Coming into tonight’s game between Buffalo and Tampa Bay (7:30 p.m. ET on Versus) you might’ve thought you’d hear a lot about Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis lighting up the world offensively. Not so fast… It’s the Sabres that come into this game with the nice start (5-2-0) and a superstar of their own lighting up the world.
Thomas Vanek is tops on the Sabres in goals with six and is hanging around in the NHL top-ten in points as well. He’s one of the best paid guys in Buffalo, but he’s showing that it’s not going to waste by getting back to his scoresheet-filling ways. Vanek along with Jason Pominville and rookie Luke Adam have been making it look easy for Buffalo offensively speaking.
One person the Sabres will have to d without is Tyler Ennis. Ennis’ injury is forcing Lindy Ruff to juggle his lines around a bit. We’ll see how the new look lines play tonight.
Oddly enough for Tampa Bay, the guy that comes into tonight’s game as their top scorer isn’t any one of Stamkos, St. Louis, or even Vincent Lecavalier. Instead it’s Marc-Andre Bergeron leading the charge there. Oh by the way, the Lightning have stumbled out of the gate. That’s not exactly a coincidence.
Not helping matters there has been the poor play of Dwayne Roloson in goal. Mathieu Garon has gotten the call the last couple games and Tampa has won their last two. Either way, having Garon or Roloson face off with Ryan Miller comes off as a really lopsided match-up.
Do the Sabres keep rolling along or has Tampa figured things out and stay hot? After seeing Tampa shutout the Sabres on Saturday night, Buffalo will be looking for payback at home tonight.
Milbury, Jones: Tkachuk walked the walk; Kings’ response was embarrassing
The Los Angeles Kings got revenge on Matthew Tkachuk and the Calgary Flames on the scoreboard on Wednesday. But was that 4-1 win enough?
Mike Milbury and Keith Jones provided a lengthy “overtime” segment on NBCSN that brought about some really fascinating takes on the situation between Tkachuk and the Flames versus Drew Doughty and the Los Angeles Kings.
Watch the full video above, as it’s worth your time.
A few interesting lines if you’re (tsk tsk) skipping it:
Milbury: Believes that Doughty didn’t “do enough,” noting that star players sometimes have to stick up for themselves. On the other hand, Tkachuk showed that he can “walk the walk.”
He also gave the Kings a “C-, D+ if not worse” for their overall response. “Fight your own battles,” Milbury said of Doughty.
Jones disagreed to some extent, believing that Kings teammates won’t look at Doughty differently. But Jake Muzzin? He believes that Muzzin’s frequent defensive partner (at least over the years, maybe not this season) backing down from a fight was an embarrassment.
"I don't think the Kings look at Doughty differently…Muzzin to back down from that fight on 1st shift is an embarrassment." – Keith Jones https://t.co/KI9dx8Rirx
For what it’s worth, Drew Doughty has one career fight (against Joe Thornton [!] in 2011-2) while Jake Muzzin’s lone bout came against Andrew Desjardins in 2012-13, according to Hockey Fights. Does that mean they shouldn’t have dropped the gloves on Wednesday? Milbury and Jones seem to believe that they should have answered the bell.
Deep down, the Los Angeles Kings probably realize that their season will end on game 82. Still, they kept their slim playoff hopes alive on Wednesday night … and managed to spite a team they’re growing to hate.
OK, maybe the hate is almost totally focused upon Matthew Tkachuk, yet the disdain for that talented-but-tormenting rookie was palpable.
It didn’t feel like the Kings exacted physical revenge on Tkachuk, but beating his team 4-1 ranked as classic scoreboard vengeance. With that, the Calgary Flames (and by extension the St. Louis Blues) will need to wait to clinch a playoff berth.
Now, as much as tonight was about Tkachuk, the focus was also on a pugnacious player who once dazzled for the Flames: Jarome Iginla.
In what might be Iginla’s final visit to Calgary – at least as an active NHL player – he was one of the best players on the ice. His fitting curtain call included a “Gordie Howe hat trick” with a spirited fight, an assist and a goal.
It’s official: the NHL will hold preseason games in China before next season.
The league made the announcement on Wednesday night: the Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks will play two exhibitions: one on Sept. 21 (Shanghai) and Sept. 23 (Beijing). How cool is that?
“It is a privilege and an honor for the L.A. Kings to represent the National Hockey League in China as part of these two games against the Vancouver Canucks,” Kings president Luc Robitaille said. “Growing the game of hockey is something we take great pride in and it is a big priority for our hockey club and AEG as a whole. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for our players and our staff, and we are looking forward to the games taking place in two tremendous facilities in two remarkable cities.”