Riding the Zamboni – Tuesday, January 18th

Boston 3 – Carolina 2

It wasn’t the 7-0 blowout they had on Monday, but it was still Tim Thomas’ show to behold. This time around it wouldn’t be a shutout but rather a 43-save effort to make sure the Bruins came away with two points. Thomas’ ridiculous night in goal might be a one-game highlight reel why he’ll have a shot at being the runaway winner of the Vezina Trophy this year. While the Hurricanes played much better than they did yesterday, Jussi Jokinen and Chad LaRose’s goals wouldn’t be enough. Johnny Boychuk earned his first goal of the season for Boston while Milan Lucic got his first goal in 13 games. Lucic’s power play goal in the third proved to be the game winner.

Buffalo 2 – Montreal 1 (F/OT)

An overly physical and chippy game between these two saw the Habs lose Mike Cammalleri and Max Pacioretty to separate injuries in the first period and play on and off shorthanded with other guys getting banged up. In the end, Carey Price’s 37 saves weren’t good enough to get the win for the Habs as Jason Pominville’s relatively easy goal in overtime won it for Buffalo. Tyler Ennis also scored for Buffalo while David Desharnais had Montreal’s lone goal. Ryan Miller played strong for Buffalo stopping 29 shots in the win.

Philadelphia 3 – Washington 2 (F/OT)

In a tight game between two of the East’s best teams, it would be an unlikely hero coming away in overtime for Philly. Andrej Meszaros’ snipe in the extra session propelled the Flyers to victory. Philly jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Jeff Carter and Claude Giroux, but the Caps stormed back in the third thanks to quick goals from Mike Knuble and Alex Ovechkin. Sergei Bobrovsky was the difference maker for Philly stopping 23 shots in the win. Semyon Varlamov replaced Michal Neuvirth after the first period due to an injury and made 20 saves taking the loss. Neuvirth stopped seven of eight shots he saw.

Pittsburgh 4 – Detroit 1

With an extreme lack of star power, what has become one of the marquee games on the calendar seemed much less thrilling. The Penguins were able to take advantage of Wings de facto starter due to injury Joey MacDonald getting goals from Jordan Staal, Chris Conner, Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke to take out the Wings. Marc-Andre Fleury was strong in net stopping 36 shots and keeping a injury-laden but active Detroit team at bay. Johan Franzen had Detroit’s lone goal, his 19th on the season.

Colorado 4 – Vancouver 3 (F/OT)

What once looked like it would be a shootout kind of game (the high-scoring variety, not the skills competition kind) with the teams tied 3-3 after two periods, turned into one thrilling yet still sloppy third period and overtime. In overtime though it would be an uncharacteristic penalty from Henrik Sedin that led to David Jones scoring his second goal of the game to give the Avs the win. Craig Anderson was a stud for Colorado stopping 40 shots to get the win over the West leading Canucks.

St. Louis 2 – Los Angeles 1

The Kings can’t seem to solve the Blues this year and this time around it might cause a shakeup in L.A. Erik Johnson’s third period goal snapped a 1-1 tie and Jaroslav Halak made it stand up making 26 saves. Jon Quick was the hard-luck loser saving 24 shots while Kyle Clifford got the Kings only goal. The loss makes the Kings 2-9-0 in their last 11 games and have sent them to the bottom of the Pacific Division standings.

Nashville 5 – Phoenix 2

It was J.P. Dumont’s world in Phoenix. Dumont netted a hat trick to lead the way for the Predators while Patric Hornqvist had a pair of goals. The offensive output was huge for the Preds and something Pekka Rinne didn’t really needed as he made 32 saves in the win. For Phoenix, they fail to gain ground on Dallas and Ilya Bryzgalov made just 16 saves in the loss.

Tampa Bay 3 – Columbus 2 (F/SO)

Steve Stamkos proves that, yes, he’s still around. Stamkos had two goals in leading the Lightning into the shootout where Ryan Malone would net the winner for Tampa Bay. For Stamkos, that gives him 35 goals this season and he extends his league lead while Sidney Crosby is out. Dwayne Roloson did well to earn the win stopping 28 shots in regulation and keeping Columbus off the board in the shootout. R.J. Umberger and Derick Brassard had Columbus’ goals. Mathieu Garon stopped 20 shots in the loss.

Anaheim 2 – Ottawa 1 (F/SO)

A mostly boring game saw three Ducks standout above all. Corey Perry’s highlight goal was their only one in regulation, while Bobby Ryan’s was the game-winner in the shootout. The star, as always of late, was goalie Jonas Hiller. Hiller made 39 saves and shut things down in the shootout to preserve the win for Anaheim. Mike Fisher had Ottawa’s lone goal while Brian Elliott made 26 saves in the tough loss.

Minnesota 4 – Edmonton 1

Another win for Anton Khudobin in goal. Khudobin made 31 saves to beat Edmonton but had his shutout bid spoiled late thanks to an Oilers power play goal. Yes, they scored one tonight breaking a streak of 44 straight power plays without a goal. The Oilers got the power play thanks to Minnesota’s Brad Staubitz getting an instigator penalty with under five minutes to play.

Look at what Rangers are up against right now

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You have to really squint to find bright sides to look on if you’re the New York Rangers.

The Rangers are currently on a five-game losing streak and have one shabby win to show for their first eight games of 2017-18, and they’ll shortly face a challenge in the Nashville Predators, who are riding a five-game point streak (4-0-1 after losing their first two games).

