Simon Gagne scores overtime game winner in return to Tampa Bay Lightning lineup

The last time Simon Gagne returned to NHL action after missing time with an injury, he scored an overtime game winner to help the Philadelphia Flyers begin an improbable comeback from a 3-0 series deficit against the Boston Bruins.

Gagne once again showed an impressive “sense of the moment” after missing more than a month of action as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning by scoring (wait for it …) an overtime game winner in his first game back.

Tampa Bay 4, Toronto 3 (OT)

Gagne also earned an assist tonight, a welcome sight because he went his first six games with the team without a single point before succumbing to injury issues.

He wasn’t the only reason the Lightning ended up with two points, though, as Martin St. Louis played a huge role in the team’s victorious rally. The two teams traded goals (Kris Versteeg for the Leafs; Ryan Malone for the Lightning) and then Toronto raced to a 3-1 lead thanks to Nikolai Kulemin. St. Louis showed that he isn’t just there to feed sweet passes to the Steve Stamkos Sweet Spot™ by scoring the next two goals, including the tally that sent the game to overtime with only nine seconds left in the third period.

The great effort by St. Louis opened the door for Gagne to score in overtime, as the talented sniper opted to shoot rather than pass on a 2-on-1 to win the game for Tampa Bay. (You can see that goal in the video clip at the bottom of this post.)

Jonas Gustavsson shouldn’t take too much of a beating for this loss, as he stopped 35 out of 39 shots while Dan Ellis earned the win despite a puck handling gaffe, only needing to stop 22 out of 25 shots.

Tampa Bay remains second in the Southeast and currently rests at fifth place in the conference as of this writing. Toronto finds themselves with 20 points, tied with Florida for the third worst record in the East.

Oilers get Kronwall’d – in more ways than one

Niklas Kronwall
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When someone gets clobbered by Niklas Kronwall, they get Kronwall’d.

(His detractors may insist that the definition require the words “dirty” or “illegal,” but that’s a debate for another day.)

It’s easy to get lost in those thunderous hits and forget that the  Swedish defenseman also brings some skill to the table.

He made a big impact – literally and figuratively – in Detroit’s 4-3 overtime win against the Edmonton Oilers on Friday.

First, the Kronwalling:

Next, Kronwall’s overtime-winner:

It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Red Wings are leaning on guys like Kronwall and Dylan Larkin to stick with it.

Tonight’s win extends their point streak to six games (4-0-2), with five of those contests going to overtime.

Dubinsky – Crosby’s nemesis – gets the last laugh on Friday

Sidney Crosby, Brandon Dubinsky
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Brandon Dubinsky isn’t a household name like Sidney Crosby is, yet for all the hype that Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin gets, Dubinsky is the sort of guy who truly rankles No. 87.

It’s been getting that spotlight since the Columbus Blue Jackets faced off against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a brisk playoff series, though it wouldn’t be surprising if the bad blood stemmed to Dubinsky’s days with New York.

To some, Dubinsky’s cross-check on Crosby will resonate far more than the end result of this game:

The bottom line is that he’ll get the last laugh, at least for now. (In-game, that moment merely drew a minor penalty.)

That’s because Dubinsky set up the overtime game-winner, and the cherry on the top of that spite sundae came with Crosby being on the ice when it happened:

They’re not just rubbing the Penguins the wrong way.

Even Dubinsky kind of sort of admits that he may have been in the wrong.


More and more, the Blue Jackets are looking like a nuisance … possibly one that will grind their way to an unlikely playoff berth. They improved to 8-4-0 in November after a disastrous 2-10-0 October.

In other words, there’s at least a chance that we may see these increasingly bitter rivals butt heads in another playoff series.

Eichel’s sweet snipe helps Sabres snap six-game skid

Jack Eichel
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The Buffalo Sabres probably deserved better during at least some chunks of their six-game skid, yet Jack Eichel swooped in on Friday to remind fans that there’s a light shining at the end of the tunnel.

You can watch his goal from tonight’s eventual 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes in the video above.

That’s not necessarily the absolute height of his on-ice magic, yet it clearly gave his team a lift:

Call this a healthy reminder that Eichel has the ability to change games, something Buffalo fans hope to get used to.

Report: Likely no suspension for Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan

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Alain Vigneault went there in comparing Matt Beleskey‘s hit on Derek Stepan to the notorious check Aaron Rome delivered on Nathan Horton many moons ago, but the league seems to disagree.

While Rome sat through that memorable Stanley Cup Final between Boston and Vancouver, it sounds like Beleskey won’t face any further discipline, according to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

In the unlikely event that anything changes, PHT will make note.

The next game between the Rangers and Bruins takes place at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 11. Will these bad feelings linger?