Riding the Zamboni – Wednesday, January 5th

For a recap of the Pittsburgh Penguins’ dominant 8-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning, click here. There are also recaps of Russia’s shocking comeback against Canada and the U.S. team’s bronze medal win over Sweden in the World Junior Championships.

Now let’s take a look at the other five NHL games from Wednesday night.

NY Rangers 2, Carolina 1 (OT)

Henrik Lundqvist (31 out of 32 saves) and Mats Zuccarello – a man known to many as “Norwegian Hobbit Wizard” – stood tall to help the Rangers win a tough match against the Hurricanes. Zuccarello scored the game winning goal and also earned an assist in the game, giving seventh-ranked New York an extra point over ninth-place Carolina in the race for Eastern Conference playoff spots.

The scrappy Rangers seem like the type of team that could make a high seed sweat bullets, although they’re not so far out of contention that a mid-level (fourth, fifth or sixth) type seed is out of the question.

Atlanta 3, Florida 2

This game is shrouded a bit in controversy, as a possible Bryan McCabe goal wasn’t even reviewed by the Toronto war room. That being said, what really matters is the final score. Rich Peverley scored two goals for the Thrashers (one to give Atlanta a 2-1 lead, then the game winner) while Chris Higgins scored a goal and an assist for the Panthers. Ondrej Pavelec won his 15th game of the season while Tomas Vokoun was pulled in his first start after earning a shutout.

Dallas 4, Chicago 2

Corey Perry is probably the most universally disliked player in the Pacific Division, but Mike Ribeiro isn’t far behind. Yet much like Perry, the divisive Ribeiro can do more than irritate people. He demonstrated that tonight with a two goal performance.

Kari Lehtonen continues to be a huge factor for the Stars, stopping 35 out of 37 shots. Then again, getting a lucky bounce here or there never hurts either.

Vancouver 3, Calgary 1

The Flames put 44 shots on net, but Roberto Luongo stopped all but one of them to give the Canucks their seventh win in a row. Ryan Kesler, Kevin Bieksa and Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver while Tim Jackman scored a goal for Calgary to bring the game to 3-1 in the third period.

Nashville 4, Anaheim 1

Nashville’s three game winning streak is the second best in the Western Conference, which probably says more about the parity-filled West than it does about the Predators themselves.

The game was closer than it looked, though, as the Predators scored two empty net goals as the Ducks decided to go for broke. Pekka Rinne might have been the best player of the game, making 40 out of 41 saves.

PHT Morning Skate: Ovechkin will be rocking incredible custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

Leave a comment

–With only a few weeks remaining in the regular season, we’re starting to get a better idea of who will be in and out of the playoffs. With that being said, The Hockey News put together a list of five players that could benefit from playing on another team. Devils goalie Cory Schneider is at the top of the list. Schneider’s been solid since joining New Jersey, but the team hasn’t had much success. (The Hockey News)

Erik Karlsson has always been known as an offensive defenseman, but this year, he’s made several defensive improvements to his game. The changes have made him so effective that his head coach, Guy Boucher, believes he should be in the running for a Hart Trophy. (Canadian Press)

–The Washington Capitals will be hosting a Russian Heritage Night tonight. During the pre-game warmup, Alex Ovechkin will be rocking these custom skates honoring his home land and his American home. He’ll be auctioning off the skates too. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)

–The New York Islanders trailed the Rangers 2-1 heading into the third period, but thanks to goals by Nikolay Kulemin and Andrew Ladd, they were able to come out on top. You can watch the highlights from last night’s “Battle of New York” by clicking the video at the top of the page.

–Vegas GM George McPhee chatted with Sportsnet’s Gene Principe about being able to build a team from scratch. McPhee called the experience “fantastic” and “really neat”. He also discussed his vision for the team and how he’s approaching the expansion draft. (Sportsnet)

–The Detroit Red Wings have been a model franchise for quite some time, but they’ve on the verge of going through some pretty big changes. First, Joe Louis Arena will be closing its doors and secondly, their long playoff streak will be coming to an end this season. Sports Illustrated takes a deeper look at the old barn and the third-longest playoff streak in pro sports. (Sports Illustrated)

–Many people feel like the Calder Trophy race will come down to Auston Matthews and Patrik Laine, but Bob McKenzie says there’s more than two worthy candidates because Zach Werenski has been equally good this season. But who is McKenzie leaning toward?

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

Getty
1 Comment

Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

1 Comment

Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

5 Comments

The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.