Matt Duchene, Corey Crawford

Riding the Zamboni – Monday, December 13th

Colorado 7 – Chicago 5

When you see this score you’re thinking that Colorado blew them out. Not so fast. Chicago had a 5-4 lead in this game with just 8:17 to play in the third. Then in the final 2:24 of the period, the Avalanche scored three times including an empty net goal to ice the game. Wild, up and down, barn burner hockey baby. Marty Turco started the game for Chicago but was miserable stopping six out of ten shots he faced. Corey Crawford played great until those final minutes saving 17 shots. Even more miserable were defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook who each were -4 on the night.

For Colorado, it was Matt Duchene, Paul Stastny, and Tomas Fleischmann who led the way with three points each. Duchene had two goals and an assist while Stastny and Fleischmann each had a goal and two assists. The comeback for Colorado is the sort of thing that can pick a team up that was playing pretty iffy hockey through the evening. For Chicago, it’s the sort of loss that serves as a wake up call to a team that could stand to use it.

Los Angeles 5 – Detroit 0

We discussed this one at length earlier tonight. The highlights all center around Jonathan Quick’s 51-save shutout, including stopping 26 shots in the second period alone. Anze Kopitar had two goals while Drew Doughty had three assists to lead the offense for the Kings.

Atlanta 4 – Ottawa 3 (F/OT)

Jason Spezza went from hero to goat in a matter of minutes. His penalty shot goal in the third period knotted the game up at 3-3, but a brutal turnover in overtime turned into Bryan Little’s game-winning goal in the extra session, his second goal of the game. Dustin Byfuglien scored his 11th goal of the season, good for a new Thrashers team record for defensemen – a record broken in just 31 games. Ondrej Pavelec made 27 saves to earn the win. Daniel Alfredsson snapped a 13-game goalless drought adding a second period for Ottawa.

Nashville 5 – NY Islanders 0

Same old, same old for the Islanders and an emphatic win for the Predators. Anders Lindback gets his second shutout of the season stopping all 28 shots he faced. Patric Hornqvist scored two goals while Sergei Kostitsyn had a goal and an assist and Cody Franson had two assists to pace the offense for Nashville. For New York, it’s their sixth loss in a row and 20th in their last 21 games. New head coach Jack Capuano is now 1-8-2 since taking over for Scott Gordon. The Islanders are on a pace to be one of the NHL’s all-time worst teams.

Calgary 3 – Columbus 2 (F/OT)

Jarome Iginla showed what he’s about tonight. Iginla scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime, to lead the Flames to the win. Calgary jumped out fast in this one scoring two of their first four shots of the game with Iginla and Brendan Morrison beating Steve Mason. Mason was pulled after Morrison’s goal and Mathieu Garon held strong until overtime stopping 20 shots. Miikka Kiprusoff held strong stopping 22 shots and only allowing goals to Antoine Vermette and Rick Nash. For Nash it’s his 17th goal of the season. Goat of the game? Fedor Tyutin who as a -3 for Columbus.

Dallas 3 – San Jose 2 (F/SO)

Another late night game that was spectacular to watch only to be spoiled by the lame shootout. Andrew Raycroft and Antti Niemi turned out to be the studs tonight for their teams. Raycroft stopped 31 shots for Dallas while Niemi stopped 29 for the Sharks. Jamie Benn and Mike Ribeiro had Dallas’ goals that counted while Brad Richards iced the game in the shootout. Derek Joslin and Ryane Clowe scored for San Jose. Should this race in the Pacific Division keep up all season, these two will play some fantastic games in the future.

Sharks defeat Hurricanes, but Vlasic exits game with lower-body injury

Marc-Edouard Vlasic
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Talk about the ideal start.

Patrick Marleau scored just 12 seconds into the first period and the San Jose Sharks had a 2-1 lead before Saturday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes was even four minutes old.

The Sharks held on for a 4-3 win over the Hurricanes, Kevin Labanc‘s goal late in the second period standing as the winner, as the two teams traded three goals in the span of just over three minutes.

It remains awfully crowded in the Pacific Division. The Flames lead with 34 points, while the Sharks, Ducks and Oilers are all one point back.

The victory came with bad news for the Sharks.

Defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic left the game in the second period and didn’t return. He’s now day-to-day with a lower-body injury, according to coach Pete DeBoer following the win.

Flames dominate the Jets to take over top spot in the Pacific Division

CALGARY, AB - DECEMBER 10: Dougie Hamilton #27 of the Calgary Flames celebrates after scoring his team's third goal against the Winnipeg Jets during an NHL game at Scotiabank Saddledome on December 10, 2016 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Derek Leung/Getty Images)
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Is there a changing of the guard in the Pacific Division?

