Bobby Ryan

Riding the Zamboni – Wednesday, January 12th

Anaheim 7 – St. Louis 4

Bobby Ryan showed up in a big way for the streaking Ducks. Ryan got his second hat trick of the season and added an assist keying the Ducks to a blowout win over St. Louis. Jonas Hiller saw his shutout streak snapped at 178:34 in the second period when David Backes scored at 3:44. He added another goal just a couple minutes later to cut the Ducks lead to 3-2, but in the third Anaheim blew up big.

The Ducks would score four straight in the third with goals by Ryan, Corey Perry, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Brandon McMillan to pull ahead 7-2. The Blues would score a pair late, but the damage was done. Hiller stopped 30 shots on the night while Ty Conklin was only able to stop 17 in the loss. Things would get ugly in the third period as multiple fights broke out as the Blues vented their frustration at getting beaten so badly. Four different fights would break out in the final period as the teams brought back some flavor from the 80’s with a high-scoring game and a brouhaha in the third. Somewhere, Tony Twist is smiling.

Chicago 4 – Colorado 0

Corey Crawford is quickly becoming the story of the season for Chicago. The suddenly starting goalie earned his second straight shutout in helping the Blackhawks finally beat the Avalanche in their final meeting of the season. The Hawks got 24 saves out of Crawford and goals from four unlikely sources in Troy Brouwer, Dave Bolland, Fernando Pisani, and Jack Skille to pace the offense. Peter Budaj made 27 saves in the loss as the Avs, once again, couldn’t tighten up the defense to keep their opponent off the board. It was a rare night for Colorado in that they didn’t score a goal of their own as the Avs have one of the top offenses in the NHL.

Pittsburgh 5 – Montreal 2

A confidence-boosting win for Pittsburgh who, until tonight, hadn’t won without Sidney Crosby in the lineup. Getting a win over the team they just lost to last week and lost to in the playoffs makes it especially sweeter. Alex Goligoski had two goals and an assist, Jordan Staal had a goal and two assists, and Kris Letang had three helpers in leading the way for Pittsburgh. Marc-Andre Fleury got the last laugh on Carey Price stopping 20 shots in the win and striking a payback pose mocking Price who did so similarly after winning in the shootout over Pittsburgh last week. Price, for his efforts, stopped 31 shots in the loss.

Tampa Bay 3 – Washington 0

Dwayne Roloson stopped 23 shots in shutting out a mostly uninterested looking Caps team and taking sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division. Roloson’s shutout over the Caps, his second in nine days with the Lightning, will have the Caps looking at him as their supreme divisonal nemesis the rest of the way.

Dominic Moore, Sean Bergenheim, and Simon Gagne each had goals for Tampa Bay. For Gagne, it was his fourth of the season and a slump-buster as he hadn’t scored in his last 11 games. If Gagne can get his offensive game going, the Lightning are really going to start looking good. Semyon Varlamov stopped 35 shots in the loss for Washington, a solid effort but he’s got to get tired of seeing his high-powered offense not showing up consistently.

Sharks finally solve Gibson in OT to defeat rival Ducks

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Talk about perfect timing.

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored his first goal of the season on Tuesday, doing so in overtime to lift the San Jose Sharks past the goaltending of John Gibson in a 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks.

Facing off against their California rivals for the first time this season, the Sharks dominated puck possession and on the shot clock. Had it not been for the play of Gibson, this one could’ve been a lopsided win for San Jose.

Gibson replaced Jonathan Bernier to begin the second period. Bernier left the game with an upper-body injury.

In relief, Gibson made 24 saves on 25 shots. Vlasic was the only San Jose player to get the puck past him, but not before the Ducks managed to steal a single point.

The Ducks recorded the single point, but did so faced with a short-handed lineup as the game continued. Not only did Bernier leave the game, but so, too, did Ryan Getzlaf, who didn’t play a shift in the third period.

He left with an upper-body injury, as per the Ducks, who at the time listed his return as questionable.

