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Sharks brace for frenzied final two months

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CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz caught up with some Sharks players to get their thoughts on San Jose’s down-the-stretch schedule. The Sharks will play 32 games in 59 days over the final two months, which includes a nine-game road trip and six back-to-backs.

“It’s the way the schedule is. We got to be at home for Christmas and New Year’s, and now we’re paying the price for it,”defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic said. “It’s the way the scheduling goes. Other years we’ve had it packed at the beginning, and this year it’s packed at the end.”

/muffled laughter

On Sunday, the Sharks will embark on a nine-game, 14-day road trip, becoming just the 19th team in NHL history to embark on a roadie of nine games or longer. (The Blackhawks recently became the 18th and they’re still in the midst of theirs, off to a dismal 0-2-1 start.)

San Jose will start its trip in St. Louis before going to Washington, Tampa Bay, Carolina, Detroit, Columbus, Toronto, Nashville and Minnesota. The Sharks will play the Blues-Capitals, Lighting-Hurricanes and Predators-Wild in back-to-back situations.

While the trip sounds awful (mostly because it is), Sharks head coach Todd McLellan says he doesn’t want to hear about how tough it’ll be on his club.

“I don’t want to hear about it anymore. I want our group to come to the rink and get prepared to play one game at a time,” he said. “The part that I was really worried about was the part before All-Star break, when we played nine games in 15 days. We’ve slowly caught up, and we should be able to handle ourselves.”

The mammoth road trip isn’t the only scheduling nightmare for McLellan and Co. The Sharks have a four-game roadie in mid-March (Dallas, Phoenix, Edmonton and Calgary with the final two games being — yep, you guessed it — back-to-backs) and close out the year playing four of six away from HP Pavilion.

Habs grab rare back-to-back wins this weekend

Montreal Canadiens goalie Ben Scrivens falls after making a save while facing the Carolina Hurricanes during first-period NHL hockey game action, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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The Montreal Canadiens were a bit like Ben Scrivens (in his near-ideal state) this weekend: not always pretty, but they got the job done.

A day after Scrivens thwarted his former team in the Edmonton Oilers in a 5-1 win, the journeyed goalie was integral in Montreal scraping out a 2-1 shootout win against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Now, it’s easy to scoff at two wins against two teams who are – let’s be honest – pretty unremarkable.

The Canadiens aren’t really in a position to laugh off any victory, however. That’s especially true when you consider the fact that this is their first set of consecutive wins since late November.

Even through all this frustration, certain top Canadiens stand out as keeping the team afloat. Andrei Markov hit an impressive milestone:

… While Max Pacioretty scored his 20th goal in emphatic fashion:

As P.K. Subban‘s numbers argue, Montreal’s biggest problem has been getting results from more under-the-radar players. In Sunday’s case, Scrivens delivered.

Montreal still faces an uphill battle, but perhaps a weekend like this might serve as a catalyst for a nice climb?

Malcolm Subban in stable condition, suffered fractured larynx

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The Boston Bruins updated Malcolm Subban‘s condition a day after the goaltending prospect was hospitalized after being struck in the throat with a puck.

“Malcolm Subban was struck in the throat with a puck Saturday night during pregame warmups. He was transported to Maine Medical Center and was diagnosed with a fractured larynx. He stayed overnight at Maine Medical Center and was transported to Mass General Hospital on Sunday for further evaluation. He is in stable condition and will be sidelined indefinitely. The team will provide additional details when they become available.”

Awful news, although at least he’s in stable condition.

PHT will stay tuned for further updates regarding the 22-year-old.

Subban did tweet a thanks for support:

A little context makes that a little sad, too.

P.K. Subban seems confident his brother will bounce back.

Fight video: Zack Kassian racks up penalty minutes, faces Brian Strait

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Pulling Anders Nilsson didn’t stop the bleeding for the Edmonton Oilers. Instead, it really just spread the “wealth.”

The New York Islanders are up 7-1, so don’t be surprised if there’s some ugly stuff in the final frame.

Zack Kassian is an author of at least one outburst, as he was tagged with 19 penalty minutes for a display that included fighting Brian Strait, as you can see in the video above.

It’s not the only fight stemming from the blowout, either, as Eric Gryba just tangled with Matt Martin.

Could there be more?

Update: The game ended on a muted note. The Isles ultimately won 8-1.

Isles chase Nilsson from Oilers’ net in less than 12 minutes

Edmonton Oilers goalie Anders Nilsson, of Sweden, makes pad save against the Colorado Avalanche during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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There was a time when Anders Nilsson seemed like the best bet in the Oilers’ net this season. This … is not that time.

Less than 12 minutes into Sunday’s game, the New York Islanders roared to a 3-0 lead, and that was enough for Edmonton to give Nilsson the hook.

He allowed those three goals on 10 shots, so to be fair, that’s a pretty impressive chunk of chances (almost a shot on goal per minute).

Still, the Oilers were likely hoping to give Cam Talbot a breather, and instead he was rushed into action. Nilsson hadn’t played since Jan. 19, and he’s only appeared in three games in 2016.

As if this didn’t sting enough for Nilsson, consider the fact that he began his NHL career with the Islanders, who eventually decided he wasn’t worth keeping.