Did you know Wayne Simmonds is the NHL’s leading scorer since Dec. 17?


From the NHL’s morning email:

1. Wayne Simmonds (PHI): 12-10—22 in 17 GP
2. John Tavares (NYI): 10-12-22 in 16 GP
3. Thomas Vanek (NYI): 7-14—21 in 17 GP
4. Sidney Crosby (PIT): 6-15—21 in 14 GP
5. Joe Pavelski (SJ): 15-5—20 in 17 GP
6. Kyle Okposo (NYI): 10-10—20 in 16 GP

Those stats are courtesy the Elias Sports Bureau, and they show a couple of things:

First, Simmonds has been a huge part of the Flyers’ resurgence. The 25-year-old seems to have found some real cohesiveness with linemates Brayden Schenn and Scott Hartnell.

“A lot of it is chemistry between the three of them,” coach Craig Berube said last week, per Philly.com. “I think it took some time, but they have got it now. Little things like puck support and battling in the corners for pucks, and people at the net all the time. All their goals are [because of] guys around the net.”

For all the ripping Flyers management rightly receives for some of the contracts it puts on the books, Simmonds’ deal is looking pretty good right now — a cap hit of $3.975 million, and signed through 2018-19.

Second, the Islanders have been scoring a lot. In their past 12 games — during which they’ve gone 9-3-0 — the team is averaging 3.58 goals per game. This is a fun group of players to watch right now, and it can’t do anything but help the Isles convince Vanek to re-sign.

Defensively, however, the Isles still have their issues. Consider this — in five of their last nine wins, the opponent has still managed to score at least three goals. There’s nothing wrong with winning high-scoring affairs, of course, but the truly elite teams in the NHL consistently win all sorts of games, from 7-3 to 1-0.

The Isles have a tough schedule to close the month, starting tonight at MSG versus the Rangers. Should be interesting to see how they do:


Bad news for Boedker: Coyotes won’t face Sens again in 2015-16

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Sorry Mikkel Boedker, you won’t get to face the Ottawa Senators again this season.

OK, it could happen if the speedster is traded from the Arizona Coyotes. He could also face the Senators in the unlikely instance that the two teams fight it out in the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Beyond those two possibilities, Saturday night was it, and Boedker must have been licking his chops much like an actual coyote.

For the second straight game, Boedker managed a hat trick against the Senators, helping Arizona beat Ottawa 4-3 last night. His third tally stood as the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.

You can watch all three goals in the video above.

It’s oddly fitting that Boedker has three goals this season … against teams not named the Ottawa Senators.

Hey, Tortorella called the Penguins whiners again

John Tortorella

Don’t forget, the Blue Jackets – Penguins rivalry isn’t just about the bitterness between Sidney Crosby and Brandon Dubinsky; John Tortorella can fuel the fire, too.

Torts must not have been happy about the one-game suspension that Dubinsky received for cross-checking Crosby, as he channeled his vintage self in essentially calling the Penguins a bunch of whiners.

You can see from this glorious Sportsnet video, Tortorella said: “Pittsburgh whines enough for the whole league.”

(He also said the Blue Jackets weren’t going to whine by … whining. Good stuff.)

As Puck Daddy notes, this isn’t the first time Torts claimed that the Penguins are whiners.

Both the Blue Jackets and Penguins lost their games on Saturday, but clearly some eyes and ears were still focused on their last confrontation.

In case you’re wondering, the two teams next face off in Pittsburgh on Dec. 21.


Scary moment: Carlo Colaiacovo hospitalized with ‘dented trachea’


Buffalo Sabres defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo has experienced plenty of bad injury luck in his winding career, but Saturday presented one of his worst scares.

As you can see from the video above, Colaiacovo received a scary cross-check from Viktor Arvidsson of the Nashville Predators, who received a major penalty and game misconduct.

Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma said that Colaiacovo was hospitalized with a “dented trachea” yet is OK, the Buffalo News’ John Vogl reports.

Frightening stuff from an eventual 4-1 Sabres win.

PHT will keep an eye out for additional updates regarding Colaiacovo’s health (and a possible suspension for Arvidsson).

Comeback Kings: Gaborik pulls L.A. past Kane, Blackhawks

Jake Muzzin, Scott Darling

Patrick Kane set an American scoring record, and added another assist to make it more impressive, but the Los Angeles Kings just wouldn’t be denied.

In the end, Marian Gaborik‘s big night meant more than Kane’s; he scored the tying and then overtime game-winner, both assisted by Anze Kopitar, for a rousing 4-3 overtime Kings win.

Gaborik’s first goal:

And here’s video of the OT-GWG:

Noticing a theme tonight? Yeah, it’s been an evening in which it’s dangerous to assume a lead would stand.

With that, the Kings stick to the No. 1 spot in the Pacific Division, but Chicago shouldn’t feel all bad. The Blackhawks were able to piece together a decent run during their dreaded “circus trip.”