John Madden

Riding the Zamboni – Friday, February 25th

For recaps of Friday’s first six games, click here. Let’s take a look at the remaining three games from a busy night of NHL action.

San Jose 4, Calgary 3 (SO)

Now that the Devils lost to the Lightning, the Sharks now hold the NHL’s longest winning streak at six games. They beat the previously-hot Flames in a shootout tonight thanks to a Ryan Clowe winner. The Sharks must feel good about themselves going into a six-game homestand, while Calgary improved their playoff chances with the charity point. Miikka Kiprusoff (30 save) & Co. are in seventh place with 71 points now.

St. Louis 5, Edmonton 0

Ben Bishop stood taller (literally and figuratively) in a match between towering netminders as he earned his first career shutout (39 saves) while Devan Dubnyk allowed five goals on 22 shots. Chris Stewart continues his scorching hot run to being his stay in St. Louis, notching two goals (including the game-winner) to improve to six goals in five games with the Blues. This moves the Blues to a reasonable-but-still-daunting five points behind the eighth place Dallas Stars, which would be fine except that four other teams are still ahead of them for that eighth spot.

Minnesota 3, Anaheim 2 (OT)

At this point, just about every game is important for the Western Conference playoff bubble teams. These two teams showed just how intense this race could end up being, as they played a hard-fought game won thanks to an overtime breakaway game-winner by Pierre-Marc Bouchard.

It’s tough to beat up the Ducks too much considering the fact that they sent 48 shots at Minnesota’s sturdy backup Jose Theodore, but the bottom line is that the streaky Ducks have lost five straight games. Two of those defeats came at the hands of the Wild, who find themselves in a virtual fifth-place tie with the Los Angeles Kings (the Kings are technically in fifth because they’ve played one less game and hold an extra win).

Dan Ellis lost his first start as the Ducks’ (temporary) go-to goalie, although he was solid (28 out of 31 saves).

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.