Boston Bruins v Los Angeles Kings

Riding the Zamboni – January 24th; Quick shuts out Boston, Calgary back in the hunt?

Los Angeles 2 – Boston 0

It was a battle between goalies that have been doing everything they can to keep their teams in games and they both showed why they’re good at what they do. It’d be Jon Quick getting the W tonight though stopping all 34 shots he faced in earning his fifth shutout of the year in a 2-0 win over Boston. Tim Thomas also played spectacularly stopping 32 shots. Only Ryan Smyth’s power play goal and Andrei Loktionov’s second goal of the season eluded Thomas as the Kings won their second straight game. For Boston, despite all the shots it wasn’t a very cohesive game and they were lacking a little something. They’ll have to hope that it’s not a sign of things to come as they’ll be without Marc Savard for an indefinite amount of time with a concussion.

Colorado 4 – St. Louis 3

It wasn’t their best effort but it was a win nonetheless and the hero of the game is a guy who was a healthy scratch on and off for the last couple weeks. Brandon Yip scored twice for Colorado as they were able to hold off a late rally by St. Louis to get the win. Kevin Shattenkirk’s power play goal in the third broke a 2-2 tie while Ryan Stoa’s goal 44 seconds later provided the game winner. David Backes would score with under two minutes to play to cut the lead and Peter Budaj would make a tremendous stop in the waning seconds to keep the Blues from tying it. Budaj finished the game with 21 saves to get the win. Jaroslav Halak stopped 28 shots in the loss.

NY Rangers 2 – Washington 1 (F/SO)

Calgary 3 – Nashville 1

Very quietly the Calgary Flames are getting themselves back into the playoff picture in the West. Their win over Nashville tonight was their third straight win and gives them 52 points on the season, four back of Colorado and Chicago for seventh and eighth in the conference. Curtis Glencross, Jarome Iginla, and Brendan Morrison each had a goal while Matthew Stajan and Alex Tanguay had two assists each to keep Calgary rolling. Miikka Kiprusoff was solid stopping 23 shots giving up only a goal to David Legwand. The Predators fail to gain more ground on Central leading Detroit with the loss. Pekka Rinne stopped 24 shots in a losing effort.

Vancouver 7 – Dallas 1

Carolina 6 – Toronto 4

A wild game in Raleigh helps set the tone for the upcoming All-Star Game by seeing guys who definitely aren’t considered as much taking center stage. Brandon Sutter scored two goals to lead the Hurricanes to victory while Tim Brent scored two of his own including a stunning shot-fake deke of Cam Ward while shorthanded to give the Leafs hope early on. Brent finished the game with three points. Meanwhile, Jean-Sebastien Giguere was mediocre for Toronto stopping just 21 shots in the loss. The win pulled Carolina to within one point of Atlanta for the eighth spot in the East. The East doesn’t quite have the mass hysteria in the mix for the playoffs, but things might play out very fun with a sense of elimination if nine or ten teams are actual playoff threats.

Video: Reimer, Allen shut down dangerous one-timers

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 09:  James Reimer #34 of the Florida Panthers makes a save during a game against the Los Angeles Kings at BB&T Center on February 9, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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In an ideal world, goalie equipment wouldn’t be such an issue. Teams would be able to “get goalies moving” with great passing and chances just about no one could stop.

Then again, there are also those saves that a select handful of humans can pull off. A big reason why there’s only been one goal between the Panthers and Blues tonight is the lateral movement shown by both James Reimer and Jake Allen.

First, watch as Reimer robs Jori Lehtera on what’s likely the save of the night:

Allen really hasn’t been that far behind Reimer, right down to making a similar stop:

Considering the two nearly identical one-timer goals scored by Arizona against Anaheim in finding seams for big passes through opposing defenses, tonight’s goalies might want to do some extra stretching during intermissions.

Dvorak, Coyotes put Ducks in early hole with slick goals (Video)

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 11:  Connor Murphy #5 (second from left) of the Arizona Coyotes celebrates with Alexander Burmistrov #91, Shane Doan #19 and Christian Dvorak #18 after Murphy scored the game winning goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime of the NHL game at Gila River Arena on February 11, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.  The Coyotes defeated the Penguins 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Arizona Coyotes’ happy thoughts are mostly centered on the future. Christian Dvorak possibly being more than a guy who put up nice junior numbers with Matthew Tkachuk and Mitch Marner could fuel some really nice thoughts.

He’s been red-hot in February, in particular, including a goal already tonight as the Coyotes raced off to an early 2-0 lead against the Anaheim Ducks.

Check out that smooth play for his 10th goal of 2016-17:

Again, he’s been on quite the roll lately.

February: nine points (and counting?) in nine games
Rest of the season: 13 points in 45 games

He only had one assist in 12 January contests, so this outburst is even more unexpected than the Coyotes racing off to this lead.

Interestingly, the Coyotes two goals looked awfully similar, at least in the finish:

Randy Carlyle’s mood? Probably not too chipper right now.

Brooks Laich wants another crack at NHL (with or without Leafs)

TORONTO, ON - FEBRUARY 29:  Brooks Laich #23 of the Toronto Maple Leafs waits for a puck drop against the Tampa Bay Lightning during an NHL game at the Air Canada Centre on February 29, 2016 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.  The Lightning defeated the Maple Leafs 2-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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Brooks Laich wants another shot at playing in the NHL. As he told The Atlantic TO (sub required), if that means being traded from the Toronto Maple Leafs, then so be it.

“You don’t win a Stanley Cup playing in the American Hockey League,” Laich said. “If the Leafs don’t have a plan for me with them, I would like to pursue a Stanley Cup somewhere else.”

Interesting.

Laich’s biased take: he has plenty more to give at the highest level.

Hmm, that … seems a little crazy. Few players see their best days at age 33 and beyond.

But what about his work with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies? Maybe he’s killing it there.

Well, if he is, his contributions aren’t showing in the simple counting stats. In 22 games this season, Laich has one goal and six points. He isn’t even firing a shot on goal per game (just 17 in those 22 contests).

Now, Laich wouldn’t sell you on his scoring skills. Face-offs might not be much of a calling card, either.

So … it’s easier to understand why he’s struggling to get a foothold in his career. Laich isn’t much of a scorer, isn’t dominant on the draw and isn’t someone who’s shown a history of dramatically tilting the ice in his team’s favor.

Does that mean he can’t be a fourth-line center, or failing that, at least a depth forward? Laich could conceivably be helpful to some team, even if it’s difficult to imagine anyone giving up anything but a minor asset for him.

And, yes, it’s crazy to imagine him exceeding anything he did with the Washington Capitals.

Avalanche say ankle injury ends Nikita Zadorov’s season

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche congratulates Matt Duchene #9 after his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center on December 14, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As if the Colorado Avalanche needed another miserable element to 2016-17: Nikita Zadorov suffered a season-ending injury during the same practice that Erik Johnson returned.

Zadorov injured his ankle after being tangled up with Mikko Rantanen during a Monday practice, according to the Denver Post.

Update: The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports that it’s a fractured ankle. Yikes.

Zadorov, 21, is a big defenseman with the pedigree that would inspire teams to imagine better things in the future (16th pick in 2013 by Buffalo). So far, that potential hasn’t really manifested itself in production, whether you judge a player by points, plus/minus or possession numbers.

He may be able to put it together at some point – again, he’s young – so perhaps he’ll remember this as a low point before he turns things around.

At the moment, it’s just another grim part of a bleak time for the Avs.