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.

Report: Wings, Hawks, Preds in mix to sign ‘strong two-way center’ Ejdsell

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Keep an eye on Swedish forward Victor Ejdsell in the coming days.

Ejdsell, 21, caught the eye of several NHL clubs following a standout year with Bofors of the Swedish first division — including Detroit (where he visited earlier this week, per MLive.) Reports suggest that Chicago and Nashville are also interested in securing Ejdsell’s services.

It’s easy to see why.

He racked up 25 goals and 57 points in 60 games this year, and he’s got terrific size. At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds, the physical presence is there to potentially make the shift to the NHL next season.

“He’s evolved into a strong two-way center,” Detroit assistant GM Ryan Martin told MLive. “His move from wings to center helped his defensive game. He’s got good hands and offensive ability.”

Vlasic joins Canada for Worlds, extending marathon campaign

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Marc-Edouard Vlasic is putting in work this year.

On Friday, Hockey Canada announced that Vlasic — along with Mitch Marner, Brayden Schenn and Chad Johnson — has been added to the 22-player roster for the upcoming World Hockey Championship in France and Germany.

Vlasic’s season started early as a member of Canada’s World Cup of Hockey squad. He appeared in all six games, which included his tournament high TOI (24:04) in final against Team Europe.

From there, the 30-year-old rejoined the Sharks and appeared in 75 contests, averaging 21:14 per evening. He was part of a remarkably durable San Jose defense that saw Brent Burns play all 82 games, while Paul Martin, Brenden Dillon and Justin Braun appeared in 81.

In the playoffs, Vlasic was once again a busy guy. He finished second only to Burns in time on ice (23:16 per) and was often tasked with trying to shut down the Connor McDavid line. The Sharks would eventually bow out to the Oilers in six games.

And Vlasic might have even more to do this summer.

During his end-of-year media availability, Sharks GM Doug Wilson said getting Vlasic signed to an extension prior to September’s training camp was a big priority.

Vlasic’s current deal — a five-year, $21.25 million pact — expires next summer, and carries an average cap hit of $4.25M. Wilson didn’t mince words in describing how good he thinks Vlasic is.

“Vlasic [is] arguably one of the best defensemen in the league,” he said. “Marc-Edouard is still one of the most underrated players in the league in the outside world.”

Stepan: ‘I’ve stunk since the playoffs started’

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Derek Stepan knows he’s not playing very well, and he knows he’ll have to be better if the New York Rangers are going to make it past the Ottawa Senators.

With just one goal (an empty-netter) and one assist in seven playoff games, Stepan’s offensive production has fallen off a cliff after a respectable 55-point regular season, which included 38 assists.

“I’ve stunk since the playoffs started,” Stepan said, per NHL.com’s Dan Rosen. “I’ve been not very good with the puck.”

An all-situations center, Stepan is more than just an offensive type. But he’s produced in previous playoff runs, and the Rangers need him to produce now — especially against a tight-checking Sens team that boasts a 2.00 goals-against average in these playoffs.

Stepan has 45 points (18G, 27A) in 92 career playoff games.

To be fair, he’s not the only Ranger who needs to get going offensively. One of the Blueshirts’ big strengths during the regular season was their balanced scoring, with all four lines contributing — and that’s not happening right now.

No Bieksa for Anaheim tonight, but Vatanen could return

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The Ducks will be without their most veteran skater on Friday as they look to even up their series with Edmonton.

Kevin Bieksa, who exited Game 1 with a lower-body injury following a collision with fellow d-man Shea Theodore, has been ruled out for tonight’s Game 2. It marks the first tilt the 35-year-old will miss this postseason.

Bieksa was enjoying a pretty good playoff prior to getting hurt. He racked up four assists in five games, while averaging just under 17 minutes per night. Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle is holding out hope Bieksa could return later in the series.

While this is a loss for the Ducks, it goes a long way in illustrating how much defensive depth they have.

While Carlyle wouldn’t confirm, all signs point to Sami Vatanen drawing in for Bieksa. Vatanen has been out since Game 1 of the Calgary series with an upper-body injury, but has resumed practicing and sounds like he’s ready to go.

“It’s always nice when a player is closer to coming back and you can potentially put them back in the lineup,” Carlyle said of Vatanen.

Anaheim dressed a blueline of Bieksa, Theodore, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Montour in Wednesday’s 5-3 defeat. If Vatanen can’t draw in for Bieksa, the club still has Korbinian Holzer in reserve.