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.

PHT’s second-round playoff predictions, featuring the red-hot Random Thing Picker

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It was a tough first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs for many of the so-called experts of the world.

Upsets included the Predators over the Blackhawks and the Blues over the Wild. The Rangers over the Canadiens was a quasi-upset, too.

Here at PHT, it was a mixed bag. Mike Halford and Cam Tucker each went an impressive 6-2. And so too did the Random Thing Picker, which as its name suggests, picks random things. (And picks them rather well, apparently.)

Of note, the Random Thing Picker and James O’Brien were the only ones to pick the Preds over the ‘Hawks. So congratulations to both robotic lifeforms on that bit of soothsaying.

Rounding out the rest of the first-round results, Adam Gretz and Joey Alfieri went 4-4, while at 3-5, O’Brien and yours truly couldn’t even crack .500. (Stupid Jake Allen.)

On to the second round!

Washington versus Pittsburgh (Stream Capitals-Penguins)

Brough: Capitals in 7
Halford: Penguins in 6
O’Brien: Capitals in 7
Gretz: Capitals in 7
Tucker: Capitals in 6
Alfieri: Capitals in 7
Random Thing Picker: Capitals

New York versus Ottawa (Stream Rangers-Senators)

Brough: Senators in 6
Halford: Senators in 7
O’Brien: Rangers in 7
Gretz: Rangers in 6
Tucker: Rangers in 6
Alfieri: Senators in 6
Random Thing Picker: Senators

St. Louis versus Nashville (Stream Blues-Predators)

Brough: Predators in 6
Halford: Blues in 7
O’Brien: Predators in 6
Gretz: Predators in 6
Tucker: Predators in 7
Alfieri: Predators in 6
Random Thing Picker: Blues

Anaheim versus Edmonton (Stream Ducks-Oilers)

Brough: Ducks in 7
Halford: Ducks in 6
O’Brien: Ducks in 6
Gretz: Oilers in 7
Tucker: Oilers in 6
Alfieri: Ducks in 6
Random Thing Picker: Ducks

Feel free to add your picks below…

Auston Matthews to skip Worlds

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Auston Matthews is going to take some time off.

As such, the 19-year-old star forward won’t be heading overseas to represent the United States in the upcoming World Championship.

You can hardly blame him. Matthews just finished his rookie season in the NHL, playing all 82 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, plus six more in the playoffs.

Oh, and he also played in the World Cup for Team North America.

Matthews did participate in last year’s Worlds. He had six goals and three assists in 10 games on the way to a fourth-place finish.

Related: Gaudreau, Eichel commit to USA Worlds roster

Blackhawks fire their AHL head coach

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Yesterday, the Chicago Blackhawks fired longtime assistant coach Mike Kitchen.

Today, it was longtime AHL coach Ted Dent who got the ax.

Dent has been the head coach of the Rockford IceHogs the past six seasons, and he was an assistant coach for Chicago’s AHL affiliate the previous five seasons.

“The Chicago Blackhawks thank Ted for all of his contributions throughout his tenure with the organization,” GM Stan Bowman said. “He played a major role in helping a number of players reach the NHL level with the Chicago Blackhawks, many of whom became Stanley Cup champions. We wish Ted and his family the best.”

The IceHogs missed the playoffs this season, finishing last in the AHL’s Central Division with a record of 25-39-12.

Related: A furious Bowman addressed the Blackhawks’ postseason failure

Report: Canucks close to naming Travis Green head coach

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The Vancouver Canucks are reportedly set to announce Travis Green as their next head coach.

According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, the announcement will be made in the next couple of days.

Green, who played over 1,000 games in the NHL including the playoffs, has been the head coach of the Canucks’ AHL affiliate in Utica the past four seasons. Under his watch, the Comets have played mostly winning hockey in spite of some rather depleted lineups.

Ever since Willie Desjardins was fired at the end of the season, Green has been the leading candidate to take over in Vancouver. The only question, really, was whether he’d be a candidate for another NHL head-coaching vacancy, perhaps with the Florida Panthers.

Assuming no last-minute hiccups, Green will take over a transitioning Canucks team that has finished 28th and 29th overall in its last two seasons, respectively.

“We’re going to be young,” president of hockey ops Trevor Linden said. “Young players make mistakes. There’s going to be some growing pains. We need a coach that understands exactly where we are.”

Related: In farewell to Vancouver, Desjardins defends his approach to young players