For some – especially many fans in the building on Monday – the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 6-0 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets is on James Reimer’s head. Others believe that the Buds’ budding issues go much deeper than that.
The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle probably summarizes the “deeper issues” argument most succinctly: the Leafs have only won two of their last 10 games in regulation, scoring a mere 16 goals in that span.
(Slight bright side: Toronto eked out two shootout wins, so it eases the pain a bit that the Leafs are 4-5-1 in those 10 contests.)
Wherever you rest the blame, it was a lousy night for Toronto, as Columbus scored two goals in each period for a resounding win. Possibly losing Joffrey Lupul could add an injury to the insults.
Ryan Johansen scored two goals and one assist while Ryan Murray collected a tally and helper of his own as Sergei Bobrovsky generated his first shutout of 2013-14.
While Toronto may or may not be concerned about its recent play, the Blue Jackets probably feel solid about their five-game road trip through Canada. While they suffered two blowout losses (7-0 vs. Edmonton on Nov. 19, 6-2 vs. Vancouver on Nov. 22), they managed a 3-2-0 record. Not bad for a team that lost three straight games before they went on the road.
Shayne Gostisbehere is the proud owner of a new rookie record.
With his goal in the third period of Saturday’s 2-1 OT loss to the Devils, the 22-year-old extended his point streak to 11 games, which is a record for rookie defensemen in the NHL.
Gostisbehere has an incredible 10 goals and 30 points in 35 games this season.
Gostisbehere’s goal tied the game at one after Devils forward Joseph Blandisi scored this beauty in the first period:
Adam Henrique added the game-winning goal in overtime.
It’s the second straight 2-1 victory for the Devils, who also beat the Oilers by the same score on Tuesday night.
The Flyers have just one win in their last five contests.
To add insult to injury, Philadelphia lost Michael Del Zotto to an upper-body injury, per GM Ron Hextall.
Here’s an updated look at the Metropolitan division standings and Wild Card race:
CHICAGO (AP) Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin is expected to play Saturday night against Anaheim after missing two games with an illness.
Panarin participated in Chicago’s optional morning skate, and coach Joel Quenneville says the rookie will be in the lineup against the Ducks.
The 24-year-old Panarin, who has played on Chicago’s second line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane for most of the season, is second on the team with 34 assists and 52 points. The Blackhawks dropped both games while he was out.
Some good news/bad news for the Rangers.
Exactly one week after suffering a concussion against the Philadelphia Flyers, defenseman Ryan McDonagh returned to the ice with his teammates this morning.
The Rangers captain was wearing a non-contract jersey, but “looked good” according to coach Alain Vigneault.
McDonagh was hurt after taking a punch to the head from Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds (above).
The 26-year-old has missed each of his team’s last three games since suffering the injury.
McDonagh hasn’t been cleared for contact, but that could happen in the next few days according to Vigneault.
The news wasn’t as good for forward Rick Nash, who’s been dealing with a bone bruise in his leg.
Nash has missed each of New York last eight game’s and Vigneault admitted that he’s no longer considered day-to-day.
He’ll miss at least another week.
What a story Joseph Blandisi‘s been for the New Jersey Devils this season.
The 21-year-old played in his first NHL game on Dec. 11 and has stayed with the Devils ever since.
It took him five games to pick up his first career point, but he’s done a whole lot more damage since then.
Blandisi came into Saturday’s action with 10 points in his last 12 games and he added to that against the Flyers.
He opened the scoring with this beautiful between-the-legs goal on goalie Michal Neuvirth (top of the page).
That’s Blandisi’s fourth goal of the season.
Some Twitter reaction to the goal: