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.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron

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Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.