Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins

Habs offense wakes up, gives Cunneyworth his first win

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Some trickster bought Randy Cunneyworth a Rosetta Stone for Christmas, but his best gift came a couple days later. The Montreal Canadiens erupted for six goals to top the Ottawa Senators 6-2, giving the embattled English-speaker his first win as an NHL head coach.

Cunneyworth likely would have preferred to get that first victory in one of his four previous tries, but in a way, it seems fitting that it came in Ottawa. He served as the Senators’ captain from 1995-98, including the first season that the “new” version of the team made the playoffs in 1997.

It was truly a team effort as five different players scored goals for Montreal. Michael Cammalleri, Erik Cole, Louis Leblanc, Tomas Plekanec, and P.K. Suban earned a goal and an assist. Mathieu Darche had two assists while Raphael Diaz generated three. Subban’s contribution might be the most heartening because he was coming off a rare night as a healthy scratch. Carey Price was sharp in net, stopping 33 out of 35 shots for his 13th win of the season.

There are a lot of positives to take from that game, but the bottom line is that the Habs remain on the outside of the playoff picture right now:

Then again, the Canadiens are only four points and three wins behind the eighth-ranked Winnipeg Jets right now, so it’s not outrageous to think that Cunneyworth can turn things around. Much like a person learning a new language, it’s all about baby steps for Cunneyworth and the Habs, though.

Check out highlights from the game below:

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Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci
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The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.