Vancouver Canucks v Washington Capitals

Riding the Zamboni – Friday, January 14th

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Vancouver 4 – Washington 2

In what some were calling a potential Stanley Cup finals showdown, the Canucks showed the Caps what they’re all about. Daniel Sedin scored two goals while Christian Ehrhoff and Alex Edler each had a goal and an assist to lead the Canucks to victory. Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots in the win. For Washington, they were still without Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin was held without a point. Matt Hendricks and Marcus Johansson scored for Washington who continue their recent struggles dropping their third in a row. Semyon Varlamov stopped 31 shots in the loss.

Philadelphia 5 – Atlanta 2

The Flyers rebounded nicely after a brutal loss against Boston last night pouring five goals on Ondrej Pavelec and the Thrashers. Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter each had a goal and an assist and Sergei Bobrovsky got back on the winning side stopping 27 shots. Pavelec had a tough night dealing with the Flyers in the third period as they scored three goals late (including an empty netter) to ice the game. Pavelec made 31 saves in the loss. Daniel Briere scored his 24th goal of the season for Philly. Flyer fans are still wondering if his All-Star invitation got lost in the mail.

New Jersey 5 – Tampa Bay 2

Right when we get all excited about the Lightning and Dwayne Roloson they go and lose to the basement dwelling Devils in ugly fashion. Roloson started but didn’t finish the game after giving up four goals in the first period. Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice for New Jersey giving him 12 on the season. Brian Rolston and Travis Zajac each had a goal and an assist for the Devils who won their first road game since November 3rd snapping a streak of 11 straight road losses. At least Tampa Bay got a goal and an assist each from Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis with St. Louis’ goal being of the highlight variety. Still, a frustrating outcome for Tampa Bay in that they could’ve put some distance between themselves and their Southeast Division foes who lost tonight.

Columbus 3 – Detroit 2 (F/SO)

It was a heart-warming win for the Blue Jackets as their home win over Detroit was able to snap a string of five losses in a row and was able to make money for charity. Blue Jackets fans put up over $5000 for their “Money on the Board” fundraiser and with the win, the Jackets team is matching their output to give money to the Blue Jackets Foundation. The Jackets got the win in the shootout after Antoine Vermette was able to beat Joey MacDonald. MacDonald got into the game because Jimmy Howard left in the first period with a bruised knee.

It was a rough game for Detroit as they found out after it was over that Tomas Holmstrom broke his hand and will be out indefinitely. Detroit will have to bounce back fast as they’ll play the Jackets again tomorrow night.  Grant Clitsome and Jakub Voracek scored for Columbus while Drew Miller and Jiri Hudler scored for Detroit. Steve Mason stopped 26 shots in the win.

Colorado 4 – Minnesota 1

With the Wild having health issues with their goalies, Anton Khudobin was called up and tasked with the job of having to stop one of the league’s top offenses. After two periods, it was clear that wouldn’t happen as the Avalanche jumped out to a 3-0 lead and the Wild left the ice to a chorus of boos. The Avalanche got stellar goaltending out of Craig Anderson for the first time in a long time as Anderson stopped 32 shots in the win. Khudobin, on the other hand, stopped just 14 shots and gave up an embarrassing goal in the second period to Tomas Fleischmann on an innocent dump in.

The game was marred by an ugly incident involving Ryan O’Reilly as he lost an edge and crashed head first into the boards. He was taken from the ice on a stretcher and taken to the hospital for observation. Good news for him, however, as he flew home with the team to Denver.

Calgary 3 – Ottawa 2

Don’t let the score fool you, this game wasn’t exactly close. The Flames got two goals from David Moss and a third goal from Ales Kotalik to ice the Senators in the second period. Henrik Karlsson made it stand up with 33 saves on the night. The Senators made it close in the third with goals from Nick Foligno and Milan Michalek, but Michalek’s goal came with under a minute to go and the Senators already skating uphill to get back in it.

For Ottawa it’s an especially poor effort coming off their win over the Islanders to snap their losing streak. It’s apparently a poor enough effort to get the Ottawa Sun to call for coach Cory Clouston to be fired for starting Brian Elliott tonight instead of 19 year-old rookie Robin Lehner.

The Panthers are healthy scratching Bolland, and he is their highest-paid forward, but they insist they’re not sending a message

Dave Bolland, Derek Nansen
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It feels like there’s a story brewing in Florida, where Dave Bolland — the team’s most-expensive forward, at $5.5 million a season — has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games.