It’s the middle of December and the Calgary Flames, now with six straight wins, lead the same division dominated last season by the California powers in Anaheim, San Jose and L.A. The Edmonton Oilers have been inconsistent at times this season but they are right there, too, one point back. Same goes for the Ducks. The Sharks and Kings are definitely in contention.

There is plenty of hockey remaining in the season. Plenty of chances for change in the NHL’s division standings, including in the Pacific. But there’s no denying the Flames are on an impressive run.

Late last month, they had a particularly frustrating loss to Philadelphia and coach Glen Gulutzan voiced his displeasure about it. They followed that up the next day with an overtime loss to the Islanders. Prior to that weekend, there had been rumblings about the future of Gulutzan with the club, despite being only a few months into his tenure.

But since then, the Flames have yet to lose. They continued their winning streak with a convincing 6-2 victory over the visiting Jets on Saturday.

Dougie Hamilton — remember all that trade speculation surrounding the Flames defenseman and Brian Burke’s classic response? — had two goals for Calgary. Chad Johnson was solid in net again. It was a pretty dominant performance all around.

Frustrating night for the Jets and it showed when Dustin Byfuglien dropped the gloves with Garnet Hathaway late in the third period.

There are more difficult tests ahead for Calgary.

The Flames face the Tampa Bay Lightning on Wednesday and then the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday.

In previous seasons, a Friday night game between the Flames and Blue Jackets in the middle of December might not garner much interest. But they are both among the hottest teams in the league right now and it’s likely not many would’ve predicted that a short time ago.

Video: Perlini’s first NHL goal helps lift Coyotes over Predators

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 10:  Brendan Perlini #29 of the Arizona Coyotes reacts alongside Calle Jarnkrok #19 of the Nashville Predators after Perlini scored his first career goal during the second period of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on December 10, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Arizona Coyotes have moved out of last place in the NHL’s overall standings, courtesy a 4-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday.

Minus forward Max Domi, placed on IR and expected to be out on a week-to-week basis, the Coyotes got a 44-save performance from goalie Mike Smith and recently recalled forward Brendan Perlini pitched in with his first career NHL goal.

That goal gave Arizona a 3-1 lead. Thanks to the play of Smith, the Coyotes wouldn’t relinquish the lead, snapping a six-game losing skid.

It wasn’t all good news for the Coyotes.

Defenseman Connor Murphy played only 4:12. He left the game with an upper-body injury and didn’t return. Per reports, Murphy is considered day-to-day at this point.

The Blue Jackets just keep on winning

COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 15:  Zach Werenski #8 of the Columbus Blue Jackets is congratulated by Cam Atkinson #13 of the Columbus Blue Jackets after scoring his first career NHL goal during the third period of the game against the San Jose Sharks on October 15, 2016 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. San Jose defeated Columbus 3-2. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) Jack Johnson, Cam Atkinson and Seth Jones each had a goal and an assist as the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the New York Islanders 6-2 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

Josh Anderson, Brandon Saad and Lukas Sedlak also scored for Columbus and Sergei Bobrovsky had 25 saves.

Josh Bailey and John Tavares scored for New York, which had earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Jaroslav Halak made 32 saves until he was pulled after the Blue Jackets scored four consecutive goals in the third period.

Anderson put Columbus ahead 3-2 at 2:19 when he picked off a defensive pass and banged it in from the slot seconds after coming onto the ice for his shift.

Saad, Sedlak and Jones scored in a 5-minute span to make it 6-2 with 5:37 to go.

New York’s third-string goalie Jean-Francois Berube then replaced Halak and stopped the one shot he faced in his season debut.

The Islanders came out quick and it took Columbus a while to get going. New York took a 1-0 lead 5:59 in when a defensive pass by the Blue Jackets’ Sam Gagner at the boards was deflected by Bailey, and the popup was bobbled by Bobrovsky into the net. Bailey was given credit for an unassisted goal.

The Blue Jackets tied it up on a power play with 6:01 left in the first when Johnson wound up from just inside the neutral zone and fired a bullet past Halak. It was Johnson’s first goal of the season.

Columbus’ Brandon Dubinsky and New York’s Travis Harmonic went to the penalty box for 5 minutes each when both threw down the gloves and threw punches near the end of the first quarter.

Columbus took a 2-1 lead when a speeding Atkinson took a pass from Johnson in the neutral zone and beat Halak on the breakaway 10:16 into the second. New York tied with 7:28 left in the period when Tavares lifted the puck over Bobrovsky’s pad from in front of the net.

The Blue Jackets took off in the third period.

After Anderson gave Columbus the lead for good, Saad made it 4-2 on a wrister from the high slot at 9:23.

Sedlak, who scored his first NHL goal on Friday night, scored another when he tapped in a loose puck with 7:21 to go. Jones capped it with just over 5 1/2 minutes remaining.