s season, he was able to play for the Penguins’ AHL team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton during the playoffs where he scored five goals and added two assists in only 10 games.

The problem he is going to face this season is that the Penguins’ forward group is already mostly locked in at the start as they are returning everybody from their Stanley Cup winning roster, which is going to make things tight for somebody new to break into the lineup.

But Sprong is clearly the team’s best forward prospect at the moment and one of the few players in the system that seems to have top-six potential. Whether it’s through his own play forcing his way into NHL action or an injury, he should have an opportunity to be a factor at some point this season.

‘He’s earned it’ — Jets name Wheeler new captain

CALGARY, AB - MARCH 16: Blake Wheeler #26 of the Winnipeg Jets in action against the Calgary Flames during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 16, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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It was widely assumed that Blake Wheeler would inherit Andrew Ladd‘s captaincy in Winnipeg and, on Wednesday, the club made it official.

Wheeler, 30, will become the second player to captain the Jets since the franchise moved from Atlanta in 2011, with Dustin Byfuglien and Mark Scheifele serving as alternates.

The Wheeler decision was something of a no-brainer, as he’s one of the club’s longest tenured player (seven seasons and counting), spending the the last three as one of Ladd’s alternate captains.

In the summer of ’13, Wheeler inked a six-year, $33.6 million extension with the Jets and has since established himself as one of the clubhouse leaders. He was a prominent voice during the Evander Kane saga, mincing no words when explaining what was expected of Jets players.

“There’s a standard that everyone needs to live up to,” Wheeler said, per the Sun. “We’re professionals, we make a lot of money. And we’re expected to uphold a certain standard. That’s the code we live by.

“If you don’t like it then there’s other places to go. This is the way we do things.”

Flyers unveil golden 50th anniversary jerseys

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It might seem inappropriate to release Flyers news on Pittsburgh Penguins day at PHT but, given the immediate backlash to said news, maybe it’s appropriate after all.

On Wednesday, the Flyers unveiled their commemorative 50th anniversary jerseys, which are basically regular Flyers jerseys, but with some gold on them.

Not sure what else to say. They’re gold. Guess it’s worth mentioning the inside collar of each jersey is emblazoned with “EST. 1967,” an homage to the year the Flyers entered the NHL as an expansion franchise.

Oh yeah, Philly will wear the new third jersey 12 times this season, per TSN.

Shortly after the release, the Internet went ahead and did what it does:

For more on the jerseys, click here.

Stars promote White, Janko to assistant GM roles

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 25: Jim Nill of the Detroit Red Wings works the draft floor during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center on June 25, 2010 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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The Dallas Stars made some front office adjustments on Wednesday.

Longtime executive Les Jackson, 63, has been “elevated” from his role as Jim Nill’s assistant GM to “senior advisor to the general manager” while Scott White, the GM of Dallas’ AHL affiliate in Texas, has been promoted to AGM.

White will work alongside fellow new AGM Mark Janko, who was promoted from his role as the club’s director of hockey administration.

What does it all mean?

Not a ton, though it’s interesting to note the club is shifting Jackson’s role after he was close to taking the Arizona gig earlier this year.

Jackson was believed to be the original frontrunner to replace the outgoing Don Maloney but, after he and the Coyotes were unable to strike a deal, the club proceeded to hire 26-year-old John Chayka, the youngest GM in NHL history.