St. Louis Blues v Buffalo Sabres

Buffalo bags Brad Boyes from Blues in exchange for 2nd rounder in 2011

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After a brief lull, the trade floodgates seem to be opening on the Night Before Trade Christmas. The Buffalo Sabres acquired streaky goal scorer Brad Boyes from the St. Louis Blues for their 2011 second round pick.

It’s tough to argue with Joe’s assessment that adding Boyes might be more of the same, as the team features a variety of hot-and-cold snipers who aren’t particularly useful in their own end. Boyes scored as many as 43 goals one season, yet he only has 12 so far in 2010-11. His streaky shooting tendencies make jokes about his aim (or lack thereof) fairly commonplace among Blues fans.

Boyes is also a bit pricey, as the Sabres will be forced to cover his $4 million salary and cap hit through the 2011-12 season. Then again, maybe that’s not really a big deal for their deep-pocketed new owner Terry Pegula.

On one hand, some will say that Boyes is a bit redundant in the Sabres offense (I lean in that direction). That being said, perhaps coach Lindy Ruff can ride the hot hand between Boyes, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek and other streaky scorers to emulate the varied attack the team used during the all-too-brief Daniel Briere/Chris Drury days.

If nothing else, it’s nice to see the Sabres showing some aggressiveness since they’re only four games behind the eighth place Carolina Hurricanes (with two games in hand).

From the Blues’ perspective, they shed some salary and a player who might not fit in very well with a young and aggressive offense propelled by the likes of Chris Stewart and David Backes. The second round pick is a nice cherry on top, even if this draft is supposed to be pretty weak.

We’ll be up late to keep track of deals, which might be a good thing considering the fact that the dominoes are starting to fall already.

So, how would you protect a lead against the Stars?

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You know what they say: it’s easy to bash a strategy in hindsight.

Slam that NFL head coach for going for it on fourth down … or settling for the field goal. Bury that MLB manager because he kept a pitcher in too long. And so on.

“Score effects” settle in during almost any lopsided hockey game, yet the Dallas Stars present quite a conundrum: what’s the best way to put a way a team with this much firepower?

Tonight may have presented the greatest evidence that this team won’t go away easy, as it seemed like the Minnesota Wild had the best of a tired Stars team* when they built a 3-0 lead.

Instead, the Stars scored three third-period goals while Tyler Seguin capped the comeback with an overtime-winner.

It was one of those bend-and-then-break moments for Minnesota. Dallas generated a 44-26 shot advantage, including a ridiculous 35-15 edge in the final two periods.

Does that mean that Mike Yeo may have tried to play too conservatively with a healthy lead? It’s a possibility.

On the other hand, would the Wild be wiser to try to run-and-gun with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NHL?

It sure seems like a pick-your-poison situation. Which way would you lean, though?

* – To be fair to Minnesota, each team was on back-to-backs.

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.