But according to head coach Gerard Gallant, there’s nothing to see here. Move along.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” Gallant said, per the Miami Herald. “He sat out, our team is playing well. There’s nothing more than that. We have to sit two guys and I like the way we’re playing. The next game is a different game. We may change something up, who knows.”

Bolland had just one goal and five points in 18 games prior to getting parked in the press box. Well, technically he got dropped to the fourth line before hitting the press box, but you get the idea. He’s not exactly in Gallant’s good graces.

Not helping Bolland’s case is the fact that, as Gallant pointed out, the club is playing pretty well without him. The Panthers have rebounded from a rough start to November by winning back-to-back games against the Islanders and Red Wings, which set them up nicely for the remainder of this current five-game road swing.

Florida has games still to play in St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus and New Jersey. It’ll be interesting to see when — or, if — he draws back into the lineup.

In closing, a reminder that Bolland’s in the second of a five-year, $27.5 million deal.

Canucks rookie Virtanen exits with upper-body injury, won’t return


After sitting out Friday’s game in Dallas, Vancouver’s Jake Virtanen had to be excited at drawing back in for tonight’s game against the Ducks.

Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long.

Virtanen suffered an upper-body injury after playing just 1:45 in the opening frame, and was ruled out of the contest during the intermission. It’s unclear exactly what happened, but it looks like Virtanen was injured on a hit by Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf.

Virtanen didn’t take another shift following the incident, and Getzlaf was given a minor penalty on the play.

While we don’t know what the injury is or it’s severity, losing Virtanen for any length of time would have ramifications for the Canucks and this year’s Canadian entry at the World Juniors. There has been talk of Virtanen possibly being released by the Canucks to participate in the tournament; last year, he was part of the team that captured gold in Montreal and Toronto.

Virtanen has played in 18 games for the Canucks this year, scoring one goal and four points while averaging 10:17 TOI per night.

McLellan sounds off on Oilers after shutout loss in Toronto

Todd McLellan

Edmonton lost for the fourth time in five games on Monday, a 3-0 defeat in Toronto that marked the second time in a week the Oilers have been shut out.

Needless to say, the head coach wasn’t happy.

In a fairly blunt and harsh assessment aimed at a variety of players, Todd McLellan had some choice words for what he called a “disappointing” effort.

Some of the more choice quotes:

“I didn’t think we were a very hard team. I didn’t think we stood over a lot of pucks. I didn’t think we won a lot of battles along the boards. I didn’t think we were competitive enough in a lot of areas.”

“When I look at the trip as a whole, we had some key, key people really under-perform on the trip. Significant minus numbers, not hitting the score sheet. It can’t always be the [Leon DraisaitlTaylor Hall line] that provides that.”

It’s fair to suggest that last one was directed at Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle.

Nugent-Hopkins has just two points and zero goals in his last five games, with a minus-8 rating. Eberle is pointless entirely, and also at minus-8 over the same stretch.

They’re hardly the only Oilers not pulling their weight at the moment, however. Edmonton has lost 15 times in its first 25 games, a figure that suggests there are more problems that just a couple of underachieving forwards.

Just ask McLellan, who all but admitted his team has issues matching up.

“We’re not where we need to be,” he said. “We’ve got work to do as a team, work to do as an organization to get bigger, stronger, harder, and physically win more battles than we lose.”

Roy: Avs ‘need, expect more’ from Varlamov


The tough times continue for Semyon Varlamov.

After another unsuccessful outing on Monday — allowing four goals on 27 shots in a loss to the Islanders — Varlamov was subjected to a familiar refrain: Patrick Roy saying the Avs need more from their No. 1 netminder.


You can hear all of the head coach’s comments in the video above but, for brevity’s sake, here’s the Varlamov stuff:

“It’s not easy for him. Obviously we need that extra save and we didn’t get it on the road. It’s hard to win if you’re giving four goals on the road.

“We just need more from him. He’s our No. 1 guy and we’re behind him, but we need, we expect more from him.”

There has to be serious concern about Varlamov right now, if there wasn’t already.

His save percentage through seven games in November (.891) is marginally better than it was through seven games in October (.889), and that’s not the only alarming stat. Varlamov’s yet to record a shutout this year, yet to record back-to-back victories and has given up at least three goals in six of his last seven starts.

Not good.

Compounding things for Colorado are the standings. The Avs are now 9-14-1 and mired in the Central Division basement, meaning that — if they have any hope of going on a tear and getting back into playoff content — they’ll need to do it soon.

Which means they might not have the time, or the patience, for Varlamov to find his game.