Rene Bourque’s and Miikka Kiprusoff highlight Calgary’s 4-0 win over Montreal in Heritage Classic

1 Comment

On a frigid day outdoors in Calgary, the Flames were able to persevere through the conditions and hand a beating to the suddenly sliding Montreal Canadiens 4-0 at McMahon Stadium in the 2011 Heritage Classic. Rene Bourque’s two goals paced the offense while Miikka Kiprusoff got his fourth shutout of the season stopping 39 shots in the victory.

While the ice was indeed a bit different than what we saw during the Winter Classic, this time the ice being frozen so hard that they opted to not use Zambonis as opposed to warm and rainy weather, the Flames seemed to be the only team able to handle the ice and the cold as they dominated the Habs all over the ice. Calgary scored two power play goals, one from Bourque the other from Alex Tanguay, and one shorthanded goal from Anton Babchuk.

Carey Price didn’t have his best game tonight but he was still busy in stopping 33 shots in the loss. The Habs got some goat-like work out of their defensemen, Roman Hamrlik in particular who drew two penalties in the game, one leading to Tanguay’s power play goal in the third. P.K. Subban and Hal Gill conspired to give Calgary a 5-on-3 power play in the first that led to Bourque’s first goal when Tanguay hit him with a beautiful pass near the side of the net.

The Flames win was their third in a row and puts them on a hot streak that’s seen them win 11 of their last 14 games and vaulted them into the sixth spot in the Western Conference. For the Habs, it’s their third loss in a row and sixth in their last seven as they sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Losing streaks for them help put them further behind the vastly improved Bruins. Letting the division get away from them won’t help come playoff time regardless of what happened last season.

The game turned out to be the classic example of what happens when a slumping team runs headlong into a hot one. If it turns into the kind of loss that spurs the Habs into action on the trade market, it might be just the right kind of loss at the right time for them. Calgary’s rise continues in the west and has likely turned their future at the trade deadline into one of possibly buying a little bit rather than cleaning out and selling.

Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers

Getty
1 Comment

Connor McDavid was fantastic on Wednesday, but the Anaheim Ducks overcame his strong showing for a significant win in the Pacific.

McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.

With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:

1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP

As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.

Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.

The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.

Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

1 Comment

Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.

Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.

McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

3 Comments

The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.

They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.

The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.

Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.

The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.

The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.

Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style

1 Comment

Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.