When the Devils brought back tough guy and fighter Cam Janssen yesterday it was a sign that the Devils weren’t going to take kindly to getting pushed around by the likes of the Flyers and Rangers anymore. Janssen’s signing on top of today’s signing of former Thrashers and Sabres ruffian Eric Boulton should mean that the Devils are going to be doing more of the pushing than taking it.
New Jersey signed Boulton to a two-year, one-way contract and while Boulton is better known for the work with his fists, he had his career best game against the Devils last season. On December 18th 2010, the same night former Thrashers star Ilya Kovalchuk made his first appearance in Atlanta for the season, Boulton recorded a hat trick as the Thrashers rolled to a 7-1 over New Jersey. Boulton’s offensive output was shocking especially since those three goals made up half of his season total for goals scored.
Boulton won’t be coming to New Jersey for his sneaky and rare goal scoring ability though, he’s being brought in to provide protection on the ice and leadership in the locker room off of it. Boulton was a strong leader in the community for the Thrashers even going so far as to speak up against the Atlanta Spirit Group when they failed to keep the Thrashers in Atlanta.
At 34 years-old, Boulton’s been through it all and with how young part of the Devils team will be next season, having his presence there will help them all out both on and off the ice. Boulton can do a bit more than fight and he does play a physical, defensive game. Last season he racked up just 87 penalty minutes, his lowest total since 2006-2007 when he played in just 45 games and had 49 PIMs. Back in 2008-2009, Boulton had 176 penalty minutes, his second highest amount over a ten year career, only eclipsed by the 178 he had in 2002-2003.
One thing’s for sure next season, if you’re going to start anything with the Devils, you’d better be prepared to finish it as with Boulton, Janssen, David Clarkson, Mark Fraser, and Colin White there’s a few guys that can handle themselves well physically all around on the ice. Let’s just say that our interest in Devils games against the rest of the Atlantic Division just got a lot more interesting.
Goalie issues continue in Boston.
With both starting netminder Tuukka Rask and back-up Anton Khudobin both out of the lineup due to injury, Malcolm Subban was recalled from the AHL and given the start Tuesday against the Minnesota Wild.
But Subban, making his second career NHL start, allowed three goals on 16 shots and was pulled from the crease, giving way to his AHL teammate and fellow emergency recall Zane McIntyre.
Minnesota scored three times in the span of 5:29, which resulted in an early exit for Subban, the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft.
Subban’s lone NHL start didn’t go well, either. He gave up three goals on six shots in 31 minutes.
For those Maple Leafs fans who once hoped Steven Stamkos would go to free agency and sign in Toronto, what transpired Tuesday will probably sting for a bit.
Playing in Toronto for the first time since he re-signed with the Lightning, opting not to test the open market and potentially signing with what is essentially his hometown team, Stamkos scored 1:19 into the contest, after getting sent in alone and beating goalie Frederik Andersen.
That one might hurt.
There was even a smattering of boos directed at Stamkos, who has never played a game for the Leafs, when he first touched the puck during Tuesday’s contest.
You’ll recall that last season, the Stamkos-to-Toronto speculation dominated headlines at times. A bit of a “circus,” indeed.
There were even ‘Sign Stamkos’ signs being handed out to fans prior to a game between the Lightning and Maple Leafs last season.
All signs pointed to it happening earlier in the day, but it is now official: Sidney Crosby is making his 2016-17 debut on Tuesday night when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Florida Panthers.
Crosby, the captain of the Penguins and the reigning Conn Smythe Trophy winner, missed the first six games of the season due to a concussion. He was injured during practice following the World Cup of Hockey where he led Canada to a championship. Given how much time he missed a few years ago with a concussion only missing six games a positive development for both him and the Penguins.
Crosby will open the game skating on the Penguins’ top line alongside wingers Patric Hornqvist and Scott Wilson.
Along with Crosby return to the lineup, goaltender Matt Murray is also in uniform for the Penguins for the first time this season and will serve as Marc-Andre Fleury‘s backup.
Murray, who took over the starting job in the playoffs last year when Fleury was sidelined at the start of the first round, was injured at the World Cup while playing for Team North America and has been sidelined since.
Even with the return of Crosby and Murray on Tuesday the Penguins are still missing a pretty significant player as defenseman Kris Letang remains sidelined with an upper body injury.
The Buffalo Sabres visit the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday. This match-up features two teams off to slow starts and looking to work their way up the standings in their respective divisions.
You can check out the action on NBCSN or the NBC Sports’ Live Extra (7:30 pm ET).
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Flyers put Raffl (upper body) on IR
NHL on NBCSN doubleheader: Sabres vs. Flyers; Ducks vs. Sharks
Bylsma: ‘We need to get more’ out of Reinhart