On a night featuring several marquee matchups (we’re looking at you, Washington-Philly, Toronto-Boston and Montreal-Pittsburgh) it’s not surprising the New York Islanders-Tampa Bay Lightning game has flown under the radar. Tampa is off to a pretty rough start and the Islanders…are the Islanders.
That said, it’ll be interesting to see what New York C John Tavares does tonight. The last time these two teams met — a 5-1 victory for the Islanders back on Oct. 13 — Tavares went mental in the first period, registering four points in 18 minutes. He scored New York’s first goal, set up Matt Moulson for the second, scored the third and then set up P.A. Parenteau for the fourth.
In doing so, Tavares became the first Islander to score four points in one period since 1996. He also tied the club record for most points in a first period — first set by Bryan Trottier, then matched by both Zigmund Palffy and Wendel Clark.
Something else to watch tonight? The matchup between Tavares and Tampa Bay D Victor Hedman, the first two picks at the 2009 Draft. Last time they met, Tavares and Hedman got in each others’ faces midway through the third period and were tagged with roughing minors. The night was a brutal one for Hedman — he finished minus-3 and gifted Tavares the first goal by swatting the puck into his own net.
Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium
The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.
Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.
Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.
The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)
The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.
The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.
Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.
“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”
The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.
The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.
Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.
The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.
According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.
“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”
In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.