Ondrej Pavelec, Travis Zajac

Riding the Zamboni – March 11; Isles stun Bruins, Devils win again, Ducks roll

New Jersey 3 – Atlanta 2 (F/OT)

Another typically tight game and another win for the Devils. Travis Zajac scored twice including the game-winner in overtime while Ilya Kovalchuk added another goal to help the Devils stay hot. All three Devils goals came on the power play as the Thrashers PK could not get it done tonight. Martin Brodeur made 24 saves to get the win. Dustin Byfuglien scored his 20th goal of the year for Atlanta while Ondrej Pavelec stopped 27 shots in the loss. While the Devils win was good for them and keeps them eight back of the Rangers and Sabres for eighth in the East, giving up the loser point to Atlanta in overtime won’t help them in their hopes of vaulting up the standings.

NY Islanders 4 – Boston 2

The Bruins started off nicely building a 2-0 lead and seemed poised to cruise to victory. Matt Moulson’s goal with two seconds left in the second period to make it 2-1 changed all that as the Isles came storming out in the third with goals from Michael Grabner and Jack Hillen to take a 3-2 lead. P.A. Parenteau would be awarded a goal in the closing seconds as he was hauled down while breaking towards the empty net to provide the final tally of the game. Al Montoya was solid stopping 26 shots in the win. Nathan Horton scored his 20th for Boston while Zdeno Chara scored his 12th. Tim Thomas was obscenely busy in the loss stopping 38 shots.

Detroit 2 – Edmonton 1 (F/OT)

It appeared that the Oilers were set to head to a 1-0 win in Detroit on Ryan Jones’ goal as the seemingly disinterested Wings were going to fall by the wayside. As can happen sometimes in Detroit, the Wings rallied late as Nick Lidstrom’s shot bounced off Andrew Cogliano’s skate and past Devan Dubnyk to tie the game with 25 seconds left in regulation. In overtime, Pavel Datsyuk did what he does best, dangling and avoiding Liam Reddox and sniping a shot past Dubnyk to win it. Dubnyk stopped 42 shots in the loss for Edmonton while Jimmy Howard stopped 26 in the win for the Wings.

Washington 2 – Carolina 1

Ottawa 2 – Tampa Bay 1

A frustrating loss for the Lightning as former temporary member of the Lightning Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 shots to lead Ottawa to victory. Jason Spezza and Bobby Butler scored for the Senators as they continue to sink their efforts of landing the top pick in the draft with some outstanding and scrappy play of late. Martin St. Louis had Tampa’s lone goal while Dwayne Roloson stopped just 20 shots in the loss. Tampa Bay is now four points behind Washington in the race for the Southeast Division crown.

Anaheim 6 – Colorado 2

Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists while Teemu Selanne and Luca Sbisa each had two assists to help the Ducks win their fifth game in their last six. Dan Ellis stopped 24 shots in the win. For Colorado, the loss is their 17th in their last 18 games. Colorado who at one point this year was leading the Northwest Division now sits 37 points behind front-running Vancouver thanks to their horrible play in 2011. The Avalanche’s attempts to squeeze their way into the #1 pick are improving by the day.

Los Angeles 4 – Columbus 2

While Jonathan Toews is getting plenty of headlines, L.A.’s Anze Kopitar is doing some work lately of his own and tonight he added to it scoring a hat trick for the Kings as they kept life miserable of late for the Jackets. Steve Mason had another rough night in goal as Mason stopped just 18 shots in the loss. Jonathan Bernier was the opposite of Mason in stopping 32 shots. Derick Brassard and Scottie Upshall scored for Columbus.

Dallas 4 – Minnesota 0

Is this the end of the road for the Wild? Kari Lehtonen managed to get his first shutout as a Dallas Star and had to stop just 14 shots to earn it. Jamie Benn scored a goal making it six straight games he’s had a goal in. He’s got 19 goals on the year now in what’s turning out to be a breakout season for him. For the Wild, it’s two straight games they’ve been shutout in now and they’ve only totaled 33 shots in those two games. With a road trip to San Jose and Vancouver up next for the Wild and sitting four points out of  a playoff spot in the tightly contested West, we think we can hear the Fat Lady warming up off stage for Minnesota.

Rozsival to make season debut for Blackhawks

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 20: Michal Rozsival #32 of the Chicago Blackhawks passes against the San Jose Sharks at the United Center on December 20, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhawks defeated the Sharks 4-3 in overtime.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

An injury to Trevor van Riemsdyk has paved the way for Michal Rozsival to make his season debut for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rozsival might’ve been scheduled to play anyway, as the veteran defenseman is expected to replace Michal Kempny when the ‘Hawks host the Flames tonight at United Center.

