Riding the Zamboni – Monday, December 27th

To read about Chris Osgood’s 400th win (and the outstanding performance that allowed him to earn it), click here.

Here are summaries of Monday’s other five games.

NY Rangers 7, NY Islanders 2

Apparently the Rangers wanted to make sure that Dwayne Roloson won’t receive two straight player of the week awards. They scored seven goals by firing an astounding 52 shots at Rolo, scoring six unanswered goals after the Islanders took a 2-1 lead midway through the first period.

Plenty of Rangers pitched in, but Matt Gilroy (two goals), Brian Boyle (one goal and two assists) and Brandon Dubinsky (one goal and one assist) probably had the strongest games.

Boston 3, Florida 2 (SO)

Scott Clemmensen was very good in this game (40 out of 42 saves), but like many other goalies this season, he just couldn’t top Tim Thomas for the win. Blake Wheeler scored a goal in regulation and also earned the only shootout tally of either team with an odd score while David Krejci provided Boston’s two other goals.

David Booth and Mike Santorelli provided Florida’s goals while Michael Frolik had two assists. (Clearly, the team just isn’t the same without Stanley C. Panther at full strength.)

Columbus 4, Minnesota 3 (SO)

Earlier today, I wrote that tonight marked a great opportunity for Steve Mason to earn his starting job back with the Blue Jackets. If it indeed is a chance for him to be the top guy again, then he nailed his audition. Mason stopped 37 shots while Jose Theodore struggled (19 out of 22 saves, 0 for 3 in the shootout) to help Columbus earn a much-needed victory tonight.

Perhaps the team still waxes and wanes with the performances of Mason and Rick Nash, as the talented power forward scored a shootout goal and notched two assists to help his team rise above its “pee wee” status from last week.

Calgary 5, Buffalo 2

The Sabres didn’t start their tough “boomerang” schedule off very well with a loss against the Flames tonight. After Drew Stafford gave Buffalo a 1-0 lead, Calgary scored the game’s next four goals to flatten their unfamiliar opponents. Don’t look now, but widely lampooned center Olli Jokinen is on a hot streak all of a sudden. He has six goals in his last nine games since returning to the team’s top line with Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay.

Los Angeles 4, San Jose 0

The Kings might not have the Pacific Division lead yet – they’re one point behind the Stars with one game in hand – but tonight’s performance gives them the best goal differential in the West with +28.

Antti Niemi kept Los Angeles off the board for the first two periods by making 30 saves, but the Kings would not be denied in an impressive four goal final frame. Marco Sturm scored his first goal with L.A. against the team that drafted him, Jonathan Quick earned a 24-save shutout, Dustin Brown scored two goals and Anze Kopitar had three helpers as the team beat their cross-state rivals in San Jose.

Leafs’ Marleau becomes 18th NHL player to reach 1,500-game milestone

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Patrick Marleau’s three-year contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs will end two months before his 41st birthday, a summer when many believe his NHL career will come to an end.

But as he celebrated game No. 1,500 Wednesday night against the Detroit Red Wings, the veteran forward was talking about reaching another kind of milestone.

“I’m going to keep going as long as I can,” he said Wednesday morning via Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston. “I don’t know if my wife’s ready to have me at home full-time yet. If I feel good and still think I can contribute then I’ll keep it going.”

Marleau is the 18th player in NHL history to reach the 1,500 game mark. Should he stay healthy and play the entire 82-game slate or close to that, he’ll enter the 2018-19 season 11th all-time in that category. Gordie Howe holds the record with 1,767 games played.

Health has helped the 38-year-old Marleau reach the mark in his 20th NHL season. He hasn’t missed a regular game since the 2008-09 season and hasn’t played fewer than 74 games in a full season in his entire career.

Marleau has gone from being the youngest player in the league to the sixth-oldest in the span of 20 years and considering his history of good health, better fitness regiments of players and treatment by training staffs, challenging Howe may not be a crazy idea.

Of course, that is unless Jaromir Jagr sticks around. If that happens then Marleau would likely have to settle for No. 2.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Blues

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This week’s edition of NBCSN’s Rivalry Night will feature a central division clash between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues.

It’s still early days, but the two sides are battling atop the Central, with the Blackhawks powered by great starts from a number of players including Brandon Saad and Ryan Hartman. The Blues, meanwhile, are looking to halt a two-game skid after winning their first four games of the season. The game also features the return of NHL on NBC analyst Ed Olczyk to the booth.

You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (8 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Blues get Alexander Steen back against Blackhawks

Return to the booth is Eddie Olczyk’s ‘best medicine’

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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Former NHL agent Stacey McAlpine charged in fraud case

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WINNIPEG, Manitoba (AP) Former NHL agent Stacey McAlpine has been charged with fraud in a case involving former Ottawa Senators players Dany Heatley and Chris Phillips.

Winnipeg police said Wednesday that the 54-year-old McAlpine bilked Heatley and Phillips out of $12 million between January 2004 and June 2011. McAlpine is charged with two counts of fraud over $5,000, two counts of theft over $5,000 and laundering proceeds of crime.

Heatley and Phillips sued McAlpine and McAlpine’s parents, claiming money was being invested in unapproved real estate deals, including an Ottawa condominium. CTV Calgary has reported that Heatley was awarded more than $6 million by an Alberta court.

Rask hurt in Bruins practice; Spooner out 4-6 weeks

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Well, the good news regarding injuries and the Boston Bruins didn’t last very long.

Earlier this week, PHT noted that forwards Patrice Bergeron and David Backes are expected to return in the near future, possibly as soon as Thursday. That’s great, but Wednesday turned out to be lousy thanks to one injury scare and one sure-thing that’s a negative.

The biggest concern is that of Tuukka Rask, and it’s something that might not clear up for a while. Rask was helped off the ice during practice today after being “bowled over” by young forward Anders Bjork.

The Bruins might dodge a bullet there, which would be huge if their backup work in anyway resembles the woes of 2016-17.

While we don’t know the severity of Rask’s issues just yet, there’s flat-out bad news for Ryan Spooner.

The Bruins estimate Spooner’s window of recovery at four-to-six weeks for a (cringe) “right groin adductor tear,” which he suffered on Oct. 15. Adam McQuaid suffered an injury in that same contest, so that could go down as a costly date for a Bruins team that has been fairly described as top-heavy.

Spooner, 25, was off to a slow start so far this season. He didn’t score a goal and managed one assist in five games, averaging 13:17 TOI per game. Even during that time, he was deployed in a very protected way, so the B’s can’t really claim that this is more than a body blow.

Even so, the Bruins might sport a patchwork lineup if Bergeron and/or Backes can’t play on Thursday. They’ll likely chalk it up as a win if Rask avoids anything significant, though.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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