Bylsma doesn’t think Cooke deserved major penalty


Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Dan Bylsma seemed to agree that Matt Cooke deserved a penalty for his hit from behind on Adam McQuaid, but maybe not a game misconduct.

“Clearly it’s a hit right through the numbers,” Bylsma said. “I don’t think it was a rough hit. I think he was going into the boards, it was right from the numbers. I’m not sure I thought it warranted a five-minute penalty. But, you know, he did come right behind the guy, was going in with the guy. There you have it.”

It’s common for coaches to stand up for their guys in these situations – or simply be biased due to a variety of factors – and some might say that Bylsma is guilty of that to an extent.

Still, at least he’s willing to admit there was something wrong with the hit.

More than anything else, though, he seemed upset that the Penguins lost their cool toward the end of the second period.

“I don’t think the situation at the end of the second period was in our favor,” Bylsma said. “We had a power-play. We had a power-play coming out of the third period. We got two of our power-play guys off the ice with those altercations.”

“Starting really at that point in time, with those guys going off the ice, it did I think get us off our game. I think we could have come out and scored a power-play goal, it would have been different. We weren’t able to get back at our game after that power-play.”

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

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

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

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.