“We want to get everyone in at some point,” said head coach Joel Quenneville, per the Chicago Tribune. “We don’t want to wait too long to get him into the season here. He can be useful, gives us some experience and can play minutes against top guys.”

At 38, Rozsival is one of the oldest players in the NHL. When the ‘Hawks re-signed him for another year, it came as a surprise to many. And by the time training camp rolled around, even he wasn’t exactly sure what his role would be this season.

But not surprisingly, after last season, GM Stan Bowman would rather err on the side of too much depth on the back end.

“It’s funny, because we had these [interviews] a year ago and they were always saying, ‘Are you worried about your defense? Do you have enough depth there?'” Bowman said, per the Sun-Times. “And now you’re saying we have too much depth. I think no matter what the story is, there’s a story line to it. But I’d rather have more guys who can play. Are we going to be healthy all year long? I hope so. But I don’t know if we will. … The thing with Michal, even last year, he just played too much consecutively. He still has a lot of hockey left.”

Related: Blackhawks’ issues go beyond the penalty kill

Goalie nods: Slumping Flames go back to slumping Elliott

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

Calgary head coach Glen Gulutzan made a noteworthy decision over the weekend, opting to sit No. 1 netminder Brian Elliott against his former team, the St. Louis Blues, in favor of backup Chad Johnson.

The move didn’t pay off. Calgary lost 6-4, with Johnson allowing five goals on 39 shots.

So now, Elliott is back in goal was the Flames take on the ‘Hawks tonight at the United Center.

Acquired to fix the goaltending issues that plagued Calgary all of last season, Elliott has gone 0-3-0 with an .839 save percentage and 4.72 GAA.

Not good, obviously — especially for a 31-year-old pending UFA that’s looking to score a contract extension.

The Flames will hope that Elliott’s former goalie partner, Jake Allen, is something of a psychic. Over the weekend, Allen predicted that Elliott “will find his game very soon,” and tonight would be a good night for that to happen — Chicago’s offense has been firing over the last four games, finding the back of the net 16 times.

That said, the ‘Hawks are facing issues of their own.

They’ll give Corey Crawford the start tonight.


— Just one other game on the ledger, as the Flyers will take on the Habs in Montreal. Philly is going with Steve Mason, who allowed three goals on 30 shots in a win over Carolina on Saturday. The Canadiens are going with Carey Price, who allowed two goals on 21 shots in a win over Boston on Saturday.

Crosby skates in full-contact practice, but still no timetable for a return

Leave a comment

His official status hasn’t changed, but Sidney Crosby wasn’t wearing a no-contact jersey at Penguins practice today, and that’s progress.

“Sid is day-to-day, as he has been. We’ll take tomorrow as it comes,” head coach Mike Sullivan said, per the club’s website. “It’s obviously a big step when he joins the group. To have him join the group in a full-contact practice like that is encouraging from our standpoint.”

Crosby has not played this season due to a concussion. There remains no timetable for his return, and the Pens aren’t going to rush their captain. But the way things have been progressing, don’t be surprised if he plays pretty soon. The Penguins host Florida tomorrow and the Islanders Thursday, then it’s off to Philadelphia for a game Saturday before embarking on a three-game trip to California.

“I got the OK to go out there and be in a full practice,” Crosby said. “It was just good to be back on the ice with the guys. It’s not easy watching. To be out there was nice and hopefully a good step.”

Budaj getting the job done, so far

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 22:  Peter Budaj #31 of the Los Angeles Kings makes a save on Brandon Sutter #20 of the Vancouver Canucks for a 4-3 overtime shootout win at Staples Center on October 22, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Leave a comment

He hasn’t been perfect, but Peter Budaj has been good enough to give the Kings a two-game winning streak. Now the 34-year-old goalie is just hoping to keep it going, while Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff recover from their groin injuries.

“I just want to take it one game at a time,” Budaj said, per LA Kings Insider. “I know it’s a cliché and you guys probably hate it when players say that, but it is true. You just want to look up one game ahead, and that’s what you want to look at. We won today, we’re very happy, but we’ve just got to regroup, come back to work.”

Again, Budaj hasn’t been perfect. His save percentage is just .889, which isn’t very good at all.

But for a guy who’d started just one NHL game since the 2013-14 season, simply playing well enough to give his team a chance to win is about all that could be asked, and on that he’s delivered. He was a perfect three-for-three in Saturday’s shootout versus Vancouver, recovering nicely after allowing a late goal to send the game to overtime.

Next up for the Kings is a home game tomorrow against Columbus. After that comes a visit from Nashville, and then it’s off on a two-game trip to St. Louis and Chicago.

“There are a lot of tough games coming up for us, so we’ve got to just be ready and work hard and try to focus on the next game and don’t look too far ahead,” said Budaj, “because then you’re going to get caught in the moment and the present’s going to kind of slip away from you, so you’ve just got to focus on the present.”