Sedin admits plan to contribute more defensively may have backfired


Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin wanted to become more than the players that each won an Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s leading scorers.

They wanted to be trusted in all situations, not just offensive ones.

They wanted to contribute defensively, especially when they were having trouble scoring.

And John Tortorella was only too happy to oblige when he became Vancouver’s new coach.

Well, the plan — noble as it may have been — didn’t work. The Canucks are going to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2008. And with their seasons almost done, each of the twins remains below the 50-point mark.

“We wanted to become more two-way players where you can rely on us playing in our end and being good for our D-men,” Henrik explained, per The Province. “We wanted it to be so everyone can trust us in our end.

“We may have had a tough time combining the two.”

Under Tortorella, the Sedins still started a large portion of their shifts in the offensive zone, and they only averaged around a minute per game on the penalty kill.

But during their scoring-title years under Alain Vigneault, they started a massively large portion of their shifts in the offensive zone, and they barely spent any time on the PK. It was forwards like Ryan Kesler and Manny Malhotra who were given the tough defensive responsibilities, and the Canucks enjoyed a great deal of success when they were deployed like that.

If Tortorella is fired, as many expect he will be shortly, expect player deployment to be a major question facing the new coach.

Related: If the Sedins get hurt blocking shots, ‘so be it,’ says Torts

Price paid: Devils come back against Condon, Canadiens

Mike Condon, John Moore,
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If nothing else, the New Jersey Devils seem like they won’t be the sort of team a contender can essentially mark off as a “W” on their calendars.

The Montreal Canadiens may not be in a position to take opponents lightly with Carey Price on the shelf, but whatever the case may be, they saw their four-game winning streak end in frustrating fashion on Saturday.

After falling behind 2-0, the Devils scrapped their way back into it, eventually riding a John Moore overtime goal to a 3-2 OT win.

If Montreal needs an obvious bright side to look on considering this hiccup, Alex Galchenyuk‘s hot weekend may be a good thing to look at.

Tonight’s loss may smart a bit anyway, however.

Metro’s best? Capitals keep winning, pass Rangers for division lead

Jonathan Bernier; Matt Niskanen; Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau

If you want to summarize the Capitals – Maple Leafs game in one sentence, you could do worse than:

“Washington is hot as Jonathan Bernier is cold.”

The Caps reeled off a 4-2 win against Toronto on Saturday, giving them five straight wins. They also jumped into first place in the Metropolitan Division today, as they keep climbing while the New York Rangers are experiencing some growing pains.

Again, James Reimer can’t get healthy and back in Toronto’s net too soon:

With this win, Washington is now 17-5-1, leading the Metro by one point with 35 standings points. They also hold a game in hand against the Rangers, and no other Metro team even has 30 right now.

Measuring stick stretch begins

Tonight’s game began a “prove-it” month-and-change for Washington.

This contest began a three-game road trip, and they’ll also play six of seven away from Washington.

It’s pretty rough through the start of 2016, really. The Capitals will only enjoy three home games through Jan. 9.

In other words, the Capitals seem like a convincing East contender, but look out if they remain hot through the next 5-6 weeks.

Video: Evgeni Malkin leaves Oilers spinning


Yes, there’s a lot of drama surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins, whether it’s founded on serious problems or merely speculation.

It’s easy to get swept up in all of that and ignore the fact that, hey, they still have Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. Those two can really heal wounds with their on-ice play, and in Saturday’s case, Malkin is taking over against the Edmonton Oilers.

His spin-o-rama goal above was a real jaw-dropper. He also scored Pittsburgh’s second tally:

These highlights feel like Malkin’s way of saying “It’s going to be just fine.”

Update: It wasn’t enough for a win, however, as the Oilers beat the Penguins 3-2 via a shootout.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.