Cody Hodgson, Lindy Ruff, Tyler Ennis

Lindy Ruff would like to see Cody Hodgson turn into James Neal


The Sabres acquisition of Cody Hodgson hasn’t exactly lived up to the high hopes fans in Buffalo had when it went down at the deadline.

Hodgson is still without a point and spent practice yesterday working on the fourth line. With such an inauspicious debut, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff is reminded of another talented forward who was traded last year and struggled to settle in right away as John Vogl of The Buffalo News shares.

“It’ll come,” Ruff said. “I’m not concerned. I think you look at it, and it’s obviously disappointing. But it will come. It’s probably no different than when James Neal went to Pittsburgh last year. There was a ‘it’s not working out,’ then all of a sudden it works out.”

The key differences between Neal and Hodgson here are that Neal showed up in Pittsburgh last year and essentially didn’t have a center to work with. This year he’s riding shotgun with Evgeni Malkin and they’ve been dynamic.

If Hodgson can find a high-scoring winger to work with and form chemistry with, he’ll be golden. Buffalo has the guys to do it in Thomas Vanek or Jason Pominville, but for now it looks like the Sabres want to get Hodgson rolling on a line that isn’t their first scoring unit. If it works out this way, hey it’s a huge win for Buffalo. Getting a 21-year-old center right as he’s about to break out is a good thing.

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.