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.

Christian Ehrhoff signs with Kolner Haie in Germany

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 27: Christian Ehrhoff #10 of Team Europe looks on against Team Canada during the second period during Game One of the World Cup of Hockey final series at Air Canada Centre on September 27, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Christian Ehrhoff is finally under contract for this season, but not in the NHL.

Ehrhoff, 34, signed with Kolner Haie in Germany, the team announced via Twitter on Monday.

Most recently, Ehrhoff was with the Boston Bruins on a professional tryout (PTO) prior to the beginning of the season, but he opted not to sign with that club, instead deciding to return home to Germany.

Ehrhoff also suited up for Team Europe at this fall’s World Cup of Hockey.

In 789 NHL games, the puck-moving defenseman scored 74 goals and 339 points. His most productive seasons came with the Vancouver Canucks, as he helped that team to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011.

As expected, Avalanche recall highly touted prospect Rantanen

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 21:  Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to facing the Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center on October 21, 2015 in Denver, Colorado. The Hurricanes defeated the Avalanche 1-0 in overtime.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

Last week, it was reported that Colorado Avalanche forward prospect Mikko Rantanen would re-join the team at some point this week.

On Monday, the Avalanche made good on that plan, recalling Rantanen, the 2015 first-round pick, from San Antonio in the American Hockey League.

The move comes after Toronto claimed Colorado forward Ben Smith off waivers, opening a spot up front for Colorado.

Rantanen’s season got off to an unfortunate start. He suffered a sprained ankle in a rookie tournament, and was eventually sent down to the minors to get some playing time after coming back from the injury.

It’s expected that Rantanen, who had an impressive rookie campaign in the minors with the Rampage despite still being a teenager, will be put into a top-six role right away for the Avalanche, which is averaging 3.2 goals a game early on.

He scored 24 goals and 60 points in 52 games in the AHL last season, and had a small taste of the NHL. He began the season with the Avalanche, and was later recalled from the minors in the middle of March when Nathan MacKinnon went out with a knee injury.

Rantanen, who later this week will turn 20 years old, didn’t register a point in nine games with the Avalanche last season. But he still did get that experience, as well as most of an AHL season under his belt, which could serve him well this time around.

Given he is a 10th overall selection, and his numbers in Europe before the draft and in the minors as an NHL prospect, there are high expectations for what Rantanen could potentially do at the big-league level for an Avalanche team that already boasts highly skilled playmakers like MacKinnon, Matt Duchene, Gabriel Landeskog and Tyson Barrie.

The Avalanche are in the midst of a break in their schedule, with five days between games.

They don’t play again until Friday, when they host the Winnipeg Jets, so Rantanen’s season debut in Colorado will have to wait at least until then.

Canucks recall training camp standout Stecher

Vancouver Canucks' Alexander Edler, of Sweden; Joseph Labate; Alexis D'Aoust; James Sheppard; and Troy Stecher, from left, celebrate Labate's goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period of an NHL hockey preseason game Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2016, in Vancouver, British Columbia. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)
Leave a comment

Didn’t take Troy Stecher long to get back up to the NHL.

Stecher, the undrafted free agent out of North Dakota that starred for Vancouver in the preseason, has been recalled from AHL Utica along with forward Jayson Megna.

The Canucks needed some fresh bodies from the farm following injuries to Alex Burrows, Derek Dorsett and, most distressingly, defenseman Chris Tanev. Tanev took a bad spill into the boards during Sunday’s loss to Anaheim, and appeared to be in serious discomfort.

If he’s out for any length of time, it could be a problem.

The 26-year-old is one of Vancouver’s top blueliners and a valued defensive defenseman. He’s averaging over 20 minutes per night this year, and is coming off a campaign in which he scored 18 points in 69 games, while averaging a career-best 21:45 TOI per night.

Stecher, 22, could draw into the lineup for Tuesday’s home date against Ottawa as Tanev’s replacement, or the Canucks could give towering Russian rearguard Nikita Tryamkin his season debut.

Tryamkin, who appeared in 13 games for Vancouver last year, has yet to dress but also refused assignment to Utica (he has an out clause allowing him to return to the KHL rather than report to the minors.)

Update: General manager Jim Benning confirmed to Ben Kuzma of The Province that Burrows and Dorsett have been placed on injured reserve, and will be out a minimum of seven days.

Canucks’ Tryamkin refuses AHL assignment, would prefer to be a healthy scratch apparently

EDMONTON, AB - APRIL 6:  Connor McDavid #97 of the Edmonton Oilers battles against Nikita Tryamkin #88 of the Vancouver Canucks on April 6, 2016 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The game was the final game the Oilers played at Rexall Place before moving to Rogers Place next season. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)

The Vancouver Canucks have an interesting situation with big Russian defenseman Nikita Tryamkin. Six games into season, the 22-year-old defenseman has yet to get into the lineup, and he’s been brandishing the KHL out-clause in his contract by refusing an assignment to the AHL.

“There is no possibility that he will play in the American Hockey League,” GM Jim Benning said this weekend, per the Vancouver Sun. “We’ve explored that. We’ve talked to him and his agent and he has said no. In a perfect world, we’d like him to get some games (in the minors). But it is what it is. He is working hard in practice and doing extra work.”

Tryamkin was the 66th overall pick in the 2014 draft, an enticing project with size and strength, one who naturally drew comparisons to Zdeno Chara. He came to North America late last season, after his fourth KHL campaign with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg had finished, and played 13 games (1G, 1A) for the Canucks down the (meaningless) stretch.

It remains to be seen when he’ll get into a game again. Chris Tanev got banged up Sunday in Anaheim and is questionable for tomorrow’s home date against Ottawa, but Tanev is more likely to be replaced by Alex Biega, who played as a forward against the Ducks.

Tryamkin, meanwhile, will likely have to sit and wait. Unless he gets bored enough to go to Utica, which is where the Canucks would like him anyway.

Per Cap Friendly, Tryamkin’s contract pays him $925,000 in the NHL versus $70,000 in the AHL. He can become a restricted free agent after the season is over, which would allow him to return to the KHL should he choose to do so.