Riding the Zamboni – Tuesday, November 9th

Let’s take a look at a heavy night of NHL action, with seven games played.

Carolina 7, Edmonton 1

It was a game that was alternately hyped as a matchup between hot-streaking rookies (Carolina’s Jeff Skinner vs. Edmonton’s Big Three) or a “rematch” of two teams that have become wildly different since their seven-game Stanley Cup finals series. Instead, it was an outright blowout (although Skinner played well, scoring one goal and two assists) as the Hurricanes dismantled the Oilers. Eric Staal also produced a great game, assisting on four of those goals.

Nikolai Khabibulin won the Save of the Week, but he didn’t make many tonight as he was pulled after allowing four goals on only eight shots. Cam Ward earned the win by stopping 21 out of 22 shots.

Ottawa 5, Atlanta 2

As I mentioned earlier, the Senators are starting to resemble the team they were last season: a group that alternated between being ice-cold and red-hot. Right now, they are in that hot cycle, winning four in a row. Jason Spezza (two goals, one assist) and Brian Elliott (35 out of 37 saves) were the leaders … kind of like last season, too.

Tampa Bay 4, Toronto 0

Steve Stamkos is just a flat-out machine. He scored two goals to increase his league leading total to 13 while Dan Ellis increased his grip on the starting job in Tampa, pitching a 28-save shutout.

Washington 5, NY Rangers 3

It was a strange one, with unexpected fights (Mike Green vs. Brandon Dubinsky) and even more unexpected goals (a beauty by Derek Boogaard, his first in 234 games). The one thing that was predictable: the outcome. The Capitals came back from a 3-2 deficit to win the game 5-3 on the strength of a one goal, one assist performance by Matt Hendricks (including the game-winner).

Montreal 2, Vancouver 0

Carey Price was the star of this show, stopping all 35 shots on goal from the Canucks. Perhaps it makes sense, then, that the only players to score goals were Montreal defensemen: Andrei Markov and Roman Hamrlik. The highlight of the night was probably the third period, when Price stopped 20 shots.

Calgary 4, Colorado 2

The Flames ended their four-game losing streak by beating their division rivals from Colorado. They won despite the fact that Chris Stewart scored his 10th goal of the season – and the 100th point of his career – to give the Avs a 2-1 lead. David Moss earned the game-winner and also added an assist to help Calgary win the game.

Anaheim 3, San Jose 2 (OT)

Sharks fans might have some bad flashbacks from this summary: San Jose out-shoots the Ducks drastically, yet Anaheim pulls out the victory thanks to superlative goaltending from Jonas Hiller. The Swiss goalie stopped 39 out of 41 shots to help the Ducks win their fourth consecutive game.

And all of sudden, Randy Carlyle’s seat might just be room temperature again.

Crosby: Penguins ‘probably deserved better’ vs. Senators in Game 6

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If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.

The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.

Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?

Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.

” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.

That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.

Anderson puzzles Penguins as Senators force Game 7

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Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?

The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.

The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.

The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.

Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.

With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.

Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.

You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.

Report: Avalanche get permission to speak with Leafs assistant GM Dubas

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Could one of the most hapless possession teams of this more analytics-leaning era nab arguably the most promising analytics-leaning executive in the NHL?

It’s a reasonable question, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Colorado Avalanche asked for and received permission to speak to Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.

Current GM Joe Sakic recently got a vote of confidence and also cleaned out some of the coaching staff around Jared Bednar, so this is certainly a time of change for the Avalanche.

It will be interesting to see what kind of role Dubas would receive if he did join the fold in Colorado. Would he still be considered an assistant GM, only with more sway with what would likely be a smaller group of decision-makers? Could we see Sakic move up and give Dubas the full GM title (or eventually transition that role to the young upstart)? Might there be some other factor that would qualify as a more “outside the box” idea?

One thing seems clear: the Avalanche might want to be decisive, as demand could be significant for Dubas if he’s even somewhat on the market.

This could be interesting, especially if you’re a nerd for team-building storylines.

Video: Senators score twice to take 2-1 lead in Game 6

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The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

Update: Mike Hoffman‘s booming shot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead in the third. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can tie it up.