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Riding the Zamboni – Sunday, November 14th

Another lightly scheduled Sunday in the NHL. We’re glad to see everyone get out of the way so we could relax so nicely on a Sunday evening. Well, that is unless you’re the Oilers and Rangers who might be icing down tonight after duking it out this afternoon.

NY Rangers 8 – Edmonton 2

A hat trick from Marian Gaborik, two goals from Alexander Frolov, and a non-busy night for Martin Biron helped make this one a laugher for the Rangers. The Oilers, again, struggled defensively making mistakes both rookie and veteran alike. Oh yeah, and things got a bit ugly in the third with a full-on line brawl erupting when Sean Avery got a jump on fighting Ladislav Smid and virtually the rest of the Oilers disagreed with that. The loss is the fourth straight for Edmonton and things are getting out of control quickly for the young Oilers.

Washington 6 – Atlanta 4

A weird, back-and-forth game between these rivals ended up being decided late in the third period thanks to a goal by none other than tough defenseman John Erskine. Oh sure Alex Ovechkin, Alex Semin, and Mike Green also got on the board for the Caps, but it was Erskine’s slap shot in the third that proved to decide the game. Bryan Little had two goals for Atlanta in a losing effort. The Caps win gets them a nice bounce back after losing to Buffalo in overtime last night. On a side note, John Erskine and Eric Boulton had one of the best fights we’ve seen this year.

Minnesota 4 – Tampa Bay 1

Safe to say that Tampa Bay is officially struggling, although to be fair, dealing with the kind of goaltending the Wild have going for them you could almost understand. Niklas Backstrom made 37 saves to earn the win for the Wild, meanwhile Martin Havlat notched three assists as the Wild got goals from Cal Clutterbuck, Eric Nystrom, John Madden, and Antti Miettinen. Martin St. Louis had Tampa Bay’s lone goal while Dan Ellis only stopped 14 of 17 shots he saw.

Chicago 3 – Anaheim 2 (F/OT)

Viktor Stalberg’s overtime goal helped lift the Blackhawks and snap the Ducks’ six-game winning streak all at once. Marian Hossa came through with a solid game as well for Chicago with a goal and an assist. Meanwhile, Corey Crawford got the win in giving Marty Turco a night off. Crawford stopped 24 shots in the win. The one guy he couldn’t stop was Corey Perry who scored both Anaheim goals. Jonas Hiller was the hard-luck loser after stopping 40 shots.

Habs’ win was a showcase for P.K. Subban, Connor McDavid

Montreal Canadiens defensemen  P.K. Subban (76) holds off Edmonton Oilers' Connor McDavid during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Montreal, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (Graham Hughes /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Times have been tough for Montreal Canadiens and Edmonton Oilers fans lately, even if they’ve been frustrating in different ways.

Saturday’s 5-1 Habs win highlights a few things, but the most tantalizing thought for those fans is that it’s likely that we’ll see more great things from P.K. Subban and Connor McDavid … sometimes against each other.

Perhaps this will be a confidence booster for Montreal. More than anything else, it directed attention to Subban, who’s quietly been absolutely fantastic for the floundering Canadiens.

Consider how much of an offensive burden he’s currently carrying:

From one current All-Star to someone who could be a perennial one: McDavid certainly seemed to grab Subban’s attention.

Then again, when you make moves like these, who won’t notice?

The Oilers did lose, mind you, so it’s not surprising that Todd McLellan mentioned that the team can’t depend upon McDavid for everything.

That said, the funny thing about that quote is that McDavid might just carry the Oilers for two decades, at least if health and other factors go the right way.

If that’s true, Subban vs. McDavid could be a fun matchup to watch a few times per season for a long, long time.

Rangers beat Flyers in a shootout, but lose McDonagh

Philadelphia Flyers goalie Steve Mason, left, looks towards New York Rangers' T.J. Miller, center rear, as his teammates finish celebrating Miller's goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan 16, 2016 in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Tom Mihalek)
Associated Press
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The New York Rangers got a big divisional win on Saturday afternoon, but it came at a price.

Captain Ryan McDonagh was knocked out of the game after he took a sucker-punch from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds.

McDonagh wasn’t innocent here. He delivered a cross-check to Simmonds’ head moments before the punch.

To watch the entire sequence, click here.

Getting back to the game…

With the Flyers leading 2-1 in the dying moments of the game, defenseman Keith Yandle beat Steve Mason to force overtime.

Philadelphia’s struggles continued in the shootout.

They missed on both their attempts (Sam Gagner and Claude Giroux) while the Rangers converted on both their attempts (Mats Zuccarello and Derek Stepan).

After the game, both sides addressed the Simmonds/McDonagh incident.

It’ll be interesting to see how the NHL’s Department of Player Safety handles this situation. Both McDonagh and Simmonds are at fault here, but Simmonds’ action caused an injury.

The shootout loss puts an end to Philadelphia’s three-game winning streak. The Flyers are three points behind the Red Wings for the final Wild Card spot in the East.

Capitals’ Carey ties it late before Ovechkin beats Devils in the shootout

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The 2015-16 Washington Capitals always seem to find a way to get the job done.

That’s exactly what they did in Saturday’s matinee against the New Jersey Devils.

The Capitals opened the scoring when Andrei Burakovsky beat Cory Schneider in the second period, but the Devils answered with back-to-back goals by Joseph Blandisi and Adam Henrique.

Washington got the game-tying goal from an unlikely source as Paul Carey scored his first career goal with under six minutes remaining in regulation.

In overtime, Ovechkin dished out this huge hit:

And in typical Ovechkin fashion, he finished the game off in the shootout (top of the page).

The Caps have now won back-to-back games and they remain 15 points ahead of the Rangers, who beat Philadelphia 3-2 in a shootout this afternoon, with two games in hand.

For the Devils, the loser point allows them to move ahead of the Islanders for third place in the Metropolitan division, but New York still has four games in hand.

Here’s an updated look at the division standings:

division

Video: Flyers’ Simmonds gets tossed for sucker-punch after retaliating to McDonagh’s cross-check

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Some rough stuff in Saturday’s matinee between the New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers.

Wayne Simmonds was thrown out of the game after he punched Ryan McDonagh.

As you can see from the video at the top of the page, McDonagh nails Simmonds with a cross-check to the head before the Flyers forward went after him.

McDonagh left the game with a possible concussion.

Here’s how the referees handed out the penalties:

penalties

Simmonds received a five-minute major and was tossed from the game while McDonagh received two separate two-minute penalties.

The Rangers were unable to score on the ensuing power play, and that’s when more weird stuff happened.

Here’s how the New York Daily News described the moments after the penalty expired:

The Rangers were already upset with Simmonds’ sucker punch, but then Alain Vigneault lost his mind all over again at the end of the Rangers’ unsuccessful power play: The Flyers had forgotten to put a player in the penalty box, with Simmonds having been sent off.

Illegally, during the flow of play, forward Jake Voracek just jumped off Philly’s bench as the power play expired and was sprung on a breakaway. Lundqvist made the save but the Rangers were flabbergasted at the officials’ lack of control or apparent knowledge of the rule book, which would require the Flyers in that situation to wait until a whistle to put their fifth man back on the ice.

By the way, the referees for this game are Dave Lewis and Kelly Sutherland.