Edmonton Oilers v New York Rangers

Don’t count out Nikolai Khabibulin

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The Edmonton Oilers’ ideal plan likely revolves around Devan Dubnyk having a season as big as he is.

The Oilers of all teams should know that things rarely shake out ideally in the NHL, which is one of several reasons why the franchise would be wise to keep an eye on aging veteran Nikolai Khabibulin.

Here are some other reasons.

1. “Money” goalie

“The Bulin Wall” should not be taken lightly in a contract year.

He put up pretty good numbers during his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, but the team won its surprising Stanley Cup when Khabibulin was in a contract year.*

The Chicago Blackhawks signed and then essentially gave up on him only to see Khabibulin usurp fellow conveniently hot netminder Cristobal Huet in his last contract year.

Much like Huet, Dubnyk’s track record is slim, so Khabibulin could snatch the job.

2. They already put up with his worst

Khabibulin sported a .890 save percentage in 2010-11 and dealt with embarrassing off-the-ice issues, but the Oilers stood by him anyway. Why not benefit from that patience, then?

3. Flashes of brilliance

As you may remember, Khabibulin started last season on fire. If nothing else, that could be evidence he might have one Dwayne Roloson in 2011-type run left in him.

***

Sure, he’s getting old and probably isn’t Edmonton’s first choice, but don’t be shocked if Khabibulin eventually ends up being the top guy for the Oilers next season.

* Also in contract years then: Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis. Hmm.

Related

Is Devan Dubnyk the man?

Hemsky’s health could be a headache

Justin Schultz represents future of Oilers’ D

Kopitar dominates with a hat trick to help Kings defeat Rangers in OT

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Anze Kopitar received high praise from L.A. Kings coach Darryl Sutter following Friday’s win over the New York Rangers.

All Kopitar did was score three goals on four shots on goal. He was also credited with five hits while winning 65 per cent of his faceoffs. His third goal of the evening with 30 seconds remaining in regulation pushed this game into overtime, where Tanner Pearson scored the winner for L.A. in a 5-4 victory.

“It was Kopi’s best game of the season, that’s for sure,” said Sutter, as per LA Kings Insider.

“Not just because he scored three goals, but it was his best game all around in terms of using his whole package. I mean, he was a pretty dominant player.”

L.A. maintain an eight-point lead on the San Jose Sharks for the Pacific Division lead.

The Kings’ victory came at a cost. Marian Gaborik left the game in the first period after being involved in an awkward collision. He did not return, and Sutter didn’t have an update on the veteran forward when the game ended.

Video: P.K. Subban tossed after on-ice outburst toward officials

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P.K. Subban was given a game misconduct on Friday after an outburst directed at officials in the final minute against the Buffalo Sabres.

Subban was furious after the puck got caught up in the skates of the linesman in the neutral zone before Evander Kane then picked it up and scored into the open net. That put the Sabres up by two goals with 55 seconds remaining in regulation and ended any hopes of a Montreal comeback.

Subban had some choice words for officials but his argument ultimately landed him with an early exit from this game. The Habs lost by a final score of 6-4.

The Sabres scored four straight goals between the first and second periods, chasing Ben Scrivens from the net 1:28 into the second period.

 

Video: Doan ties Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history

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Shane Doan on Friday scored his 20th goal of the season, and tied a historical mark for the initial Winnipeg Jets/Arizona Coyotes franchise in the process.

Doan scored in the first period against the Calgary Flames, tying him with Dale Hawerchuk for most points in Jets/Coyotes history with 929.

Now 39 years old, Doan has spent his entire career with that organization, playing one season in Winnipeg before the organization moved to Phoenix.

He also joined another impressive list, too.

Leafs’ Corrado returns to Vancouver with a chip on his shoulder

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Just as the Vancouver Canucks are once again struggling through injuries and with their depth on defense a constant question mark, Frank Corrado returns to town with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

It’s a quick visit. The Leafs and Canucks do battle on Saturday, with the hosts wearing their famous ‘Flying Skate’ logo from the 1990s.

But the return of Corrado with a different team provides a juicy storyline in Vancouver.

The Canucks waived the 22-year-old defenseman in October.

He was claimed by the Leafs, which ended his time in Vancouver when it previously started with promise and optimism.

He quickly ascended as a prospect after being selected in the fifth round five years ago. But when training camp rolled around this season, Canucks GM Jim Benning was of the belief that Corrado had been passed in the depth chart by a few other defensemen in the system.

The move has been criticized in Vancouver because the Canucks lost an asset — a 22-year-old right-shooting defenseman with potential — for nothing.

Corrado had some interesting things to say about how his time in Vancouver eventually played out, as per Josh Clipperton of the Canadian Press.

Two examples:

Corrado has played 10 games for the Leafs this season, with three assists. He made his Leafs debut more than two months after being claimed.