Dan Ellis, Mike Santorelli

Early ride on the Zamboni – Saturday, February 19th

Edmonton 5, Atlanta 3

If the game was only 41 minutes long, the Atlanta Thrashers would have taken their 3-1 victory with a huge smile on their faces. But hockey is 60 minutes and by the time the game was over the Thrashers were left wondering what the heck happened. Four penalties in the 3rd period, a natural hat trick from #1 overall pick Taylor Hall, and the Thrashers snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The win was the 3rd straight for the Oilers as they continue to play better in recent games. Hey, even on nights when they don’t win, at least they’re entertaining. On the other hand, the Thrashers’ loss sees them drop to the .500 mark at 25-25-10. Not the best stretch of play for a team trying to find a new owner.

NY Islanders 3, Los Angeles 0

Former King Matt Moulson announced his presence with authority potting 2 goals en route to the Islanders’ 3-0 win on Long Island. Al Montoya looked like he was worth more than a 6th round pick as he earned his second career shutout with 35 saves. From Moulson and Montoya to Frans Nielson and Michael Grabner, the Islanders were in control of the game from the opening faceoff. They must have learned their lesson from their disastrous first period against the Bruins on Thursday night.

The Kings are now 8-1-3 in their last 12 games—this being their first loss in regulation 9 games into their longest road-trip in franchise history. They wrap-up the road trip against the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday.

New Jersey 4, Carolina 1

This was the third time the Canes and Devils faced off against one another in the last 12 days. And for the third time, it was the Devils skating away with the victory. But before you get down on the Canes, keep in mind the Devils are now 15-1-2 in their last 18 games, including their current 7 game winning streak.

If you want a reason to hammer the Hurricanes, look no further than the 1st period. Carolina came out flat in their 2nd game of a back-to-back, completely mailed in the first 20 minutes of the game, and were behind 3-0 before they knew what happened.

Patrick Elias had 3 assists, +3 rating for the night, and his 800th career point. Danius Zubrus had 2 goals and Ilya Kovalchuk extended his scoring streak to 10 games. Not bad for a team left for dead 2 months ago.

Florida 3, Tampa Bay 2 (SO)

Mike Santorelli poked in a rebound on the power play with 3:00 left and forced the game into overtime. Oh, but he wasn’t done yet. After a scoreless OT, Santorelli scored the only goal in the shootout to deliver the 3-2 win to the Panthers. It’s Mike Santorelli’s world, we’re just living in it.

Lightning are now 5-3-2 on their current homestand. The 5 wins are good, but for a team competing with the best of the best in the East, they were hoping for more on this season-long homestand. But look at the bright side, at least Steven Stamkos made it through the game without serious injury.

Ottawa 1 , Toronto 0 (SO)

It looks like the Craig Anderson era is off to a flying start. If he can manage to make 47 save shutouts against the Maple Leafs a regular occurence, they’ll be building him a statue outside Scotiabank Place in no time. 65 minutes of play and a shootout and the Maple Leafs are still trying to see a puck enter the net. Things weren’t much better for the Sens, but a shutout game-winner from Jason Spezza has a way of easing the pain.

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    Kings put Gaborik on IR because of lower-body injury

    Los Angeles Kings' Marian Gaborik celebrates his goal against the Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Boston Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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    By Marian Gaborik‘s often-fragile standards, he’s been relatively sturdy as a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

    Still, few should be shocked when they hear of a lower-body injury for the veteran winger. In this case, it’s serious enough to land him on injured reserve, as the team announced on Saturday.

    Gaborik had a bumpy time with zero points from Jan. 9-23, but he’s been more productive lately, scoring five points in his past seven contests.

    And, again, it was an unusually healthy run for Gaborik:

    LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen indicates that Gaborik was placed on IR in part so that the Kings could make room for Peter Budaj.

    Minnesota Wild fire Mike Yeo

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo talks to Jason Zucker (16) in the first period of an NHL preseason hockey game against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2014. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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    Update: The Minnesota Wild made it official. Still no word yet on a replacement.

    ***

    It looks like the Minnesota Wild have no love left for Mike Yeo on Valentine’s Day weekend.

    Apparently an eighth consecutive loss (falling to the Boston Bruins) was the final straw, as Yeo has been fired, according to Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press and Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

    Yeo confirmed as much via text (pauses for comment about this being a strange time for us all) to Russo:

    The Wild haven’t made an official announcement yet. The writing certainly seemed to be on the wall with Graff reporting that there were especially long meetings between Minnesota management and Yeo after today’s loss to Boston.

    Yeo mentioned that he wouldn’t quit following the game.

    One big question remains: is GM Chuck Fletcher safe to work the trade deadline or will there be sweeping changes for the struggling Wild?

    Also: who coaches them going forward? Will an assistant be bumped up to interim head coach or will the franchise go to someone looking for a gig? Perhaps this option …

    Who knows, really. PHT will keep you up to date either way.

    /paging Jacques Lemaire …

    Cold for Clutterbuck? Illness sidelines Isles’ heavy-hitter

    New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) goes flying after tripping over Edmonton Oilers defenseman Brandon Davidson (88) in the third period of an NHL hockey game in New York, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. The Islanders defeated the Oilers 8-1. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
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    The Carolina Hurricanes probably can save a few ice buckets tonight, as the New York Islanders will be without winger Cal Clutterbuck.

    The Isles announced that Clutterbuck won’t play on Saturday because of an illness. Their next game is against the Detroit Red Wings on Monday, and then they don’t suit up again until Thursday, so Clutterbuck’s sickness may not be too much of a nuisance.

    According to Yahoo’s numbers, the amusingly named forward has delivered 55 hits in 14 career games against the Canes (not to mention a solid five points).

    Matt Martin‘s among the most frequent hitters in the league, too, so it’s not like the Hurricanes will leave tonight’s game totally unscathed.

    Here are the Islanders’ tweaked forward lines:

    If Wild want Yeo out, they’ll probably need to fire him

    Minnesota Wild head coach Mike Yeo argues a call in the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators Tuesday, March 17, 2015, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
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    If the Minnesota Wild want to make a coaching change, it sounds like Mike Yeo won’t make it easy for them by stepping down.

    “I’m not freaking quitting here,” Yeo said to reporters including the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.

    It also sounds like Yeo realizes that Minnesota’s morbid losing streak – now at a worrisome eight games – may very well cost him his job.

    The scene sounded pretty somber after today’s loss to the Boston Bruins, and not in your usual way.

    https://twitter.com/ChadGraff/status/698629021232455680

    Yikes.

    Firing Yeo would be a big step for the Wild, even more than usual, as he began his coaching stint in 2011. GM Chuck Fletcher was hired in 2009, so the two have been attached at the hip since then.

    (And they got to know each other well in the Pittsburgh Penguins organization.)

    Will one or both be gone, possibly in the near future? Even Yeo admits big changes can happen.

    Wild players, meanwhile, just seem beaten down … and maybe ambivalent about Yeo?