Elliott backstops Flames to victory in his return to St. Louis

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 24: Matt Stajan #18 and Lance Bouma #17 of the Calgary Flames congratulate Brian Elliott #1 after a shootout win against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on October 24, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Flames defeated the Blachawks 3-2 in a shootout. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

So, it seems Jake Allen was onto something.

The St. Louis Blues goalie noted a few days ago that Calgary Flames fans shouldn’t be worried about Brian Elliott despite his early-season struggles.

Well, Elliott has since put together strong performances in back-to-back games against Central Division opponents from Chicago and then St. Louis.

After earning a shootout win over the Blackhawks on Monday, Elliott was put back in the Calgary net to finish off the back-to-back road set.

Facing his former team, Elliott made 23 saves on 24 shots and the Flames recorded a 4-1 victory. It was a special return to St. Louis for Elliott, who spent five seasons with the Blues.

“I saw that on the schedule from a while ago in the summer,” Elliott told “You want to come back here. I had so much fun playing in front of these fans in this building and wanted to do it again even though it was another team. The guys did a heck of a job in front of me to get that win for me.”

Not a bad trip for the Flames, with a maximum four points against two teams considered to be contenders in the Western Conference.

“I thought we were good in front of him, too,” Flames coach Glen Gulutzan told the Calgary Herald. “I thought we kept a lot of the stuff to the outside, but he made some big saves, especially at the end, when we knew their push was coming.

“I thought that was when he was his best. And that’s what you need — we put ourselves in position to win and then he carried us through.”

Bernier (upper-body injury) gives way to Gibson in Ducks net

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Goaltender Jonathan Bernier #1 of the Anaheim Ducks during the preseason NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Ducks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson began Tuesday’s game on the bench, but was forced into action to begin the second period against the San Jose Sharks.

Jonathan Bernier, who got the start, left the game with an upper-body injury and was doubtful to return, the Ducks stated on Twitter.

Bernier has played in only one other game for Anaheim so far, making 42 saves on 45 shots in a loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Oct. 15.

‘Dig in there with the rest of the guys,’ says Babcock after leaving Andersen in against Bolts

OTTAWA, ON - OCTOBER 12: In his first game as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs Frederik Andersen #31 puts his mask on against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on October 12, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Frederik Andersen‘s difficult start to the season continues.

After an interesting exchange when questioned about his goaltender prior to Tuesday’s game against the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning and some guy named Steven Stamkos, Toronto Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock was once again forced to answer inquiries about the play of Andersen, who allowed seven goals on just 24 shots.

Andersen stayed in the crease for the entire game, as the Leafs lost 7-3. He certainly didn’t get much help in the defensive end from his teammates in front of him.

Stamkos started the scoring for Tampa Bay, and continued it with a rocket one-timer past Andersen, before finishing with a four-point night.

But in Toronto, the conversation about the amazing play of rookies like Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner seems to have shifted to the play of their goalie, acquired in a blockbuster deal with Anaheim, in which Toronto parted ways with a first- and second-round pick to make it happen. The Leafs then signed him to a five-year, $25 million deal.

Playing on a new team in a hockey-crazed market has likely been an adjustment. His season also started with an injury in Olympic qualifying.

Following the loss Tuesday, Babcock explained his reasoning for leaving Andersen in net for all seven Tampa Bay goals, two of which came late in the third period.

“I want him to play. He’s my guy. I want him to play,” said Babcock, as per Jonas Siegel of The Canadian Press. “So I could pull him and then say, ‘Okay I showed you!’ But what did I show him? To me, dig in there with the rest of the guys, make the next save and give us a chance to come back and win the game. You can’t do that sitting on the bench.”

The Maple Leafs face the Florida Panthers on Thursday. Florida’s goalie Roberto Luongo knows all-too-well about the pressures that come with playing the position in a Canadian market.

It is early in Andersen’s Toronto tenure.

But Babcock will likely be facing a similar line of questioning until his goalie turns it around.