Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson stands behind the bench during third period against the Florida Panthers in NHL hockey action in Sunrise, Florida

Ron Wilson bailed on speaking to the media today

Is trouble brewing in Toronto?

That’s the question many were asking today as Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson declined to address reporters following practice. That Wilson chose today to bail was rather curious, as the Leafs are going through their first bit of adversity this season. They’ve lost three of five and been outscored 12-1 in consecutive losses to the Bruins and Panthers with goalies Ben Scrivens (seven goals on 21 shots) and Jonas Gustavsson (five goals on 27 shots) struggling mightly.

The goaltending issues came to a head last night as Wilson not-so-subtly threw both under the bus in the postgame presser.

Wilson: “We’ve gotta support our goalies better.  It’s a rough time for them. We have to play better defensively, but sometimes that’s hard to do when you don’t give up any chances and the pucks’ in the net…and it’s not a scoring chance.”

Wilson: “Their goalie [Jose Theodore] made a number of big saves and unfortunately we didn’t get a save, and that sunk us.”

Reporter: “How do you move ahead when both goaltenders are kind of fighting it?”

Wilson: “Well, they’ve gotta work hard in practice. That’s their responsibility to sit there with Frankie [goalie coach Francois Allaire] and go over the games. At least now we go on the road, maybe they can relax a little bit and not worry about what happens if they make a mistake. And hopefully they’ll bounce back.”

It was widely predicted the Leafs would struggle when starting goalie James Reimer was lost to injury, and those predictions have come true. (Doesn’t sound like Reimer’s close to returning, either.) So you can understand why Wilson is trying to keep the media at bay — he’s got nothing good to say about his current goaltending situation, so it’s probably best not to say anything.

Just not sure how long that’s going to work. It’s the Toronto media, after all.

Video: Canucks escape Arizona with another win for the moms

at Pepsi Center on February 9, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.
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With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.

After beating the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday, the Canucks held on for the 2-1 victory in Arizona on Wednesday, despite being without Brandon Sutter (broken jaw), Alex Edler (broken fibula) and Derek Dorsett, who was scratched from the lineup due to illness, as per Sportsnet’s Dan Murphy.

It was only a few days ago, following a home loss to the Calgary Flames, that it felt like the Canucks’ playoff hopes were essentially dashed. They fielded their healthiest lineup in months and couldn’t score and couldn’t win.

Two quick wins later, they’re two points out of a Wild Card spot in the West, despite getting outshot in Arizona.

Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.

Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut

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A day after getting traded out of Toronto, Dion Phaneuf made his Ottawa Senators debut.

It ended with a 3-1 road loss for the Senators, and Phaneuf getting burned by Henrik Zetterberg on the eventual game winner early in the third period.

Zetterberg picked up the puck near the Ottawa blue line, beat Phaneuf to the outside, slipped the puck under the stick of the Sens’ newest blue liner and quickly roofed his shot on Craig Anderson.

“He made a real good play and you’ve got to give credit when credit is due,” Phaneuf told the Ottawa Sun.

“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”

Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.

Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.

DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.

Video: Rangers shut out red-hot Sidney Crosby and the Penguins

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The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.

But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.

In the process, they held a red-hot Sidney Crosby off the score sheet, which has been a difficult, sometimes impossible task for opposing teams since about the middle of December. He entered this game with a seven-game scoring streak.

(In fact, New York held No. 87 to without a shot on goal in the entire game.)

Henrik Lundqvist stopped all 34 shots he faced for the shutout.

Kevin Hayes gave the Rangers the lead in the first period, before Dominic Moore and Jesper Fast put the game away in the third.

Pittsburgh remains in the second Wild Card spot in the East. The Rangers now move three points clear of the rival Islanders for second in the Metropolitan.

Video: Wideman hearing ‘a tricky case’ as NHLPA hopes to get 20-game suspension reduced

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There is no certain timeline for when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman might rule on Dennis Wideman‘s appeal, according to a report from hockey insider Darren Dreger on NBCSN, as the Calgary Flames defenseman hopes to get his 20-game ban for hitting linesman Don Henderson reduced.

“Now, ultimately what they’re hoping from a Wideman perspective and the Players’ Association is that commissioner Gary Bettman will rule and he will reduce the number of games suspended down from 20,” said Dreger during a segment on NBCSN.

“Is he going to reduce it by three games? Five games seems a bit of a stretch. And when might he do that? There’s no timeline on this.”