Riding the Zamboni – Thursday, December 30th (early edition)

Let’s take a look at the four games that ended at a reasonable hour tonight. We’ll get around to Colorado-Edmonton and Philadelphia-Los Angeles later on.

Columbus 3, Toronto 2

Kristian Huselius scored two goals and Rick Nash provided two assists while R.J. Umberger scored a game winning power-play goal to help the Blue Jackets beat the Maple Leafs tonight. Steve Mason earned the win (20 out of 22 saves) although Jonas Gustavsson played pretty well (29 out of 32 saves) in the loss.

Atlanta 3, Boston 2 (SO)

The Thrashers gave one of hockey’s oddest couples an early wedding gift with a shootout win over the Bruins tonight. Atlanta’s other explosive offensive defenseman Tobias Enstrom scored two goals while Patrice Bergeron and Blake Wheeler scored for Boston. Recent call-up Tim Stapleton and underrated forward Bryan Little made it happen in the shootout for the Thrashers.

Tampa Bay 4, Montreal 1

This is a story of two teams on very different paths right now. The Lightning are now comfortably in first place in the Southeast Division in front of the Caps while the Canadiens have slipped out of the Northeast lead with a three game losing streak and a 2-8-0 run in their last 10. Steven Stamkos scored two goals and two assists while Cedrick Desjardins earned his first NHL win with 27 saves in this one.

San Jose 5, Chicago 3

During last year’s playoffs, the Sharks couldn’t get a break against the Blackhawks. Former Chicago goalie Antti Niemi is now 3-0 against his old employers. He made 26 out of 29 saves while Joe Thornton scored a game-winner to give San Jose the win. The Blackhawks might find that two weeks without Jonathan Toews won’t pass very easily.

Torres suspended pending hearing

Raffi Torres, Cory Schneider
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According to TSN’s Darren Dreger, Raffi Torres has been suspended pending his disciplinary hearing with the league for his hit on Ducks forward Jakob Silfverberg.

Torres was assessed a match penalty for targeting Silfverberg’s head on Saturday night.

The 33-year-old missed all of last season with a knee injury, and it looks like the start of his regular season will be delayed once again.

Head coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have come back into the game, but he was held out for precautionary reasons.

Ducks center Ryan Kesler didn’t hide his feelings after the contest.

“(Torres) is the same player every year,” Kesler told reporters. “He needs to learn how to hit. That has no part in our game anymore.”



Oilers place Scrivens on waivers

Jordan Martinook, Ben Scrivens
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The Edmonton Oilers placed Ben Scrivens on waivers on Sunday.

Should he go unclaimed, the 29-year-old will be sent to the American Hockey League.

It looks like Edmonton will enter the regular season with Cam Talbot and Anders Nilsson as their goaltenders.

Scrivens was the team’s number one goalie last year, but his overall numbers were among the worst for starting goaltenders in the NHL.

He had a 15-26-11 record with a 3.16 goals-against-average and a .890 save percentage in 57 games last season.

Scrivens is scheduled to make $2.3 million in the final year of his contract.

If he does end up in the AHL, the Oilers will carry $1.35 million of dead money on the salary cap.

The move comes one day after Edmonton placed Nikita Nikitin on waivers.

The 29-year-old officially cleared on Sunday afternoon.