Riding the Zamboni – Monday, December 20th

For a recap of Pittsburgh plundering Phoenix, click here. If you want a rundown of the altered landscape of the Southeast Division thanks to wins by the Atlanta Thrashers and Tampa Bay Lightning, read this post.

Moving forward, let’s take a look at Monday’s other four games.

Florida 5, Philadelphia 0

If you came from the future and showed me the score to this game, I’d first complain that you didn’t tell me to pick the New Jersey Devils to miss the playoffs. Then I’d assume that Tomas Vokoun earned a shutout while basically auditioning for the Philadelphia Flyers’ starting job.

Even though Sergei Bobrovsky was chased from the Flyers’ net in this one after allowing four goals, I think the team is happy with its three goalies going forward.

Only Kimmo Timonen and Nikolay Zherdev were the only Philadelphia players who didn’t have a negative plus/minus.

Anaheim 3, Boston 0

Tonight was one of those rare nights when Tim Thomas was on the wrong end of a shutout. Jonas Hiller provided an amazing performance, as the best Swiss goalie in the world stopped 45 shots to help the Ducks beat the Bruins.

Teemu Selanne earned two assists and Brandon McMillan earned his first career high multiple point game, one goal and one assist.

Minnesota 4, Calgary 1

Niklas Backstrom absolutely dominates the Flames, as he is 7-1-1 in his last nine games against Calgary. He made 34 out of 35 saves to help the Wild beat Kipper for the second time in three days. (Fun stats via the AP recap.)

Martin Havlat and Cal Clutterbuck earned a goal and assist each while the Wild power play converted on two of their three chances to easily beat the Flames tonight.

Vancouver 3, St. Louis 1

Apparently the Canucks’ hot streak beat the Blues’ stout home advantage in St. Louis in this game. It’s kind of hard to believe that Roberto Luongo was once a goalie constantly besieged by pucks without much goal support in Florida, because now it’s the opposite. He only had to make 15 out of 16 saves to win, the second time in four games that he earned a victory by making less than 20 stops.

Ryan Kesler, Aaron Volpatti and Jeff Tambellini scored the Canucks’ goals while Alex Steen earned the Blues only tally. Mikael Samuelsson also had a nice night for Vancouver, providing two assists.

It looks like Havlat won’t make Panthers

Martin Havlat
Leave a comment

As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.

Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.

While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.

It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.

One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.

Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.

Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.

Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?

Silfverberg is set to practice again after Torres hit

Jakob Silfverberg
Leave a comment

Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.

The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.

The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:

That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.

Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:

Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.

Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.