Riding the Zamboni – Friday, November 19th (early edition)

Let’s take a look at the first five of Friday’s nine games. The rest of the contests will be summarized tomorrow morning.

Pittsburgh 5, Carolina 4 (SO)

Since this is just a regular season game, I don’t expect a ton of controversy to come from the league (or the game’s officials) decision to allow Chris Kunitz’s goal. Thankfully, the game didn’t rest on that choice, as Jussi Jokinen tied the game up 4-4 before the Penguins won the shootout thanks to goals by Sidney Crosby and Kris Letang.

Crosby had one goal and three assists plus the shorthanded tally, Jokinen scored two goals and two assists, Kunitz had two goals and Evgeni Malkin assisted on three goals in that game.

Atlanta 5, Washington 0

Things came full circle for Ondrej Pavelec tonight, as he shut out the team he played against during that crazy collapsing incident. It was an important win for the collective psyche of the Thrashers, too, after coach Craig Ramsay called out the team after a recent loss.

Buffalo 4, Los Angeles 2

It seems like the Sabres are starting to put things together a bit now, while the Kings are now on a troubling three game losing streak. Ryan Miller seems like he’s rounding back into form after coming back from injury. Miller stopped 34 out of 36 shots to help Buffalo beat Los Angeles tonight, as the Sabres scored three unanswered goals to come back from a 2-1 deficit.

Minnesota 4, Detroit 3 (OT)

The Minnesota Wild are on a bit of a hot streak now – winning six out of their last eight games – but beating the Red Wings in Detroit (they’re now 8-1-2 at home) might be the highlight of their season so far. Jose Theodore had a great night, stopping 41 out of 44 shots while John Madden scored the game winner with 42 seconds left in overtime.

St. Louis 5, Ottawa 2

Things were going pretty badly for the Blues, but the struggling Senators were just the right tonic. The Blues went back to what made them a surprise elite team in October: great defense (backup goalie Ty Conklin faced only 20 shots, stopping 18) and scoring by committee (five different players scored their goals). Really, St. Louis won the game in an 86 second span in which they scored three times.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.