Columbus 3 – Detroit 0
Every now and again Steve Mason reminds us why he was the rookie of the year two seasons ago. Tonight was that night as Mason stopped 34 shots to earn his second shutout of the year. Mason was backed up by goals from Antoine Vermette, Jared Boll, and an empty netter from Andrew Murray as the Blue Jackets snapped a two-game skid. For Detroit, Jimmy Howard stopped 21 shots in the loss. Vermette and Murray finished the game with two points each.
Pittsburgh 3 – Buffalo 2
Buffalo jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Paul Gaustad and Mike Grier, but as the Penguins have been doing with Sidney Crosby out of the lineup, they fight back and that’s what they did in the second period. Dustin Jeffrey, Tyler Kennedy, and Matt Cooke each scored in a span of 3:14 to give Pittsburgh a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. Ryan Miller did all he could to keep Buffalo in it stopping 36 shots, but Marc-Andre Fleury would take home the win after making 27 saves. Evgeni Malkin’s first game back to action was a short one as he left the game in the second period with a lower body injury. The win is the Penguins fifth in a row and they’ll head to Washington on Sunday for their afternoon showdown on NBC with the Capitals.
Washington 5 – Tampa Bay 2
Florida 4 – New Jersey 3 (F/OT)
Florida’s been snake bitten by fluke goals and funny bounces all year and they saw their fair share of those tonight against the Devils. Tonight, though, they were able to overcome all that and earn an overtime win thanks to Rostislav Olesz’s goal in the extra session. Tomas Vokoun saw two odd hops off the boards lead to Devils goals by Travis Zajac and Jason Arnott and a floating knuckler of a shot by Mark Fayne to get by him to make the Panthers believe if they didn’t have bad luck they wouldn’t have any luck at all. Vokoun was strong otherwise though stopping 28 shots. Chris Higgins, Dennis Wideman, and Mike Santorelli would score for Florida in regulation. Johan Hedberg stopped just 25 shots in the loss for New Jersey.
Vancouver 4 – Chicago 3
St. Louis 5 – Edmonton 3
At one point, St. Louis held a 4-1 lead on the Oilers thanks to goals from T.J. Oshie, Alex Pietrangelo, Matt D’Agostini, and Brad Boyes but the Oilers would sum up their pride and bounce back after goals by Taylor Hall and Theo Peckham to cut the lead to 4-3. Ty Conklin would make sure it held up though as he held off the Oilers the rest of the way making 29 saves in all to earn the win in a surprise start as Jaroslav Halak was out with a minor injury. Devan Dubnyk had a rough night saving just 21 shots for the Oilers.
It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.
The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.
Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?
(If you’re into that kind of thing.)
Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form:
Even with two games in hand, some might be surprised to see the Washington Capitals tied with the Boston Bruins in standings points in early December.
That’s the case on Wednesday Night Rivalry, as a somewhat up-and-down Capitals team (which is glad to welcome T.J. Oshie back) hosts a Bruins squad that’s riding a three-game winning streak.
It should be an interesting matchup on NBCSN, which you can also watch online or via the NBC Sports App.
Click here for the livestream.
No one wants to hear “It could be worse” when injuries are really piling up, but … uh, it could be worse for the New York Rangers.
At least, it could have been worse for Rick Nash. The team announced that he’s only expected to miss about a week after undergoing an MRI related to a groin injury.
It’s been a redemptive season for Nash, so it’s nice to see that it isn’t getting totally derailed. Granted, injuries like these can linger even if a guy returns to the lineup, so we’ll need to see if he gets back to 100 percent.
The Rangers certainly aren’t at full-strength right now. Their laundry list of injured forwards is quite daunting, even for a team with vaunted depth at that position:
(It sounds like Pavel Buchnevich is still quite a ways from returning, sadly.)
Alain Vigneault sells the biggest benefit of these issues: opportunities for other players – including Oscar Lindberg – to step up.
“I just think this is part of the NHL and it is what it is. It’s there and you deal with it,” Vigneault said . “You get a lot of players at different times that wish that they can get more ice time to prove that they can have a bigger role and that they can do more. Well, no better time than the present for us right now.”
Thanks to two knee injuries, the Montreal Canadiens suddenly seem pretty slim at center.
The team announced two unfortunate and strangely similar timelines for important centers: both Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais are expected to miss six-to-eight weeks with their knee issues.
It will be a challenge for Michel Therrien to make everything work, to the point where you wonder if maybe he’ll move a player from the wing to center (hey, Max Pacioretty DOES want an elevated role, if you believe the rumors about discontent).
Tomas Plekanec becomes that much more important to the Canadiens, and one might assume that Andrew Shaw may go back to the middle. LNH.com’s Arpon Basu listed some options, in case you’re more of a visual learner:
Yeah, not ideal.
The road ahead
It isn’t all bad news when you look at Montreal’s overall situation.
For one thing, they gave themselves a nice cushion, as they currently lead the Atlantic Division by five points. With four games in a row and six of seven at home, they may be able to manage these tough losses pretty well in the short-term.
The real challenges might come late in December and early in January. They play seven road games in a row – though with a break around New Year’s – and nine of 10 away from Montreal from Dec. 23 – Jan. 12.
While they’ve suffered some minor bumps in the road so far, this is their truest test of 2016-17. It should be interesting to see how they handle this.