Riding the Zamboni – December 4th (early edition)

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To read about today’s first two games, click here. If you want to know what happened in the Pittsburgh Penguins-Columbus Blue Jackets game and the Atlanta Thrashers-Washington Capitals game, click here. We’ll have recaps of the two late games either very late tonight or sometime on Sunday.

Toronto 3, Boston 2 (SO)

For at least one night, Phil Kessel and Brian Burke bested the Boston Bruins after that fateful trade. Kessel bested Tim Thomas (who was fantastic in the game, stopping 38 out of 40 shots during the real hockey) in the shootout to help Toronto earn a sorely needed win. Jean-Sebastien Gigure also got off the hook with a 25 for 27 save performance.

Buffalo 1, Ottawa 0 (SO)

This is one of those “both goalies really got a shutout” games, being that the only puck that went in either net happened during a shootout (when Thomas Vanek scored for Buffalo). Ryan Miller gets the shiny bonus point as he stopped 32 shots while Brian Elliott somewhat fittingly made 31.

Tampa Bay 6, Colorado 5

Eleven goals were scored in this game and yet, somehow, Steve Stamkos didn’t earn a single point. That’s OK, though, because the Lightning received great performances from Martin St. Louis and Simon Gagne, who scored one goal and two assists each. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay’s goalie situation is still pretty sketchy as Dan Ellis allowed five goals on only 24 shots.

Dallas 4, Minnesota 3 (OT)

The Stars are now (quite quietly) on a six game winning streak and they needed to scrap for every one of those victories, as each win came by one goal. Stephane Robidas scored the overtime game-winner in this one, capping the win off with a victory hop that seemed reminiscent of Phil Mickelson’s far-from-gravity-defying leap from a few years ago. At least Robidas was on skates, though.

Florida 2, Phoenix 1 (SO)

Here is a sentence I wasn’t expecting to write tonight: Scott Clemmensen out-dueled Ilya Bryzgalov in this game. Clemmensen earned 40 saves to Bryzgalov’s 36 as the Panthers. Breezy is now on a three game losing streak after winning six in a row.

Nashville 5, Carolina 2

Anders Lindback keeps playing pretty well whenever Pekka Rinne is absent as he’s now 4-1-1 during the 2010-11 season. In some ways, it was a typical Predators win, as they received offense from a variety of sources. It wasn’t just same-old, same-old, though, as the team also threw 38 shots on Cam Ward (who allowed four, with the other goal coming via an empty-netter).

Ready to Roll: Oilers activate Schultz from IR, send down Reinhart

Justin Schultz
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The Edmonton Oilers activated defenseman Justin Schultz off injured reserve and assigned Griffin Reinhart to the minors.

Schultz has missed the last 14 games because of a back injury, but he’ll suit up in Saturday’s game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The 25-year-old has one assist and a minus-6 rating in nine games in ’15-16.

Here’s his interview with Oilers TV from earlier today:

Reinhart was acquired in an off-season trade with the New York Islanders this summer.

The former fourth overall pick has no points and a minus-1 rating in 12 games with the Oilers.

The Leafs will be without Reimer on Saturday

James Reimer
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James Reimer (lower body) won’t be available to play in Saturday’s game against Washington.

Reimer was injured during a team practice earlier this week and although the injury didn’t appear to be serious, it will prevent him from suiting up in at least one game.

The Leafs originally thought that the 27-year-old would be good to go for this tilt, but head coach Mike Babcock said Reimer didn’t feel good enough to play.

Reimer’s emerged as the go-to-guy for the Maple Leafs this season and for good reason.

He has 7-3-4 record with a 2.07 goals-against-average and a .934 save percentage in 15 games.

Another reason the Leafs have been counting on him so much is because Jonathan Bernier‘s been awful.

Bernier will get another opportunity to prove himself on Saturday night, but he faces a stiff test against Alex Ovechkin and company.

The 27-year-old has an 0-7-1 record with a 3.17 goals-against-average and a .895 save percentage in ’15-16.

In a corresponding move, the Leafs sent defenseman Scott Harrington to the minors and recalled goalie Garret Sparks.

Sparks was Toronto’s seventh round pick in 2011.

The 22-year-old has an 8-2-1 record with the Toronto Marlies this season.

War of words continues between Rangers and Bruins on Saturday


The Rangers are getting ready for their second straight matinee game on Saturday, but head coach Alain Vigneault wasn’t done addressing yesterday’s loss to the Bruins.

After Friday’s game, Bruins coach Claude Julien wasn’t pleased with Henrik Lundqvist‘s “acting” that led to a goalie interference penalty being called on forward Brad Marchand (above) and he let everyone know it in his postgame press conference.

On Saturday, it was Alain Vigneault’s turn to lash out.

“Well, (the Rangers public relations staff) filled me in a little bit on what was said after the game,” Vigneault said via the New York Daily News. “I mean it’s a little disappointing. Obviously everybody saw the knee to the head. The comments on Hank were very inappropriate. The way Hank conducts himself, on the ice, away from the rink, off the ice, the example that he sets. Who would you rather have as a son, Henrik Lundqvist or Brad Marchand? For him to say things like that about Hank, totally wrong, and probably Claude is getting a little older and needs to check his eyesight.”

The Rangers will take on the Flyers at 1:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.

Dubinsky to have hearing for cross-check on Crosby


Brandon Dubinsky and the NHL’s Department of Player Safety will have a chat about his cross-check on Sidney Crosby.

The hearing is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. ET on Saturday, per beat reporter Aaron Portzline.

As you can see in the above video, Dubinsky delivers a two-handed cross-check to Crosby’s neck, so the fact that he’s getting a hearing is no surprise.

“There’s no secret. I try to play him as hard as I can,” said Dubinsky. “That being said, I don’t try and do anything dirty. I felt like my stick ride up his back a little bit. He’s kind of bent over there in front. But again, that’s not the type of player I am. I’m going to play hard, but try and play fair and play in between the whistle.”

Crosby isn’t willing to give Dubinsky the benefit of the doubt.

Anyone who follows the NHL knows that Dubinsky and Crosby aren’t fans of each other.

The two have engaged in some serious battles, including this fight last February: