Brett Clark, Matt Smaby, Marc-Andre Bergeron

Riding the Zamboni – February 12; Tampa wins in OT, Vancouver rolls over Calgary

Tampa Bay 4 – Carolina 3 (F/OT)

Usually when a team blows a two-goal lead in the last minute of the game, they crash and burn horribly in the end. The Lightning were able to avoid such embarrassment tonight when Marc-Andre Bergeron scored his first of the year in overtime to win it for Tampa Bay. Jeff Skinner and Erik Cole scored in the final minute of regulation to tie the game up with Tampa Bay, but Bergeron’s goal finished them off. Sean Bergenheim had a goal and an assist for the Lightning while Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves for the win. Cam Ward made 37 saves in the loss while Eric Staal and Erik Cole each had a goal and an assist.

Vancouver 4 – Calgary 2

It’s tough when you play a great game and still lose. When you’re dealing with a team as good as Vancouver, these things will happen now and again. For Calgary it stinks as it’s their second loss in a row. After coming into this game winners of eight of their last ten, it might be a bit of a knock to the psyche to lose after playing well. The Canucks got two goals a piece from Mikael Samuelsson and Alex Burrows to lead the way. Tim Jackman and Curtis Glencross scored for Calgary. For Vancouver they extend their lead in the division to 16 points over Minnesota with the win and have an NHL-high 81 points.

Nashville 5 – Colorado 3

In Music City, USA it was a night of a pair of intriguing appearances. Newly acquired Mike Fisher made his Preds debut and earned an assist after being acquired from Ottawa. It also had former Predator and Avalanche legend Peter Forsberg on the ice yet again. Much like in his first game, Forsberg had trouble finding the scoresheet. Forsberg finished the game a -2 and played 17:32 on a line with Matt Duchene and Milan Hejduk. Martin Erat led the way for Nashville with a goal and two assists while Patric Hornqvist and David Legwand each had a goal and an assist. Pekka Rinne’s night was quite as he only made 15 saves in the win while Peter Budaj was hung out to dry being forced to make 34 saves. The loss marks the seventh in a row for Colorado as they slip back to 14th in the Western Conference.

Montreal 3 – Toronto 0

An Original Six clash in Montreal goes sour for the Leafs as Carey Price earned his sixth shutout of the season stopping 27 shots to get the win. Brian Gionta scored his 21st goal of the season while Benoit Pouliot and David Desharnais also tallied for the Habs as they snapped a three-game losing skid and got to within a point of Northeast Division leading Boston. Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 36 shots in the loss for Toronto as they lost their second in a row.

Phoenix 3 – Chicago 2 (F/SO)

Phoenix, like Tampa Bay earlier in the evening, avoided disaster by grabbing victory in the shootout after blowing a 2-0 lead against the Blackhawks in Phoenix. Radim Vrbata proved to be the hero on the night as he scored a goal in regulation and had the shootout winner for Phoenix. Ilya Bryzgalov made 31 saves for the Coyotes in regulation and didn’t allow Chicago to score in the skills competition. The win gets the Coyotes back to within one point of Dallas for the Pacific Division lead. Chicago’s comeback effort thanks to goals from Dave Bolland and Duncan Keith fell short but got steady play from Corey Crawford after a shaky first period. It wasn’t meant to be and the Hawks weren’t able to keep pace with L.A. and Minnesota in the West race.

Minnesota 3 – St. Louis 1

A feisty affair in the back end of a home-and-home series between these two saw the Wild chase Jaroslav Halak in the second period after the Wild jumped ahead 3-0 thanks to goals from Cal Clutterbuck, Antti Miettinen, and Kyle Brodziak. Patrik Berglund’s late second period goal was all the Blues could muster as the Wild got 24 saves out of Niklas Backstrom to earn the win and leapfrog Calgary into the eighth spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

Report: Ducks put Despres on long-term injured reserve

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2015, file photo, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres skates before an NHL preseason hockey game against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver. Despres has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Ducks on Friday, Oct. 9, 2015, solidifying his role in Anaheim after joining the club in a trade last season. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)
Leave a comment

Simon Despres has played only once this season, back on Oct. 13, due to injury.

It now appears the Anaheim Ducks don’t see the 25-year-old defenseman returning to their lineup any time soon.

On Sunday, TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported on Twitter that the Ducks placed Despres, who carries an average annual value of $3.7 million, on long-term injured reserve, providing Anaheim with some flexibility in the salary cap situation.

By placing Despres on LTIR, it’s been suggested this could possibly allow the Ducks to sign restricted free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm.

Lindholm, 22, missed training camp, instead deciding to stay in Sweden while he awaits a deal with the Ducks. Six games into Anaheim’s season, and still no deal.

It was reported last month that Lindholm was seeking a deal of eight years, and at least $6 million per season.

Last week, on TSN’s Insider Trading, McKenzie suggested the two sides could be about $250,000, annually, apart. He also added that there is a “cap hit penalty” when restricted free agents don’t get signed before the season begins.

“For every day that (Lindholm) is not signed in this season, the cap hit for the team will increase by about $30,000 if he were to agree to a $5.5 million deal,” McKenzie reported.

