NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 18: Jason Spezza #19 of the Ottawa Senators skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on December 18, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Senators 5-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

‘It’s embarrassing’: Spezza blasts Sens after allowing eight vs. Rangers


Ottawa captain Jason Spezza has been pretty vocal about his team lately and, on Tuesday, that trend continued.

“It’s embarrassing,” Spezza said after the Sens were routed 8-4 by the Rangers, per the Sun. “That was a must-win game for us.

“To give up eight is unacceptable. It’s been the same thing all year for us. (This) was a microcosm of a lot of things.”

It’s likely Spezza was referring to Ottawa’s dreadful second period effort. While the shots were close — 17 for the Rangers, 16 for the Sens — it was New York that scored all the goals, including three in a four-minute span late in the frame. Benoit Pouliot, John Moore and Ryan McDonagh scored the markers, which all but deflated a Sens team that came into the second period up 2-1.

But back to Spezza for a minute.

The veteran center, in his first year as Ottawa’s captain, has talked quite a bit about his team’s disappointing campaign recently. Earlier in the week he admitted the Sens’ playoff picture ‘is not looking good,’ claiming he was ‘frustrated’ with a weekend effort in which they only mustered one point from losses to Montreal and Colorado.

As such, it’ll be interesting to see what the future has in store for the 30-year-old. Next year will be the last of Spezza’s seven-year, $49 million deal, one that carries an average annual cap hit of $7 million. His name popped up in trade rumors back at the Mar. 5 deadline and one has to wonder if they’ll surface again at the NHL Entry Draft in June.

Vatrano presence: Bruins edge Red Wings in overtime

Frank Vatrano David Krejci
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The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.

In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).

Here’s his first goal of the night:

While this is his overtime game-winner:

It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.

The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.

October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.

November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.

Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.

More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.

Crosby roars, Malkin scores in OT for Penguins win

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Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.

Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:

… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.

(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)

Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.

You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.

Fight video: Claude Giroux vs. Nick Leddy

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Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.

Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.

You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.

It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.

Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.

Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.

Carter Hutton gets flipped, stays in game

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Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.

Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:

Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.

If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.

Check out this incredible shot of that moment:

Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.