Detroit Red Wings v Colorado Avalanche

Riding the Zamboni – Monday, January 10th

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Colorado 5 – Detroit 4

Colorado did their damage in the first period and never really looked back. The Avalanche scored four goals in the first, two from Matt Duchene, and chased Detroit starter Jimmy Howard from the game. In typical Avalanche fashion, the game was high scoring with Colorado holding a 4-2 lead after the first period.

Newly recalled Joey McDonald made his sudden appearance count though as he was able to hold the Avs to just one more goal through the rest of the game, but that one goal would be the game winner by David Jones on a 2-on-1 early in the second period to make it 5-2. The Wings made it interesting getting power play goals from Henrik Zetterberg in the second and Tomas Holmstrom in the third, but couldn’t knot it up. Peter Budaj made 26 saves in getting the win while McDonald stopped 15 of 16 shots. Howard was miserable saving just six out of ten shots he faced.

Boston 4 – Pittsburgh 2

What was a 2-0 lead for Pittsburgh vanished as the Penguins gave up four goals in the final 3:23 of the game to fall in insane fashion to Boston 4-2. Boston got power play goals from Zdeno Chara and Mark Recchi, Recchi’s the game-winner, and others from Brad Marchand and Gregory Campbell to make what was a great effort out of Marc-Andre Fleury into a gut-wrenching loss. Tuukka Rask stopped 23 shots in the win while Fleury saved 28 in the loss.

Phoenix 4 – St. Louis 3

A roller coaster game for Phoenix falls in their favor as they blew a 2-1 lead after the Blues scored 20 seconds apart early in the third with goals from Matt D’Agostini and Brad Winchester but bounced back big in the third. Kyle Turris led the charge tying the game with a goal and assisted five minutes later on Taylor Pyatt’s game-winner at 16:48. Jason LaBarbera got the start once again in net and held it together well stopping 33 shots in the win. Jaroslav Halak played well saving 29 shots while not getting great support from his teammates. The win is the Coyotes third in their last four games. For St. Louis, their up and down season rolls on on the downside as this was their fourth straight loss.

Toronto 3 – Los Angeles 2

The good news for L.A. is that they already broke their losing streak on Saturday night. The bad news is that they’ve now lost six of their last seven games and flat out got beat by the Leafs tonight. Nikolai Kulemin’s early third period goal snapped a 2-2 tie and James Reimer held strong in goal stopping 30 Kings shots. For the Leafs it’s an encouraging win considering that their lineup is very young and they’re getting help, finally, from Phil Kessel who had a goal in this game.It’s the Leafs third straight win, their longest streak since starting the season 4-0-0.

The Kings, meanwhile, have something wrong going on with them. Running into a hot goalie will happen now and again, but there’s something not quite working right in L.A.  GM Dean Lombardi might be in the position to shake things up a little bit to snap them out of it. A bit of defensive help could go a long way.

Lonnie Cameron, hockey-tough linesman, shakes off puck to head (Video)

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Talking about hockey toughness is pretty much a trope at this point, yet there are still moments that impress even the cynical among us.

Linesman Lonnie Cameron accomplished that for many on Tuesday, as he returned to the Nashville Predators – Vancouver Canucks game despite taking a puck to the head in a scary moment.

Judging by the Twitter feed of Brooks Bratten from the Predators’ website, Cameron missed mere minutes of time.

So, yeah, it seems like Cameron qualifies as “hockey tough.”

As far as the game itself went, the Canucks beat the Predators 1-0 thanks to Henrik Sedin‘s goal (his 999th point) and Ryan Miller‘s 30-save shutout.

Is this more than just a slump for Henrik Lundqvist?

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People have been wondering for years if Henrik Lundqvist would finally fall off track and, you know, look human. After the New York Rangers’ zany 7-6 loss to the Dallas Stars, those rumblings are probably getting a little louder.

Don’t expect the Rangers to throw their star goalie under the bus, though, especially after a wide-open game like Tuesday’s goal-filled game at Madison Square Garden.

In fact, Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault is already penciling Lundqvist in for Thursday’s game against the rising Toronto Maple Leafs.

“He’s going to play, he’s going to try real hard, and we’re going to try to play better in front of him,” Vigneault said, according to the New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis. “This is a team.”