“Let’s say he agrees to a deal that’s $5.5 million AAV, well the cap hit’s going to be up around $5.8 (million) as of now, for each day that goes on.”

Comeback Canucks? Not against the Ducks

ANAHEIM, CA - OCTOBER 23:  Alexander Edler #23 and Philip Larsen #63 of the Vancouver Canucks look on after Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks reacts to scoring a goal during the third  period of a game at Honda Center on October 23, 2016 in Anaheim, California.  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
1 Comment

The Vancouver Canucks have made a habit of third-period comebacks early this season. Playing with the lead, though? Not so much.

Despite their early penchant for late-game magic — certainly not a sustainable method of winning in the long-term — the Canucks were unable to score a come-from-behind win against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday.

Instead, they lost 4-2, as Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry scored late in the third period to nullify any chance of a Vancouver comeback.

Henrik Sedin had gotten the Canucks back into a tied game early in the final period, before the Ducks killed off a Vancouver power play and then surged ahead for good.

It’s Vancouver’s first regulation loss of the season. In six games, the Canucks have played with the lead only once.

Really, the score flattered the Canucks, playing the second half of a back-to-back set in California. The Ducks dominated possession, but goalie Ryan Miller kept the Canucks in it until late in regulation.

The Canucks are now 4-1-1. That’s still a good start, but there have been signs lately that they could soon be served a reality check.


Meanwhile, the Ducks have won two in a row after losing their first four games to start the season.

It was promising that their best players were their best players in Anaheim’s home opener.

Ryan Getzlaf had three assists. Corey Perry had an assist on the winner and scored to put this one away. Defenseman Cam Fowler, who has been at the center of trade speculation in the past few months, scored Sunday and is now up to three goals, with points in four of six games.

“He’s played great,” Getzlaf recently told the Orange County Register. “Cam put a lot on his shoulders last year. He had a great year for us last year and it gets overlooked a little bit because he does it in a little bit quieter way. He’s not flashy.

“I thought his play has carried over from last year. He’s continued to play the same way and at a high level.”

This win puts the Ducks within a point of the San Jose Sharks. The two California rivals face each other Tuesday in San Jose.

Video: Dan Girardi’s first goal in nearly a year lifts Rangers to victory

FILE - In this Feb. 11, 2012, file photo, New York Rangers' Dan Girardi looks on during an NHL hockey game against the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia. The Rangers say they have agreed to terms with Girardi on a multiyear contract extension, taking the key defenseman off the trading block and keeping him away from unrestricted free agency. The deal was announced Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum, File)
Leave a comment

An offensive defenseman, Dan Girardi is not.

His last goal prior to this weekend? Nov. 12, 2015. It’s been a while. Almost an entire year now. But in his return to the New York Rangers lineup on Sunday, the 32-year-old Girardi was able to bust his scoring slump on a slap shot from the blue line that beat Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue.

The Rangers eventually won by a final score of 3-2, with Girardi’s goal counting as the winner. He scored only twice last season, and hasn’t scored more than five goals in a single season since 2009-10.

Despite poor start, Elliott ‘will find his game very soon,’ says former teammate Jake Allen

EDMONTON, AB - OCTOBER 12:  Goalie Brian Elliott #1 of the Calgary Flames skates against the Edmonton Oilers on October 12, 2016 at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

OK. So, Brian Elliott isn’t off to a good start in net for the Calgary Flames.

He has lost all three of his starts. He’s allowed 14 goals with a save percentage of only .839. Not good. Not good at all, especially considering the Flames acquired Elliott with the hopes of addressing their goaltending concerns from previous seasons.

Chad Johnson has instead started three of the last four games for Calgary.

Whether it’s Elliott or Johnson in net, the Flames have given up the most goals against in the league, while giving up 30.2 shots against per 60 minutes at five-on-five. That puts them 18th in the league at even strength.

But despite Elliott’s difficult start, a former Blues teammate of his has voiced support for the 31-year-old puck stopper, optimistically stating that a turnaround will happen.

“I wouldn’t worry one bit. That’s just my perspective,” Blues goalie Jake Allen told the Calgary Herald. “He’s one of the most competitive people I have ever met, and he will find his game very soon.

“Obviously, he wanted to get off to a good start (in Calgary), that’s first and foremost, but if it doesn’t go that way, he will rebound and find it. I’m 100 (per cent) about that. I wouldn’t be too concerned if I was a Flames fan.”

That’s reassuring. Maybe.

Elliott enjoyed five strong seasons in St. Louis, playing alongside Allen for three of those seasons. But St. Louis was — and still is — a very structured team under head coach Ken Hitchcock, which certainly bodes well for goalies.

It’s still very early in Elliott’s tenure in Calgary, which also has a new head coach in Glen Gulutzan.

The coach will have an interesting decision coming up next week, with the Flames making a quick two-game stop in the Central Division. They’ll face the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday and the Blues the following night.

Elliott didn’t get a chance to face his old team Saturday. Perhaps he’ll get that opportunity in St. Louis on Tuesday.