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Riding the Zamboni – Wednesday November 17th (early edition)

Let’s take a look at nine of today’s 12 games, shall we?

Pittsburgh 3, Vancouver 1

Sidney Crosby scored his 13th goal, the Penguins’ sellout streak hit the three-million person mark and Pittsburgh might just have something going all of a sudden.

Washington 4, Buffalo 2

Well, the Sabres’ run of overtime games had to end sometime, right? Most people wouldn’t have been surprised if they found out that one of the league’s hottest goalies played in this game, but few would have expected that we’d be talking about Michal Neuvirth, not Ryan Miller.

Boston 3, NY Rangers 2

Tim Thomas helped the Bruins earn the win in this one, stopping 34 out of 36 shots while his team managed to score three goals on Henrik Lundqvist despite only sending 20 shots his way.

Tampa Bay 4, NY Islanders 2

The Islanders put together a valiant effort, but their record without fired coach Scott Gordon is 0-1 after losing to the Lightning tonight. Martin St. Louis had a goal and two assists while Steve Stamkos scored yet another goal and added an assist as well. The Islanders have now gone 11 games without a win.

Carolina 7, Ottawa 1

Eric Staal scored three goals and two assists … so naturally he wasn’t in my fantasy hockey lineup tonight. (D’oh!) It seems like the Hurricanes are trading blowouts; one night they get dismantled, the next night they dominate. The Senators might be in the cold phase of their typical hit-or-miss cycle.

Florida 2, Atlanta 1

It’s about time that Tomas Vokoun dominated a game again. The soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent stopped 38 out of 39 shots to help the Panthers beat their division mates from Atlanta.

Detroit 7, St. Louis 3

This game will be remembered for two things: Jaroslav Halak deflecting the puck into his own net and the Red Wings crushing the Blues in the third period, making a 3-3 game end 7-3.

Minnesota 2, Anaheim 1 (OT)

The Ducks aren’t flopping spectacularly on the road anymore. Now they’re just losing hard fought games away from home, as they lost another 2-1 game tonight. At least they earned a point out of it, but red-hot goalie Niklas Backstrom and forward Antti Miettinen made sure the Wild won this one.

Colorado 4, San Jose 3 (OT)

Colorado still gives San Jose some trouble, it seems. The Avalanche won this one thanks to a pretty overtime game-winner by Kevin Porter, as both the Avs and Wild gained some ground on the Northwest Division-leading Canucks tonight. San Jose squandered a 3-1 lead to lose, but like Anaheim, they can at least bring home a charity point for their efforts.

Lightning lament life as a .500 team

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The Tampa Bay Lightning have plenty of time to rise above mediocrity, yet it still must be deserving to finish at .500 for two straight months.

After last night’s 3-2 loss to the New York Islanders, that’s exactly where they find themselves:

Record at the end of October: 5-5-2

Record at the end of November: 11-11-3

As of this writing, the Lightning found themselves on the outside looking in at the playoff picture. It all stands as a pretty tough thing for the reigning Eastern Conference champs to swallow.

The uncomfortable-yet-vital question is: can the Lightning break out of this funk?

Looking at their schedule, it won’t be easy, at least not right away.

They crawl through California during a three-game road trip to start December, and they also face six of eight on the road from Dec. 2 – 18.

The Lightning soak up home dates to finish 2015 after that, but what damage will be done by then?

Frankly, the Bolts will need to dig deep to break this pattern. If nothing else, they’ve fought with their backs against the wall before.

Dubinsky won’t change, and he won’t go easy on Crosby


Sometimes a suspension will shame a player, or at least inspire him to change the way he plays.

That apparently won’t happen regarding Brandon Dubinsky‘s one-game timeout session for cross-checking Sidney Crosby.

Dubinsky told Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch that he won’t alter his style, whether it’s against Crosby or someone else.

“Nope,” Dubinsky said. “You know, I’ve played the same way my whole career and I’m not going to change. The next time I have an opportunity to play (Crosby), I’m going to play him hard.”

In case you’re wondering, that next opportunity comes on Dec. 21 in Pittsburgh, assuming that both players are healthy and not suspended.

One can understand Dubinsky’s perspective, although such honesty would be that much more interesting if there’s another incident with Crosby. His initial reaction to the hit was interestingly candid, admitting that his “stick rode up” on his adversary.

Would that stance – which, from a harsher view, might seem flippant to Dubinsky’s critics – open the door for a bigger future bit of a discipline?

Maybe, maybe not … but at least his comments aren’t as inflammatory as what John Tortorella said (at least on the record).

Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16


Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella

Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.