Lundqvist, meanwhile, said about what you’d expect:

Naturally, Lundqvist and plenty of other Rangers threw the word embarrassing around quite a bit to describe this game, or at least the first 40 minutes. It’s just that no one’s really raking Lundqvist over the coals.

Is this time different?

Again, Lundqvist is no stranger to struggles, even if he struggles less often than just about any franchise goalie in recent memory.

Still, the sample size is getting large enough for this stretch to be a concern for the 34-year-old netminder.

While goal support and stretches of good play open the door for a respectable 18-12-1 record, Lundqvist’s allowing almost three goals per game (2.89 GAA) and has a backup-level .902 save percentage this season. And that’s over 32 games.

Things get even uglier if you focus on more recent events.

He’s allowed 20 goals in his past four starts, including allowing 12 tallies over four periods during the past two games. Lundqvist has a putrid .841 save percentage in January after producing great work in November (.925 save percentage in 11 games) and nice numbers in December (.915 in eight games).

Lundqvist has given up four goals or more on nine different occasions since Nov. 23.

In other words, there are a lot of different ways in which he’s struggling:

Is this a matter of Lundqvist regaining his focus or is “The King” finally abdicating his throne?

The Rangers are going to let him try to work through this. Otherwise, they might just need to hope that this is an off-year and *gulp* at least consider how far (an eventually healthy?) Antti Raanta could take them.

Supporting cast rallies Blackhawks in win against Avalanche

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For much of the season, the Colorado Avalanche’s biggest names have let them down while many believe that the Chicago Blackhawks are getting it done despite a mediocre supporting cast.

On Tuesday, the script was essentially flipped. The Avs’ stars were productive, yet so were lesser-known Chicago forwards like Tanner Kero and Vinne Hinostroza.

The most important narrative stayed the same, however, as the Blackhawks found a way to get by the Avalanche in a 6-4 decision.

The Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead into the second period, but the Avs put together one of their best stretches of this lousy season. Blake Comeau tied it up, Matt Nieto scored his first goal with Colorado and then Matt Duchene answered Chicago’s only goal of the second period (by Kero) to give the Avalanche a 4-3 edge.

The Avalanche doubled Chicago’s shots on goal in the second period, generating an 8-4 edge. It felt like a rare moment where Colorado’s talent actually flexed its collective muscles.

Then the Blackhawks turned it on in the third, generating a 12-5 shot edge of their own and finding a way to win.

Hinostroza ended up making the biggest difference, scoring the tying and game-winning goals before Kero iced it with an empty-netter thanks to an unselfish pass by Jonathan Toews.

(It’s not to say that Chicago’s big names outright slept through this game, either. Toews got that assist and Marian Hossa made a bunch of plays to help make life easier for Hinostroza and Kero.)

This wasn’t always pretty, but the Blackhawks are doing enough to get points night after night. On some nights, that’s the real difference between a contender like Chicago and a languishing squad like Colorado.

Blue Jackets move back to first in Metro, NHL after beating Hurricanes

COLUMBUS, OH - JANUARY 7:  Sergei Bobrovsky #72 of the Columbus Blue Jackets warms up prior to the start of the game against the New York Rangers on January 7, 2017 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
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After stumbling for a bit, Tuesday was a reassuring night for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

With a 4-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes, Columbus moved back to the top of the Metropolitan Division (and thus, the NHL) because they now match the Washington Capitals’ 64 points but have more wins (30 to 29) and hold a game in hand.

Also comforting for Columbus: Sergei Bobrovsky returned to the Blue Jackets net, allowing one goal on 25 shots.

They were probably also happy to see Brandon Dubinsky enjoy a strong night (two goals) and Boone Jenner collect an assist and this absolute beauty of a goal:

The Hurricanes actually did hold a 1-0 lead in this game, but it lasted all of 11 seconds, as that Jenner goal erased that advantage.

The Blue Jackets face the Senators in Columbus on Thursday and then host the Hurricanes once again on Saturday. They follow that up with five straight road games and six of seven away from home beginning on Jan. 22. Columbus will pass another big test if they can stick with the Capitals and the rest of the NHL’s best through that stretch.