Islanders’ Tavares nets hat trick against Devils


It’s gone perhaps a little bit under the radar, but John Tavares is closing in a goal-a-game pace.

The 22-year-old New York Islanders center scored three times in a 5-1 win over the New Jersey Devils Saturday night.

He now has 11 goals in 14 games, and is up to 20 points.

“I tried getting back to some things over the summer shooting-the-puck wise that I wanted to work on,” Tavares told NHL.com following the game.

“Not that I go out there thinking about leading the League in goals, but when I get opportunities, I want to capitalize.”

And to think Tavares went without a goal through the first four games of the season.

He now has at least a goal in each of his last five games.

“I think any great player puts a lot of responsibility on (themselves) because they want to lead (their) team,” Islanders head coach Jack Capuano told Associated Press.

“To me, an elite player is someone you watch night in and night out, and your coaches prepare for in your pre-scout. You’re looking at 91 (Tavares).”

The Islanders have now won back-to-back games, against their arch rivals, the New York Rangers, and the Devils.

“Not only are they doing the right things at the right times, but they’re playing physical,” Capuano said to NHL.com.

“That’s exactly what we want them to do. Hopefully that’ll continue for us. I would say that’s something that we were missing last year.”

Alexei Emelin was ejected for this hit on Matt Calvert

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Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.

The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.

So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.

You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.

Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.

Injuries continue to dog Lupul as Leafs place him on IR

Joffrey Lupul
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Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.

The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.

This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.

From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.

“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”

Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.

At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.

WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
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Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
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Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.