Riding the Zamboni – Sunday, January 9th

For recaps of the Tampa Bay-New Jersey, Carolina-Atlanta and Dallas-Minnesota games, click here.

Here are summaries of the two later games.

Chicago 5, NY Islanders 0

It might be hard for less experienced hockey fans to believe this, but it wasn’t long ago when the Blackhawks weren’t much better off than the Islanders are now. Want evidence? They beat the Isles for the first time since 2002 tonight. Even if the two teams only play occasionally, that’s still pretty stunning.

Corey Crawford earned a 29-save shutout as Chicago blew out the Islanders in the second period, building a 1-0 lead into a 5-0 margin. Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp, Dave Bolland and Niklas Hjalmarsson scored goals for the Blackhawks.

This leaves the Blackhawks in sixth place with 49 points, but like the two teams ahead of them in the West (Anaheim and Nashville), their spot isn’t very safe because they’ve played a few more games than the teams beneath them. But hey, for at least tonight, they’re looking good.

Anaheim 1, San Jose 0

The Sharks are struggling to score (now five goals in five games), so running into red-hot Jonas Hiller and the Ducks wasn’t exactly the elixir. Hiller is now on a two-game shutout streak, stopping 37 shots tonight and 27 in a 6-0 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. San Jose out-shot Anaheim in every period, but it didn’t matter because Hiller was on his game.

Bobby Ryan scored the game’s only goal with assists by Toni Lydman and Lubomir Visnovsky. Antti Niemi was pretty good in the game himself, making 27 out of 28 saves.

The Ducks are currently in fifth place in the West while the Sharks find themselves out of the playoff picture. San Jose is tied with the Kings, Blues and Wild for eighth place with 47 points, but the team is the worst situation because they played the most games.

Preds still haven’t found their scoring touch

Mike Fisher
Leave a comment

The Nashville Predators got off to a relatively good start this season, but something seems to have happened to their offense over the last six games.

Prior to Nov. 20, the Preds had only been shut out once in their first 17 games. Since then, they’ve been blanked three times and have just six goals in their last six contests.

If you remove Mike Fisher from the equation, the numbers are even more dreadful.

Fisher’s scored three of those six goals, while Filip Forsberg, Shea Weber, James Neal and Mike Ribeiro have none.

After Saturday’s 4-1 loss to Buffalo , here’s what coach Peter Laviolette told the Tennessean: “I thought we could’ve had more gas, to be honest with you. The energy just wasn’t there; maybe the second period had something to do with that or the road trip, which was a long trip. I’m not making any excuses, but I think when we play at a higher tempo that’s when we’re at our best, and we had more to push in that area tonight.”

The first game back home after a long road trip is typically a difficult one for most teams, so we’ll see how the Predators respond on Tuesday night when they host Arizona.

A month to remember: Duchene lighting it up in November

Matt Duchene, Nick Holden
Leave a comment

It wasn’t too long ago that a report surfaced saying that the Avalanche were willing to listen to offers on forward Matt Duchene.

When a player’s struggling and rumors start swirling, one of two things tends to happen.

Either the player involved lets it affect his on-ice performance in a negative way or he’s motivated by the trade talk and turns his struggles around.

Instead of pouting, the 24-year-old rolled up his sleeves and got to work.

In October, Duchene scored a goal and an assist in 10 games, but things changed in a hurry when November rolled around.

The Avs forward has picked up at least one point in 11 of 13 games this month.

Duchene has 11 goals and nine assists in November and he still has a game to go before the calendar flips to December.

“Obviously, things completely flip-flopped,” Duchene told the Denver Post. “That’s the coldest start I’ve ever had and things are good right now. Obviously, I know it could go right back, I could go cold again, that’s just the nature of the game. You just have to work every day to keep it going. The most important thing is to be able to provide offense and help the team win.”

PHT Morning Skate: A bride can have her burger and eat it too

Leave a comment

PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

A woman in a wedding dress was caught eating a burger during Saturday’s game between the Stars and Wild. (Above)

Team Europe has a number of quality goaltending options to chose from ahead of next fall’s World Cup of Hockey. (NHL.com)

Watch as some players on Nashville’s roster try to guess the lyrics to different country songs:

Former goaltender Eddie Johnston sits down for a Q & A with ESPN.com’s Shelly Anderson. (ESPN)

Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher got into a “Twitter war” with former NHLer Jim Kyte. (Puck Daddy)

Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference made a generous donation to a Syrian refugee fund. (Huffington Post)

Julien explains comments about Lundqvist’s ‘acting’

Claude Julien

We’re now over two days removed from last Friday’s tilt between the Bruins and the Rangers, but the coaches from both teams seem unwilling to move on.

Moments after that game, Claude Julien claimed that Henrik Lundqvist did some “acting” on the ice to sell a goalie interference call on Brad Marchand.

On Saturday, Alain Vigneault fired back by saying that Julien needed to get his eyesight checked. Vigneault also compared Aaron Rome’s hit on Nathan Horton in the 2011 Stanley Cup final to Matt Beleskey’s hit on Derek Stepan in Friday’s game.

Now it was Julien’s turn to address the “issue” at hand.

Julien clarified his original comment about Lundqvist and he also tackled some of Vigneault’s comments.

“I think it’s pretty obvious what I said . . . I thought Lundqvist sold it,” said Julien. “Not for a second did I ever question Henrik Lundqvist as a person, or a goaltender or any of that. We all know how good he is as a goaltender, and I know he’s a good person. I’ve met him at the All-Star games and all that stuff.

Julien on his eyesight: “As far as my eyes, I’m not the one that compared Beleskey’s hit to Aaron Rome’s [hit]. We’ll just leave it at that.”

It’s time for both sides to move on.