Riding the Zamboni – Thursday, November 18th

If you found yourself turned off by the hat tricks tonight and you fancy yourself more of a shutout person, don’t worry you had something to cheer for tonight as well. All in all, a satisfying night to be an NHL fan… Well, unless your team lost. In that case, there’s always another game.

Boston 4 – Florida 0

With Milan Lucic netting a natural hat trick in the game, he provided all the offense the Bruins would need for the night. Former Panther Nathan Horton added three assists and fan-favorite Shawn Thornton had a goal and a fight. Oh yeah, and that goalie Tuukka Rask managed to get his first shutout of the season stopping 41 shots in the affair. Tomas Vokoun was the Panther of note in this one stopping 36 shots in the loss. Former Bruin Dennis Wideman was a -2 on the night and was the recipient of boos from some of the Bruins faithful proving that B’s fans can have selectively mean memory.

Toronto 3 – New Jersey 1

Break up the Leafs already. Toronto won their second straight game knocking off a floundering Devils team. Mikhail Grabovski, Phil Kessel, and Kris Versteeg each had goals while youngster Nazem Kadri had two assists in leading the Leafs to victory. Jonas Gustavsson was brilliant for Toronto stopping 29 shots in the win. Meanwhile, the Devils saw their lone goal come from Dainius Zubrus and saw Martin Brodeur leave the game after two periods after re-aggravating his elbow injury.

Tampa Bay 8 – Philadelphia 7

No, that’s not a typo. 15 goals between two teams, four goalies played in this one with all of them taking a statistical beating but it was the Lightning coming out on top. Steven Stamkos had a hat trick and two assists while Martin St. Louis had five assists as both players finished the night with five points. Nikolay Zherdev lead the way for Philly with two goals and an assist. What do Ville Leino, Kimmo Timonen, Jody Shelley, Mattias Ohlund, Pavel Kubina, Johan Harju, Mathieu Roy, and James Wright have in common? They were the only skaters to not get a point in this game.

Nashville 3 – Montreal 0

The return of Sergei Kostitsyn to Montreal saw him only land on the score sheet thanks to a minor penalty, but it would be Marcel Goc who lead the way offensively for the Predators. Goc had two goals for Nashville and Pekka Rinne stopped all 30 shots he saw as the Preds knocked off the recently streaking Habs. The loss snapped the Habs four-game win streak and while Carey Price played fine, the Habs top line didn’t as Mike Cammalleri and Tomas Plekanec each finished the game with a -3 rating.

Dallas 5 – San Jose 4 (F/OT)

Another night, another tremendous collapse and overtime loss for the San Jose Sharks. After getting dropped in OT by the Avalanche last night, the Sharks go and do it again tonight giving up two late goals to James Neal and Mike Ribeiro to send the game to OT. Ribeiro would sting the Sharks one more time in the extra session to win it for Dallas. Ribeiro finished with those two goals while James Neal had two goals and an assist to lead the way. Both goalies in this one stayed busy with Kari Lehtonen had 35 saves in the win while Antti Niemi made 36 saves in the loss. For San Jose, getting tough at the end of the game could go a long way to helping them out. Thus ends your obvious statement of the night.

‘It’s all my fault’: Mike Babcock takes responsibility for penalty box blunder

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Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock is often regarded as the best coach in hockey, but even the best make silly mistakes sometimes.

During last night’s game between the Leafs and Columbus Blue Jackets, Babcock’s error forced his team to play an extra 1:54 shorthanded.

Early in the third frame, Roman Polak was given a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct for boarding Oliver Bjorkstrand (Polak is scheduled to have a hearing with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety on Thursday morning). Instead of sending someone to the penalty box to serve the major infraction, Babcock decided to leave the box empty.

Coaches aren’t obliged to send someone to the sin bin right away. During any stoppage in play before the end of penalty, they can send someone to finish serving the infraction. Unfortunately for the Leafs, Babcock never did.

So when Polak’s five-minute major expired, the Leafs couldn’t simply throw someone onto the ice from their bench, they had to wait for a stoppage in play.

Toronto players tried to ice the puck a couple of times, but that didn’t work. So finally, Brian Boyle flipped the puck into the Columbus bench to get a whistle, but not before his team spent nearly seven straight minutes shorthanded.

They ended up winning 5-2, but they held a slim 3-2 lead at the time.

Luckily for Babcock, his penalty killers did an incredible job, as they only allowed one shot on goal throughout the kill.

After the game, he took full responsibility for what happened.

“I’m doing better now, but can you imagine?,” said the Leafs bench boss, per the Toronto Sun. “It’s all my fault, me, the two assistants on the bench, two in the video room and 15 players on the bench. And we can’t get that done right? Often it happens and you just fire a guy in the box. It could have cost you. It will never happen in my lifetime again, I will never wait to put a guy in. But our penalty kill was really good.”

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin will be rocking incredible custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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–With only a few weeks remaining in the regular season, we’re starting to get a better idea of who will be in and out of the playoffs. With that being said, The Hockey News put together a list of five players that could benefit from playing on another team. Devils goalie Cory Schneider is at the top of the list. Schneider’s been solid since joining New Jersey, but the team hasn’t had much success. (The Hockey News)

Erik Karlsson has always been known as an offensive defenseman, but this year, he’s made several defensive improvements to his game. The changes have made him so effective that his head coach, Guy Boucher, believes he should be in the running for a Hart Trophy. (Canadian Press)

–The Washington Capitals will be hosting a Russian Heritage Night tonight. During the pre-game warmup, Alex Ovechkin will be rocking these custom skates honoring his home land and his American home. He’ll be auctioning off the skates too. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

–The New York Islanders trailed the Rangers 2-1 heading into the third period, but thanks to goals by Nikolay Kulemin and Andrew Ladd, they were able to come out on top. You can watch the highlights from last night’s “Battle of New York” by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Vegas GM George McPhee chatted with Sportsnet’s Gene Principe about being able to build a team from scratch. McPhee called the experience “fantastic” and “really neat”. He also discussed his vision for the team and how he’s approaching the expansion draft. (Sportsnet)

–The Detroit Red Wings have been a model franchise for quite some time, but they’ve on the verge of going through some pretty big changes. First, Joe Louis Arena will be closing its doors and secondly, their long playoff streak will be coming to an end this season. Sports Illustrated takes a deeper look at the old barn and the third-longest playoff streak in pro sports. (Sports Illustrated)

–Many people feel like the Calder Trophy race will come down to Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, but Bob McKenzie says there’s more than two worthy candidates because Zach Werenski has been equally good this season. But who is McKenzie leaning toward?

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

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Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).