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.

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Wednesday, April 26

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The second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs is set to begin on Wednesday, and the NBC Sports Group has you covered with wall-to-wall coverage.

After disposing of the Calgary Flames in the first round, the Anaheim Ducks will look to take down another team from Alberta, while two red-hot goalies, Jake Allen and Pekka Rinne, go head-to-head.

Here’s what you need to know:

Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online here)

Edmonton Oilers vs. Anaheim Ducks 

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream online)

Report: Canadiens to sign KHL defenseman Jakub Jerabek

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Just four days after being eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, it looks like the Montreal Canadiens’ front office is already hard at work.

The Habs have reportedly agreed to terms with Chekhov Vityaz defenseman Jakub Jerabek, according to KHL reporter Aivis Kalnins.

No official announcement has been made because Jerabek still has four days remaining on his current KHL contract.

The 25-year-old isn’t big (5-foot-10, 180 pounds), but his numbers suggest he’s got a good blend of offensive ability, while playing with an edge.

In his first KHL season, Jerabek scored five goals, 29 assists and accumulated 56 penalty minutes in 59 games.

He had spent the previous eight years with Plzen HC over in the Czech League.

Montreal has plenty of defensemen on their roster, but with the expansion draft and free agency on the horizon, that could change fairly quickly.

Veteran Andrei Markov is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent, but it would be shocking to see him go. Alexei Emelin, Shea Weber, Jeff Petry, Jordie Benn and Brandon Davidson are all signed, while Nathan Beaulieu and Nikita Nesterov are both set to become restricted free agents.

In Beaulieu and Nesterov’s case, there’s a decent chance they won’t be back with the club next year.

Last year’s ninth overall pick, Mikhail Sergachev, will also be looking to make a full-time leap to the NHL in 2017-18, so Jerabek isn’t a slam dunk to become a regular.

PHT Morning Skate: Five under-the-radar coaching candidates

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–We don’t often see franchise players hit the open market, but next summer could be intriguing in that regard. Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” blog focuses on the Islanders’ future with or without John Tavares, and what direction the team could be heading in. Friedman also touches on Joel Quenneville’s job security in Chicago and much more. (Sportsnet)

–Some hockey fans have begun questioning the importance of winning faceoffs, but the Anaheim Ducks aren’t among those who doubt the importance of winning draws. “If you start with the puck, you can use it to your advantage on the offensive side of the game. When you’re trying to protect a lead and starting with the puck, you’re killing their momentum that they’re trying to build.” (OC Register)

–Even though it’s been almost 30 years since Wayne Gretzky has suited up for the Edmonton Oilers, he still gets pretty intense during their playoff games. We’ve all gotten to see the footage of a nervous-looking Gretzky watching the Oilers play, and he’s definitely not just putting on a show. “It’s an emotional game and I’ve always been sort of an emotional guy. It’s exciting. Back in Edmonton, the city is on fire. The Oilers are playing with a great deal of passion. You can’t help but get caught up in that passion. That’s what it’s all about. (Edmonton Journal)

–There’s a couple of teams still looking for new head coaches at this point, and Sportsnet’s Ryan Dixon brings up five off-the-board candidates that could step in and get an NHL job very soon. With the success the Capitals have had over the last few seasons, it’s not surprising to see their associate coach Todd Reirden and assistant Lane Lambert get some recognition. (Sportsnet)

–Speaking of people flying under the radar, USA Today looks at eight players that could surprisingly make a huge difference for their teams in the second round. With the injury to Karl Alzner in Washington, Nate Schmidt could eat up some important minutes for the Caps. Pens forward Jake Guentzel, who was terrific in the first round against Columbus, may need to help shoulder the offensive burden. (USA Today)

–Smaller goalie equipment was supposed to make life harder for netminders, but has it had the opposite effect? Since the equipment change became mandatory on Feb. 4, scoring went down by 0.03 goals-per-game. The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell suggests that if the NHL wants to add more scoring, they may be better off making goalies wear bigger equipment. (The Hockey News)

Bruce Cassidy officially named head coach of the Bruins

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Bruce Cassidy wanted it, and now he’s got it.

On Wednesday morning, Cassidy was officially named the 28th head coach of the Boston Bruins.

He really helped turn Boston’s season around after taking over for Claude Julien, who was fired on Feb. 9. Cassidy led the Bruins to an 18-8-1 record in 33 games behind the bench.

Despite being without a number of key players like Torey Krug, Brandon Carlo, David Krejci and others, Cassidy’s Bruins managed to push the Senators before eventually being eliminated in six games in the opening round of the playoffs.

“Obviously we’re talking (the players) about pretty much everything when we’re out shooting the bull, and a lot of guys liked him,” forward David Backes said on Tuesday, per NESN. “He was put into a tough situation — being out of the playoff race, maybe just chasing at the point he takes over to try to take a team and get in … and you figure the way the business works, that he’s probably coaching for his life to make a splash and show that he can be a difference-maker or else who knows what the future holds for him? I think he did a heck of a job, and his results are what a coach should be judged on.”

Cassidy did some impressive work over the final three months of the campaign. Under his watch, the team finished first in goals-per-game (3.37), first in fewest shots allowed (741), tied for second in wins (18), tied for second in power play percentage (27.8), tied for third in goals allowed per game (2.30), and they ranked sixth in takeaways (229).

Prior to joining Julien’s staff as an assistant at the start of the 2016-17 season, Cassidy spent five years as head coach of Boston’s AHL team in Providence.

This is the second head coaching job for the 51-year-old at the NHL level. He previously served as head coach of the Washington Capitals for parts of two seasons (2002-03 to 2003-04).