Around the rink – Monday, November 15th

So Colin Campbell might be having a bad Monday, but that doesn’t mean you have to have one too. Hold off on sending a profanity-filled e-mail to your co-workers and try not to complain too loudly to your friends about things because you’ve got actual hockey to watch tonight and, damn it, you’re going to enjoy it. All times listed are Eastern because that’s where the NHL home offices are based from.

7:00 pm

New Jersey @ Boston

Boston’s found themselves in a bit of a mini-slump having dropped their last two games and four of their last five games. The Bruins have hit an offensive outage the last couple games but the Devils might be the solution they’re looking for. The Devils are coming off a comeback win over Edmonton, but the Bruins are not the Oilers so the Devils will have to be a lot better to win this game. The Bruins offense will like hearing this bit of statistical news: In five of the last six Devils games, they’ve given up exactly three goals in each game. That one game that was the outlier? They gave up five goals.

Vancouver @ Buffalo

Perhaps the Sabres are getting things turned around. They’ve won three of their last four games, and have gotten seven out of a possible eight points in those games. Not too bad. With Thomas Vanek scoring overtime winners and Ryan Miller back in goal, this could be the start of a run for the Sabres. Having to deal with Vancouver, however, will be their biggest test to date. The Canucks are 2-1-0 so far on their east coast trip and they’ve looked strong against both Ottawa and Toronto. If they’re for real, they can take care of Buffalo. One fun side show to look out for is how the Sabres fans treat Raffi Torres. Torres turned out to be a bust of a pickup last year at the trade deadline and helped make the Sabres stay in the playoffs a short one.

NY Rangers @ Pittsburgh

The Rangers got things right in a big way against Edmonton yesterday but dealing with the Penguins means that life should be a little harder. The Pens are playing better and Marc-Andre Fleury is perhaps getting his own mojo back. Meanwhile, Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin are firing on all cylinders. This could turn out to be a special game if the big performances the Rangers got from Marian Gaborik and Alex Frolov carry over to tonight.

Ottawa @ Philadelphia

So the Senators shutout the Bruins in their last game, meanwhile the Flyers have been an offensive wrecking crew in their last two outings scoring 13 goals in the last two games combined. Does Brian Elliott stay hot for Ottawa and keep the Flyers off the board, or will it be a reality check for the Sens and the Flyers continue to pile up goals? It should be fun to see how things shake out. The sneaky superstar in this game could be Sergei Bobrovsky if he gets the call in net again. He’s been the rock the Flyers have relied on and his steady play seems to be making the rest of the team settle down and feel at ease to open things up. Scary, eh?

8:00 pm

St. Louis @ Colorado

Two injury-riddled teams square off in Denver. The Blues ride in losers of three in a row while the Avs will be looking to bounce back after losing to Detroit on Saturday. After getting off to such a hot start, injuries (and perhaps statistical correction) may have caught up to St. Louis. They weren’t giving up lots of goals during their hot start, but lately it’s been a different story having given up 16 goals in their last three games. To be fair, eight of those came against Columbus. The run-and-gun Avs might give the Blues gimpy defense all they can handle.

10:30 pm

Los Angeles @ San Jose

The potential game of the night comes from out west so if you want to see it, you gotta want to see it if you’re out east. The red-hot Kings roll into San Jose looking to teach their rivals a lesson and let them know that they’re the big shots in the Pacific Division this year. The Kings have won six in a row and they’ve been doing it thanks to stellar goaltending. The Kings are tops in the NHL in goals allowed but the Sharks are no slouches either coming in fifth in that category. During their win streak, the Kings have given up just seven goals. It’s not all snazzy goaltending though, the offense has been stellar as well scoring 21 goals during the six-game streak. Dealing with the Sharks in San Jose won’t be easy, they’re 5-2-1 so far this year at the HP Pavillion at San Jose.

Canada beats US 3-1 in women’s hockey Olympic tuneup

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SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Haley Irwin and Sarah Nurse scored in the second period, sending Canada to a 3-1 victory over the United States on Friday night in the latest Olympic tuneup between the world’s top powers in women’s hockey.

Marie-Philip Poulin also scored for Canada, and Ann-Renee Desbiens made 25 saves.

Brianna Decker opened the scoring for the U.S. with a power-play goal early in the second. Alex Rigsby stopped 33 shots in defeat.

Poulin made it 3-1 with her goal 55 seconds into the third.

It was the fifth of six meetings between the rivals as they prepare for the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea. They play again Sunday night in Edmonton, Alberta.

Canada has won four of the five recent matchups, after the Americans took the series opener Oct. 22 in Quebec City.

”We just have to be better in the red zones – that’s the difference between winning and losing,” United States coach Robb Stauber said. ”We’ll give some focus and energy to some things we think we can do better, and we’re going to go into Edmonton and see what that end result looks like.”

