Joey MacDonald

The Flames will try to be less embarrassing tonight against San Jose


In the wake of an 8-2 “rock bottom” loss to Edmonton, the Calgary Flames are hoping for a much better effort tonight in San Jose against a red-hot Sharks side.

“That’s not fun. As players in that room, that’s embarrassing,” Flames forward Matt Stajan said. “We wear that jersey every night in the NHL, we have to put in a better effort than that.”

Calgary has lost three straight and is clearly struggling to adjust to life without Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester. The Flames have the worst defense in the NHL, surrendering 3.51 goals per game.

San Jose, meanwhile, has won six straight.

Once the Flames are finished at the Shark Tank, they’ll fly straight to Vancouver for another tough game Saturday night. The Canucks are coming off one of their best efforts of the season; they shut out the Oilers last night, 4-0, thanks in part to a strong debut from center Derek Roy and another excellent performance from goalie Cory Schneider.

“I’ve said it before — I feel this is the biggest challenge of my career,” Flames coach Bob Hartley said Thursday. “We need to get back in gear. We need to play our hearts out — it’s as simple as this. Pride. Obviously with the moves that we made, it’s pretty clear that we’re looking at investing (in the future), but while investing you can’t quit. I’m challenging our guys every day. It’s all about pride.”

Related: Feaster’s ‘marching order’ from ownership is to make the playoffs

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau
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If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.