Riding the Zamboni – Thursday, December 16th

For recaps of tonight’s first seven games, click here. Let’s get to the two latest contests now.

Edmonton 6, Columbus 3

Believe or not, Linus Omark earned last week’s goal of the week award before he actually scored his first real NHL goal. That’s because that goal came during the shootout. Instead, Omark scored his first real goal tonight, along with two assists. Jordan Eberle (two goals) and Taylor Hall (three assists) also produced on a night in which the Oilers’ youngsters were better than the Blue Jackets’ youngsters.

Kristian Huselius was explosive in defeat, scoring all three of the Blue Jackets’ tallies.

Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 37 out of 40 shots, while Steve Mason had a tough night, with Mason getting pulled after two periods because he allowed all six of Edmonton’s goals on 27 shots.

Calgary 5, Toronto 2

The Flames dominated “Neon” Dion Phaneuf‘s team in his return to Calgary, although the big defenseman wasn’t victimized very often (he finished the game with zero points and a +1 rating). He received some boos when he touched the puck, but nothing on the level of Dany Heatley.

Olli Jokinen (one goal and two assists), Niklas Hagman (one goal and one assist), Anton Babchuk (two assists) and Alex Tanguay (one goal) shined for the Flames in this contest.

Like Steve Mason and Curtis McElhinney, Jean-Sebastien Giguere didn’t make it through the entire start. He was pulled from the game after the second period, as he allowed four goals on 24 shots. Meanwhile, Miikka Kiprusoff had a light night, getting the win by stopping 17 out of 19 shots.

Bruins’ second line officially goes under the microscope

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While much has been written about the Boston Bruins’ depleted defense, there’s also a good amount of intrigue about the forward group, which will look dramatically different tonight compared to last year’s season opener.

Here are the Bruins’ expected lines versus the Jets:

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronLoui Eriksson
Matt BeleskeyDavid KrejciDavid Pastrnak
Jimmy HayesRyan SpoonerBrett Connolly
Chris KellyJoonas KemppainenZac Rinaldo

The line most under the microscope may be that second one. In today’s Boston Globe, there’s a lengthy story on Krejci. The 29-year-old center with the big contract only played 47 games last season due to injuries. He finished with just 31 points.

So, where is Krejci’s game now?

Then there’s free-agent addition Matt Beleskey, a.k.a. Milan Lucic‘s replacement. Prior to scoring 22 times last year for the Ducks, the 27-year-old Beleskey had never tallied more than 11 goals in a season.

So, is Beleskey a legitimate top-six forward?

On the other wing, it’s David Pastrnak, the 19-year-old who, somewhat surprisingly, emerged as one of the top rookies in the league last year.

So, can Pastrnak take another step forward?

“It’s been a good three plus weeks where we’ve been able to kind of work individually, as a group, as a line, with different players and different personalities,” said coach Claude Julien. “We’re pleased with it. We’re optimistic and we just have to let things work themselves out too.”

Lucic: If I wanted to hurt Couture, ‘I would have hurt him’


Last night in Los Angeles, Kings forward Milan Lucic received a match penalty after skating the entire width of the ice to give San Jose’s Logan Couture a two-hand shove to the face.

Lucic didn’t hurt Couture, who had caught Lucic with an open-ice hit that Lucic didn’t like. Couture’s smiling, mocking face was good evidence that the Sharks’ forward was going to be OK.

This morning, Lucic was still in disbelief that he was penalized so harshly.

“I didn’t cross any line,” Lucic said, per Rich Hammond of the O.C. Register. “Believe me, if my intentions were to hurt him, I would have hurt him.”

While Lucic knew he deserved a penalty, he said after the game that he didn’t “know why it was called a match penalty.” His coach, Darryl Sutter, agreed, calling it “a borderline even roughing penalty.”

And though former NHL referee Kerry Fraser believes a match penalty was indeed warranted, Lucic said this morning that he hasn’t heard from the NHL about any possible supplemental discipline.

Nor for that matter has Dustin Brown, after his high hit on Couture in the first period.

In conclusion, it’s good to have hockey back.

Related: Sutter says Kings weren’t ‘interested’ in checking the Sharks