Evgeni Malkin

Tale of Tape: Penguins vs. Flyers

On Sunday, the Philadelphia Flyers will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins at Wells Fargo Center (12:30 pm ET, NBC) – here’s a look at recent history between the two clubs.

Philadelphia: 41-23-8, 3rd in Atlantic Division.
Leading scorer: Claude Giroux (26G-56A-82PTS)

Pittsburgh: 44-21-5, 2nd in Atlantic Division.
Leading scorer: Evgeni Malkin (40G-47A-87PTS)

Dec. 8, 2011 – Philadelphia 3, Pittsburgh 2. This was Pittsburgh’s first contest after Sidney Crosby’s initial eight-game comeback attempt. At the time, the Penguins were hoping that this was just one of two games Crosby would miss for precautionary reasons, but that proved not to be the case.

Going into this contest, Pittsburgh held first place in the Atlantic Division, but the Flyers’ had reduced their lead to one point during their three-game winning streak. Philadelphia took a 3-0 lead with goals from Danny Briere, Wayne Simmonds, and Scott Hartnell. James Neal and Evgeni Malkin each scored in the second half of the contest, but it was too little, too late. Philadelphia took the Division lead and would hold onto that title for a few weeks before the New York Rangers dethroned them.

Dec. 29, 2011 – Philadelphia 4, Pittsburgh 2. Jaromir Jagr made his return to Pittsburgh a memorable one. After Jordan Staal and Kimmo Timonen exchanged goals in the first period, Jagr broke the 1-1 tie at 6:03 of the second period, and then turned to the crowd to give them a salute.

Things went downhill from there for the Penguins.

Matt Read scored what would be the winning goal roughly 10 minutes later. Tyler Kennedy brought the Penguins back within one before Philadelphia’s Maxime Talbot, who was also making his return to Pittsburgh, scored with just 25 seconds left on the clock.

This loss brought an end to the Penguins’ four-game winning streak. Over the span of a month, Pittsburgh had gone from leading its division to being two points behind both the Flyers and the Rangers.

Feb. 18, 2012 – Pittsburgh 6, Philadelphia 4. It took three tries, but the Penguins finally beat the Flyers. Matt Cooke was the hero for Pittsburgh, scoring two goals and three points in the contest. Cooke and Jordan Staal both netted shorthanded goals just 1:43 minutes apart in the second period.

After the second Penguins shorthanded goal, which occurred at 16:57 of the second period, Ilya Bryzgalov was yanked from the game. In one of his many interesting interviews throughout the season, Bryzgalov suggested that he was a “scapegoat” while also admitting that he was frustrated with his game. Bryzgalov would start in four more contests before he began a seven-game winning streak that included four shutouts.

Although this was ultimately a game the Flyers would probably like to forget, it was another big one for Jagr. He scored twice in the losing effort and currently has more goals against Pittsburgh this season than any other team.

Avalanche say ankle injury ends Nikita Zadorov’s season

DENVER, CO - DECEMBER 14: Nikita Zadorov #16 of the Colorado Avalanche congratulates Matt Duchene #9 after his goal against the Philadelphia Flyers at the Pepsi Center on December 14, 2016 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
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As if the Colorado Avalanche needed another miserable element to 2016-17: Nikita Zadorov suffered a season-ending injury during the same practice that Erik Johnson returned.

Zadorov injured his ankle after being tangled up with Mikko Rantanen during a Monday practice, according to the Denver Post.

Update: The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers reports that it’s a fractured ankle. Yikes.

Zadorov, 21, is a big defenseman with the pedigree that would inspire teams to imagine better things in the future (16th pick in 2013 by Buffalo). So far, that potential hasn’t really manifested itself in production, whether you judge a player by points, plus/minus or possession numbers.

He may be able to put it together at some point – again, he’s young – so perhaps he’ll remember this as a low point before he turns things around.

At the moment, it’s just another grim part of a bleak time for the Avs.

Kings may just lean on Budaj as Quick progresses toward return

LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 08:  Goaltender Jonathan Quick #32 of the Los Angeles Kings stands on the ice during a preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche at T-Mobile Arena on October 8, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Colorado won 2-1 in overtime.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
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LA Kings Insider provided a mostly positive update about Jonathan Quick‘s gradual recovery from what’s been a season-long injury. Still, it’s difficult to get a truly concrete idea about the team’s plans.

Quick told Jon Rosen that “everything’s coming along really well,” but they didn’t give a hard date on when he may suit up again for Los Angeles.

(NHL.com and Rosen’s report remind us that the general aim is for “the first half of March.”)

The Kings were mulling over the possibility of recalling former Stars first-round pick Jack Campbell to attempt to ease the surprisingly large burden on journeyman goalie Peter Budaj, but Rosen reports that such discussions have been “tabled.”

Jeff Zatkoff has been a mixture of inactive and ineffective for the Kings, so what about getting help elsewhere for Budaj? That part’s a little fuzzy, though it’s clear that Budaj – Zatkoff is the duo for the moment.

Darryl Sutter backs that up, via Rosen:

But, according to a source, Campbell’s recall has been tabled, as it appears as though Budaj and Zatkoff will be the duo until Quick is able to return, and that no cut-off will be necessary as Quick is “on that path” towards being game-ready, according to Sutter.

None of this explicitly shuts down at least the thought of trading for goaltending help, though it doesn’t give you the impression that such a move is pressing for the Kings. They’re not laying out a deadline, whether it be a self-imposed one or the trade deadline itself.

Some of this seems a little unclear, though it currently follows the pattern of this season: it falls on Budaj, at least until Quick is back. Whenever that may be.

Trouba suspended two games for ‘high, forceful’ headshot on Stone

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Jets blueliner Jacob Trouba has been suspended two games for his headshot on Ottawa forward Mark Stone, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced on Monday.

“Trouba steps up and delivers a high, forceful blow that makes the head the main point of contact, on a hit where such head contact was avoidable,” the DoPS explained. “The onus here is on Trouba to deliver a full body hit through his opponent’s core. Instead, Trouba takes a poor angle of approach, picking Stone’s head.”

The incident occurred in Winnipeg’s 3-2 win over Ottawa on Sunday. Trouba was given a two-minute minor on the play, much to the displeasure of Ottawa head coach Guy Boucher.

Stone didn’t return to the game following the hit but, according to the DoPS, “suffered no apparent injury.”

Trouba will now miss tomorrow’s game in Toronto, then Winnipeg’s next game following the bye week — on Feb. 28, against Minnesota. He’s eligible to return on Mar. 3, when the Jets host the Blues.

Trouba will also forfeit $33,333.34 in salary to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Sens extend depth blueliner Claesson — one year, $650,000

OTTAWA, ON - APRIL 5: Fredrik Claesson #49 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Canadian Tire Centre on April 5, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Jana Chytilova/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)
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Ottawa made a minor move on Monday, agreeing to terms with d-man Fredrik Claesson on a one-year extension worth $650,000.

The deal is of the one-way variety.

Claesson, 24, has appeared in 19 games for the Sens this year, scoring five points. He’s averaging just 10:27 per game but has been a more regular lineup fixture regularly, having played in five of Ottawa’s last six games.

The Swedish rearguard has also appeared in nine games for AHL Binghamton. Since coming over from SHL outfit Djurgardens in 2013, Claesson has been up and down between Bingo and Ottawa frequently, though this latest deal would suggest he’s in line for a more permanent NHL gig.