Buffalo Sabres v New Jersey Devils

After his shootout super failure, Ilya Kovalchuk looks on the bright side of life

If you somehow managed to miss it last night, Devils super paid super star Ilya Kovalchuk had himself a bad night last night. Kovalchuk’s turn came up in the shootout against the Buffalo Sabres and, well, things did not go very well at all as he lost the puck on his way towards the net.

Kovalchuk’s flubbed attempt ended the game and the Sabres won in the shootout. If you’re thinking that he would take such a goofy and head-smackingly bad loss to heart you’d be wrong as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice finds out from the man himself.

“It’s all history,” Kovalchuk said. “Today the sun is up and everything is good. We have a game tomorrow and we have to win it because we haven’t gotten a win at home yet and that’s embarrassing.”

Kovalchuk admitted that he “definitely” was the most frustrated he has been after Wednesday’s game.

“It seems like nothing goes my way right now,” Kovalchuk said. “But, like I said last night, you just have to work hard and do the same things. I’ve been through those situations before, so you just have to keep working and the chances will go in.”

That’s a dangerously emo-like comment from Kovalchuk but you can’t exactly blame the guy. Sure, if you’re the cynical type, you’ll point to all the millions of dollars he makes and say that that should make him feel better but when this is your life, losing is hard especially when you’re counted on heavily to be the guy to provide the spark to win. Then again, perhaps he’s just a really big fan of the closing scene of “Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.”

I know it doesn’t seem likely right now with all the injuries the Devils have and the terrible play out of their defense, but the Devils will get this turned around and Kovalchuk will find his groove… Eventually. He’s got three goals and five assists and is a -7 through 15 games with the Devils. Things can, and will, get better for him but for now it just flat out sucks for both him and the team. The Devils can get it turned around but until that happens, maybe just whistling a certain tune will give the Devils some zen treatment and they can stop putting the death grip on their sticks during the game. Or even the shootout.

Fights, hits and a blown kiss: Stars and Blues get nasty

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Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.

They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.

Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.

Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.

You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:

Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.

Read about that blowout here.

Blues bombard Stars, go up 2-1 in series

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Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.

Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”

It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.

The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.

This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.

Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.

On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.

We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.

Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.

Predators smash Sharks to get back in series

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After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.

Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.

The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.

Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.

Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:

Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.

Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.

Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.

Stars’ goalie carousel goes around again: Lehtonen replaces Niemi

Dallas Stars goalie Antti Niemi (31) subs in for goalie Kari Lehtonen (32) during the third period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2015, in Dallas. The Stars won 6-5. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.

After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.

Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:

Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.

The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.