Penguins fans

TGIF: Five NHL games to watch this weekend


Saturday: Edmonton at Philadelphia (1 p.m. ET)

Look, we all know these two teams have been terrible. In fact, given expectations, they’re probably the two most disappointing teams in the NHL. Which is exactly why everyone should watch this game. Nothing like a good sports disaster. If the Flyers can’t get the offense going against Edmonton, we’re not sure there’s any hope for Claude Giroux and company. The Oilers rank dead last in the NHL in goals against (3.82) and, based on what we saw last night in Tampa Bay, it’s not hard to understand why:

Next time, maybe watch out for that Stamkos guy. Pretty good player.

Saturday: Toronto at Boston (7 p.m. ET)

The last time the Maple Leafs visited TD Garden, they experienced one of the most devastating moments in franchise history. Which, you know, was kind of a big deal at the time. We are, of course, referring to Game 7 of Toronto’s first-round matchup with the Bruins that the Leafs led 4-1 almost halfway through the third period. Yada, yada, yada, Boston ended up winning and making it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where oddly enough the B’s were undone by their own third-period collapse. Sports!

Saturday: Pittsburgh at St. Louis (8 p.m. ET)

Time for a little Pens fans trolling. OK, here we go. Let’s see how upset they get when we suggest their precious Penguins have had the easiest schedule in the world and have been nowhere near as good as their 11-5-0 record indicates. Case in point, in 16 games, the Pens have only played three teams from the far superior Western Conference. They beat Edmonton by a goal at home. (Hey, congratulations.) They were badly outplayed, at home again, by the Canucks, even though they managed to win that one in a shootout. And they lost, 1-0 — yep, at home — to Colorado. Good luck against the Blues. Gonna need it.

Sunday: Washington at Colorado (8 p.m. ET)

The Caps won their fourth straight Thursday versus the Wild and, in a very related story, are starting to get scoring from guys not named Alex Ovechkin. Marcus Johansson, for example, has two goals in his last two games. Nicklas Backstrom has been putting the puck in the net. Joel Ward has five goals in his last nine games. As for the Avs, how will they react this weekend after losing 6-4 to Nashville on Wednesday? Everyone’s just waiting for them to fall apart, right? Worth noting: the Caps also play Saturday in Phoenix, so this could be a tough one fatigue-wise.

Sunday: Vancouver at Anaheim (8 p.m. ET)

The Canucks — who finally beat San Jose Thursday night — finish off a tough four-game road trip versus the red-hot Ducks. Sunday’s will be the first of five Vancouver-Anaheim meetings this season. If you haven’t noticed, the Pacific Division continues to be an absolute monster. Here’s a stat to consider: The Ducks, Canucks, Coyotes, Kings, and Sharks are a combined 28-9-4 versus teams from the Eastern Conference. Seriously, imagine if the Penguins had to play good teams like those all the time. Would they even make the playoffs?

Alumni rosters announced for Bruins-Habs at Gillette Stadium

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The Winter Classic Alumni Game is back this year, scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Gillette Stadium between former members of the Montreal Canadiens and Boston Bruins.

Today, the NHL announced the rosters and coaching staffs.

Famous ex-Habs that will take to the outdoor ice include Larry Robinson, Guy Carbonneau, and Mats Naslund. Behind the bench will be Yvan Cournoyer, Jacques Demers and Guy Lafleur, among others.

The home side will counter with Bruins legends Ray Bourque, Cam Neely, and “Nifty” Rick Middleton, while Don Cherry, Mike Milbury, and Derek Sanderson will be among the coaches. (Quite a trio of personalities right there.)

Here are the full rosters:


NBCSN will broadcast the alumni game nationally in the United States, while Sportsnet and TVA Sports will have it in Canada.

The 2016 Winter Classic will be played the next day (on NBC).

Goalie nods: Andersen’s ‘flu-like symptoms’ mean Khudobin starts versus Flames

Anton Khudobin, Frederik Andersen
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With Frederik Andersen experiencing “flu-like symptoms” (PHT diagnosis: it might be the flu), the Anaheim Ducks will turn to backup Anton Khudobin for tonight’s home game versus Calgary.

Khudobin could, in turn, be backed up by Josh Gibson, recalled today from AHL San Diego. The Ducks have officially listed Andersen as “questionable.”

Khudobin (3-3-0, .917) has not started a game in over a week. His last action came exactly a week ago, after Andersen got the hook versus Nashville.

Andersen may or may not travel with the Ducks for tomorrow’s game at Arizona.

The Ducks, of course, are coming off a 5-0 loss to Tampa Bay, a result that produced the following quote from Ryan Kesler:

After a four-game winning streak to start November, Anaheim has since dropped five of its last seven.

Karri Ramo will be in net for the Flames. After a terrible start to the season, he’s been much better lately, allowing just eight goals combined in his last four starts.


Craig Anderson for the Senators. Antti Niemi for the Stars.

Torts: Jackets still need more ‘bite’

John Tortorella

The hope was that the Columbus Blue Jackets would be jolted into a great, long winning streak, and their season would be saved.

The reality of John Tortorella’s first month behind the bench has been, well, reality. The Jackets are 8-7-0 since Todd Richards was fired. Better than 0-7-0, sure, but at 8-14-0 overall, they remain last in the Eastern Conference.

Fifteen games into his tenure, Tortorella is still trying to get his message across.

“A big reason why we bring them in (to practice yesterday and today) is because we don’t have a full understanding of the standard we need to be at in all areas of the game,” he told The Columbus Dispatch. “Some things you can’t control in our game, but it’s how hard you play, how hard you are with your bite as a team, and the pace you play with – you can control that.”

The Jackets play Wednesday in New Jersey, where they’ll look to shake off Sunday’s disappointing home loss to San Jose. Columbus held a 3-1 third-period lead in that one. The Sharks scored four straight to win 5-3.


— The Canucks need ‘more bite’

The Rangers are better when they have ‘more bite’

Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer


The San Jose Sharks have signed forward Dainius Zubrus to a one-year, two way contract, the club announced today.

Zubrus was given a tryout with the Sharks last week.

The 37-year-old played 74 games with the Devils last season, scoring just four goals with six assists. His contract was then bought out.

According to a Mercury News source, the decision to sign Zubrus lay “mainly” with his former coach in New Jersey, now San Jose’s bench boss, Pete DeBoer.

“He looks good,” DeBoer said of Zubrus last week, per CSN Bay Area. “He looks close. It’s tough to find six-foot-four, 215-pound guys who can play. … He’s an easy guy to play because he’s defensively reliable. He plays a big possession, heavy game. There’s a lot to like there.”

In a related move, the Sharks have reassigned forward Nikolay Goldobin to the AHL.

Related: Where’s the depth in San Jose?