Toronto Maple Leafs v Philadelphia Flyers

Will there be fireworks in Philly tonight when Mike Richards faces off with P.K. Subban?

Is there a chance we’ll see Philadelphia’s Mike Richards and Montreal’s P.K. Subban have a war of words and fists tonight in Philadelphia? If you’re a fan of blood wars on ice, you might want to fulfill your blood lust somewhere else.

In case you’ve forgotten what happened last week, after the Canadiens beat the Flyers in Montreal, the Flyers captain Mike Richards decided to vent a little bit about Subban saying that he was too cocky for his age and that he should “earn some respect in the league” or else.

With the teams set to square off tonight in Philadelphia so soon after Richards’ outburst, tonight’s game has a little extra juice to it even though both teams think things are a bit overblown. Mike Morreale of NHL.com has the story.

There was plenty of discussion following the morning skates of both teams at Wells Fargo Center here Monday in preparation for the second meeting between the teams. And while Subban and Richards were unavailable for comment, Flyers forward Danny Briere said it’s all water under the bridge at this point.

“I don’t think Mike’s comments were made to create such a big story,” Briere said. “Knowing Mike, he’s a quiet guy and there were lots of emotions behind it and he just said what he felt and what most of the players felt. It was just honesty speaking, but Mike wasn’t looking to make a big story with the whole thing.”

Whether he was looking to make a story out of things or not, saying something like what Richards did after their game with the Habs last week will get you noticed. After all, what are we meant to think when he says this:

“You have to earn respect in this league. It takes a lot. You can’t just come in here as a rookie and play like that. It’s not the way to get respect from other players around the league.

“Hopefully someone on their team addresses it, because, uh, I’m not saying I’m going to do it but something might happen to him of he continues to be that cocky.”

Harsh words and a veiled threat of payback will get you noticed. As for Subban, he’s not making very much of things tonight as he tells Sun Media’s Mike Zeisberger.

“To be honest, I know that’s the way the public and media will handle it,” Subban told QMI Agency. “Things like that can get blown out of proportion.

“To be honest, that situation has nothing to do with me. It’s not me saying anything. I just kind of keep my mouth shut.

“We have games to play here. I can’t worry. I just take care of what goes on in this dressing room. I can’t focus on anything else.

“It’s tough enough being a rookie having played just 20 games in this league. I can’t worry about all that other stuff.”

Sounds like if anyone is going to teach P.K. Subban a lesson tonight, it’s going to come from the boos of the Philadelphia faithful instead of the fists of Mike Richards.

 

After 11-game absence, Savard (oblique) back for Columbus

David Savard
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These are pretty decent times for the Blue Jackets.

The team is 7-3-2 in its last 12, recently re-upped with Ryan Murray on a two-year deal and, on Friday, announced that blueliner David Savard has been activated from IR after missing the last 11 games to an oblique strain.

Savard, 25, was a pretty integral part of John Tortorella’s defense when healthy. He averaged over 24 minutes per night and had 15 points through 39 games prior to being sidelined by the ailment.

He’ll presumably draw back into the lineup when the Jackets take on Ottawa on Saturday. No word yet on a corresponding roster move.

Who’s got the best/worst combined special teams?

The Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, (8), of Russia, leaps in the air in celebration after scoring his 500th career NHL goal during the second period of a hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
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Recently, the Washington Capitals went five whole games without scoring a power-play goal.

It was a real nightmare for those guys.

Despite the fact Washington went 3-1-1 over those five games, one headline called it a “troubling power-play drought” — which tells you how few “troubling” things the Caps have had to deal with this season.

Overall, special teams have been a boon for Washington, which ranks first on the power play and fifth on the penalty kill.

Compare that to, say, Calgary, which ranks 29th and 29th, respectively. Now that’s troubling.

Anyway, here’s how all 30 teams rank when their special teams are combined:

Rankings

Not surprisingly, there’s a strong correlation between good special teams and winning hockey games.

In the left column, 12 of the 15 teams are currently in a playoff spot. New Jersey, Buffalo, and Montreal are the exceptions.

On the right, only four teams — Colorado, Detroit, Nashville and the Rangers — are in a playoff spot.

John Scott to return to Habs’ AHL team this weekend

Pacific Division forward John Scott (28) is lifted up by teammates Mark Giordano (5), of the Calgary Flames, Joe Pavelski (8), and Brent Burns (88), of the San Jose Sharks after they defeated the Atlantic Division team 1-0 at an NHL hockey All-Star championship game, Sunday, Jan. 31, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. The Pacific Division won 1-0. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)
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John Scott’s had enough time off following his All-Star Game MVP award.

Now, he wants to get back to work.

Scott, who made major headlines at the end of January thanks to his unforgettable All-Star performance in Nashville, will return to Montreal’s AHL affiliate in St. John’s this weekend, as the IceCaps play a pair of games against the Toronto Marlies.

“It’ll be nice to [be] back playing hockey and doing my thing. I’m actually really excited for it,” Scott said, per ESPN. “This has been the longest break I’ve had, ever. But I play like 7-8 minutes, I won’t be too out of shape, I’ll be able to keep up.”

Scott, 33, hasn’t played since his Pacific Division team won the annual ASG 3-on-3 tournament on Jan. 31. Following that whirlwind weekend, the Montreal organization allowed him to take a leave to be with his wife, Danielle, who gave birth to twin girls on Feb. 5.

Scott only appeared in four games for St. John’s prior to the All-Star Game, going pointless with six penalty minutes and a minus-1 rating.

Related:

The John Scott story, coming to a theater near you?

Therrien on Habs recalling Scott: ‘You never know’

 

Goalie nods: Budaj set to make Kings debut

during a preseason game at Staples Center on September 22, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
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Journeyman Peter Budaj looks as though he’ll make his first regular-season NHL appearance since April of 2014, when the Kings take on the Rangers at MSG.

Recalled from AHL Ontario due to an injury to Jonathan Quick, Budaj gets the nod tonight after Quick’s backup, Jhonas Enroth, was beat for four goals on 29 shots in last night’s loss to the Islanders.

Budaj, 33, has certainly earned another crack at the big leagues. After catching on with the Kings through a PTO in training camp, he’s been terrific in Ontario, going 26-9-3 with a 1.58 GAA and .935 save percentage. The Slovakian netminder also has eight shutouts this year.

For the Rangers, Antti Raanta gets the start in goal, giving Henrik Lundqvist a night off.

Elsewhere…

Ben Scrivens, who appears to be the new No. 1 in Montreal, will go for his fourth straight win when the Habs visit Buffalo. Chad Johnson is in goal for the Sabres, who’ve really struggled of late.

Marc-Andre Fleury goes for the Penguins, while it looks like Cam Ward is in for Carolina.

— Really good matchup in Detroit as Semyon Varlamov goes up against Petr Mrazek who, according to Yahoo’s Puck Daddy, has “crashed Braden Holtby’s Vezina party.”

— Battle of All-Star netminders in Tampa Bay, as Ben Bishop goes for the Bolts while Pekka Rinne starts for Nashville.

The red-hot Brian Elliott will continue to roll as St. Louis’ No. 1 in Florida. The Panthers will go with their old reliable, Roberto Luongo.

Now that Karri Ramo’s on IR, it’s Jonas Hiller time for the Flames. He’ll start tonight in Arizona, against Louis Domingue.