With six of those eight games coming at home, the Rangers are really squandering opportunities in the malicious Metro. About the only positive things you can say boil down to: a) scrapping two “loser points” out of the past two games and b) the team at least saying the right things, as Rick Nash notes according to the New York Post’s Larry Brooks.

“The bad teams I’ve been on, guys get away from the game plan, they don’t give the effort and there’s finger-pointing, whether in the room between guys; from the coach; or in the media. That’s what happens when things get away from you as a team.

“None of that is happening here,” Nash said. “We’re together and we’re focusing on taking this one step at a time.”

They might be wise not to look at the divisional standings. Just consider some of the teams they’re up against:

Devils (12 points in 8 games): New Jersey currently has a perfect road record and a fleet of young legs, something the transitional Rangers must envy. Even if they’re likely to slip (being blanked by the Sharks could be an early sign of regression), the Devils figure to be a tougher out this season.

Penguins (11 points in 8 games): Not much needs to be said, though it’s worth noting that they’ve won three in a row.

Blue Jackets (10 points in 7 games): All signs point to former Rangers coach John Tortorella’s group being very much the threat that once surprised us.

Capitals (9 points in 8 games): Finding ways to win, and scrappy in particular on the road so far (3-1-1 away record).

Flyers (8 points in 7 games): Might be better than their record indicates, at least judging by their +9 goal differential. Philly has the potential to at least be a pesky “bubble” team.

Hurricanes (7 points in 5 games): Light early schedule might keep them under the radar, for now.

Islanders (7 points in 7 games): Mixed results might not help the Islanders retain John Tavares, but a competent Isles team would only make it tougher for the Rangers.

Yeesh, kind of discouraging, right?

The Rangers currently sit at four points in eight games played, and like this post argues, they really need to wake up soon. They’ve already played six home vs. two road contests, and they face a similar saturation of MSG going forward.

Counting today’s game hosting the rising Predators, the Rangers play the next three in a row at home. After that, they play three of four on the road, but then enjoy a three-game homestand.

So, by Nov. 11, they’ll have played 13 games at home and just five on the road.

One gets the sense that the seat is getting hotter for Alain Vigneault by the day. Fair or not, it might feel like it’s boiling if the Rangers are still a wreck in mid-November.

(If he still has a seat at the table, at all.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

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Devils fans help singer who forgot words to national anthem (Video)

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The biggest save of the night at Prudential Center on Friday didn’t come from either goaltender, but rather New Jersey Devils fans in attendance for their game against the San Jose Sharks.

Lauralie Mufute began singing the national anthem but midway through forgot the words. That’s when the crowd of 14,381 picked up where the 14-year-old left off and finished the song.

A great job by the crowd in what certainly was a terrifying moment for the young performer.

These flaps happen, as we’ve seen many times before in different situations. It’s always good to know the crowd can act as backup singers in times of need.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

The Buzzer: Ovechkin’s blast lifts Capitals in OT, Sheary speeds by Panthers

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Player of the night: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

Alex Ovechkin has already reached double digits in goals scored in this new campaign. The Capitals’ star recorded his 10th goal of the season on Friday and it counted as the overtime winner against the Detroit Red Wings.

The Capitals trailed late in the third period, but T.J. Oshie scored the tying goal and Ovechkin won it on a power play less than two minutes into the extra period, as he deployed that famous one-timer slap shot from his off-wing. This time, Petr Mrazek was victimized by the wicked slapper.

Ovechkin is now only two goals behind the entire Montreal Canadiens team — in the same amount of games.

Highlight of the night:

What a weapon speed is in today’s National Hockey League. Conor Sheary illustrated that once again, as he saw a little bit of room down the left side and flew around Alex Petrovic before making a move to the backhand on James Reimer. That goal counted as the eventual winner, as the Penguins defeated the Panthers 4-3. Earlier in the third period, Sheary and Roberto Luongo came together near the Florida net, causing Luongo’s right hand to get caught against the post, injuring the Panthers’ netminder.

Factoid of the night:

It was a milestone night in Winnipeg for Blake Wheeler and coach Paul Maurice.

Scores:

Vancouver 4, Buffalo 2

San Jose 3, New Jersey 0

Washington 4, Detroit 3 (OT)

Pittsburgh 4, Florida 3

Winnipeg 4, Minnesota 3

Anaheim 6, Montreal 2

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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Video: Price takes out his frustration, as the Habs were crushed again

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It’s gone from bad, to worse, to an absolute nightmare for the Montreal Canadiens.

A three-game trip through California is never fun for opposing teams, but this was misery for the Habs. They were outscored a combined 16-5 in three games against the Sharks, Kings and Ducks, with few, if any positives beyond the second period in a 6-2 loss in Anaheim on Friday.

Montreal hasn’t won since its season opener on Oct. 5, and is now on a seven-game losing skid, unable to generate much offensively with a league worst 10 goals scored through seven games before tonight, while giving up plenty of goals at the other end.

That is a recipe for disaster and even though it’s still early in the season, this has to be a major concern for coach Claude Julien and, in particular, general manager Marc Bergevin.

Read more: Is there a trade to be made between the Penguins and Canadiens?

Down by three after the first period, Montreal had 30 shots on goal during the middle frame and managed to trim Anaheim’s lead down to one heading into the third period. And then, just when it seemed like maybe they were on a path toward an inspirational comeback on the road, it all fell apart.

Three straight goals for Anaheim, with journeyman forward Derek Grant scoring the first two goals of his NHL career — in game No. 93.

As you can probably tell from the clip below, Carey Price was visibly irritated, as he whacked his goalie stick against the post after the sixth Anaheim goal.

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Cam Tucker is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @CamTucker_Sport.

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