Ottawa Senators v Calgary Flames

Sens’ Lehner to start versus Oilers, who just so happen to need a goalie


We don’t typically promote rampant trade speculation here on PHT (OK, we totally do), but we’d be remiss to not mention that goalie Robin Lehner will reportedly start for Ottawa tomorrow afternoon when the Senators host Edmonton.

The Oilers, of course, are believed to be scouring the league for a goalie — a direct response to Devan Dubnyk’s early-season struggles. And given the Sens already have Craig Anderson as their starter, well, perhaps there’s a match with Lehner and his career .927 save percentage in 27 NHL appearances?

Whatever. Just something to think about. But expect to hear the term “showcasing” to describe what the Sens may or may not be doing by giving the 22-year-old Lehner the nod versus Edmonton. (In reality, Anderson has started the last three games, so chances are it’s just Lehner’s turn. But what fun is reality?)

In a related story, TSN reporter Darren Dreger created quite the buzz yesterday when he went on the radio in Toronto and said he didn’t think the Maple Leafs would trade goalie James Reimer to Edmonton for Nail Yakupov.

“I don’t know that Toronto or any team in the National Hockey League, including Edmonton, is sold on Nail Yakupov,” said Dreger. “And that sounds like a pretty stinging indictment of this young man, first overall in 2012, but he just hasn’t developed to a point yet where you’re going to spend an asset that you can trust to take a shot on this guy.”

The Edmonton Journal has the full transcript of that conversation, if you’re curious.

Related: Russian Olympic scout blasts Yakupov

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane
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On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.