The last four Olympic gold medals in women’s hockey have gone to Canada, but the U.S. has won seven of the past eight world championships.

The Buzzer: Eichel hat trick, Schneider robbery, Gaborik’s 1,000th game

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Players of the Night: 

Jack Eichel, Buffalo Sabres: Eichel ended a four-game goal-less drought with some authority on Friday. After scoring in the first period, Eichel watched as his Sabres blew a 2-1 lead to trail 4-2 with 10 minutes to go. Eichel then turned on overdrive, scoring twice in 10 seconds to tie the game and force overtime. Sadly, his efforts were in vain as the Carolina Hurricanes got the winner 2:15 into the extra frame. It’s Eichel’s first career NHL hat trick.

Brian Boyle, New Jersey Devils: What an inspirational story Boyle has been this year. On Friday, Boyle scored twice, including the game winner, to bring his goal total to eight on the season. His second of the night was also his 100th of his career.

Highlights of the Night:

Eichel showed a good bit of patience on his hat trick goal:

Cory Schneider committed robbery on this save:

Sam Gagner scored on a pretty backhand deke to give the Vancouver Canucks the win in overtime, ending a four-game losing streak:

Factoid of the Night: 

MISC: 

Scores: 

Hurricanes 5, Sabres 4 (OT)

Devils 5, Stars 2

Rangers 4, Kings 2

Red Wings 3, Maple Leafs 1

Canucks 4, Sharks 3 (OT)


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Melnyk threatens to move Senators if ‘disaster strikes’

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If you’re looking for someone to spoil an upcoming function, you may want to give Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk a call.

On the eve of the Senators’ outdoor game against the Montreal Canadiens at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, and on the night when Ottawa’s greats from yesteryear took the ice with Parliament Hill as a backdrop, Melnyk did his best to steal the spotlight from the NHL 100 Classic on Saturday.

Speaking to reporters, Melnyk threatened to pull the plug in Ottawa and relocate the team if disaster struck.

“If it becomes a disaster, yes,” Melnyk said. “If you start not seeing crowds showing up, yes. But, for now, we are on the cusp of doing OK.”

The doom and gloom continued, with Melnyk suggesting he isn’t going to waste a “lifetime of working hard” to support the Senators.

“It’s not going to happen,” he said. “The bigger question is whether I’m prepared to blow all that money I made over many years in a different industry in a different country. How long can you underwrite a team?”

Melnyk reiterated that he’s not looking to sell the team, a statement he made earlier this week in the Ottawa Sun, and used McDonald’s as an example on Friday. 

“It won’t. It just won’t happen,” he said. “It’s a franchise. Imagine if you own a McDonald’s franchise, but you can move it. But why would you sell it? It’s something that’s very difficult to buy.

We’re doing OK here. Not great, but we’re doing OK. It’s just too much fun. What else do you do? I’m a Canadian. I’m a hockey fan, fanatically a hockey fan, and I couldn’t think of anything better to do.”

Melnyk said the Senators have “cut everything to the bone,” saying the Senators have one of the thinnest management groups in the league.

“We want to keep and maintain great players,” he said. “You can’t keep spending at the top end and getting the lowest revenues. It doesn’t work.”

According to CapFriendly, the Senators are at just over $73 million in projected cap space.

Melnyk called the Senators disaster on the ice this season a “crappy streak” that every team goes through.

“We have way too much talent with this team not to perform,” he said.

When asked if his comments on Friday could take away from the luster of the event taking place in Canada’s capital this weekend, Melnyk said no.

“It keeps the newspapers selling and the radio people listening,” he said.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Marian Gaborik plays game No. 1,000 on Friday

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Marian Gaborik has already hit two milestones that end in double zeroes this season.

On Friday night, and at the world’s most famous arena, he hit his first that ends in three.

Gaborik took to the ice at Madison Sqaure Garden in his 1,000th NHL game as the Los Angeles Kings took on the New York Rangers.

It’s not a bad backdrop for the veteran of 19 NHL seasons.

Gaborik played 255 games with the Blueshirts between 2009 and 2013, hitting the 40-goal plateau twice and recording his career-best season in 2009-10, scoring 42 goals and adding 44 helpers for 86 points in 76 games played.

Gaborik has only played 11 games this season after starting the year on the shelf with a knee injury. Gaborik only returned to the lineup on Nov. 24, but he set two milestones in his return, hitting 400 career NHL goals and 800 career NHL points earlier this month.

Coming into Friday’s game, his stat line read 800 points in 999 NHL games.

As Sportsnet’s Mike Johnston points out, perfect symmetry could be achieved if Gaborik finishes with a plus-one in the plus-minus column in the game and he is held without a point.

I’m sure he’d rather have a new puck to add to his mantle… but think of the stats, Marian.

UPDATE: He didn’t think of the stats. 


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck