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• Certain NHLers prefer not wearing a helmet during pre-game warmups so they can show off their hair. (Sports Illustrated)
• The Columbus Blue Jackets have one of the top penalty-killing units in the NHL. It’s so good, it’s even won them games. (Columbus Dispatch)
• The Montreal Canadiens have a couple of days off after their ugly loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night. They have plenty to figure out before they take on the Devils on Thursday. (Habs Eyes on the Prize)
• With whiffs of expansion in the air, hockey fans and bar owners are excited to find out whether or not Seattle can become a hockey town. (National Post)
• Even though they’re one of the teams that’s scored the least amount of goals this season, Fear the Fin doesn’t believe that the Sharks need to make a trade for a scoring forward. (Fear the Fin)
• Team USA will look to repeat as World Junior Hockey Championship champions. Here’s a full preview of what the roster might look like. (The Hockey Writers)
Players of the Night:
Curtis McElhinney, Toronto Maple Leafs:
McElhinney turned aside all 41 shots that came his way as the Leafs shutout the Edmonton Oilers 1-0. The Leafs backup improved to 3-2-0 on the season and his save percentage jumped from .900 to 9.25. Toronto has now won three straight and six of their past 10.
Brayden Schenn, St. Louis Blues:
Schenn notched his sixth goal in his past four games and extended his goal-scoring streak to four games with a goal 40 seconds into the game. The Blues are now winners of four straight and six of their past 10.
Eric Stall, Minnesota Wild & Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks:
Both scored twice for their respective teams in an entertaining 4-3 win for the Wild in overtime.
Highlight of the Night:
Vladimir Tarasenko catches the Sabres defense sleeping in overtime, scoring his first non-empty net goal in nine games:
Factoid of the Night:
Patrick Kane didn’t score, but his two assists were instrumental in giving the Chicago Blackhawks a victory on Sunday.
Blackhawks 3, Coyotes 1
Blues 3, Sabres 2 (OT)
Maple Leafs 1, Oilers 0
Wild 4, Sharks 3
Not after Burrows swiped DeMelo in the face with the butt-end of his stick on Saturday night.
Burrows got slapped with a $5,000 fine for roughing on Sunday night, the maximum permissible under the CBA. The money is one thing, but Burrows and the Senators have bigger issues at the moment.
It didn’t help the little incident happened in the third period and the game all but over for the Senators. Here’s the slow-mo shot of the infraction:
DeMelo was in the lineup for the Sharks on Sunday against the Minnesota Wild.
Burrows’ $5,000 goes to the player’s Emergency Assistance Fund.
Might regression be hitting the Winnipeg Jets at the moment?
It’s a question Jets fans are asking themselves after a three-game road trip that produced just a single point and a goose egg in the win column.
It’s the first time the Jets have lost three straight all season. In year’s past, this wouldn’t have come as much surprise, but the Jets have thrown the status quo out the window this season and have sung a different tune.
The analytics would suggest the Jets were due for a fall back to earth.
For most of the season, they’ve been near the bottom of the league in terms of Corsi, with only recently climbing up that ladder with a help of a very lopsided game against the Ottawa Senators.
Regression in goal is also starting to happen, and a lot of Winnipeg’s early-season success had to do with how well Connor Hellebuyck had been playing.
Hellebuyck has been sensational most of the season and his 15-3-4 record supports that. But his save percentage has been trending in the wrong direction lately. In five of his past six starts, Hellebuyck has only achieved a .900 save percentage or better once, and that came in that 5-0 shutout against the Senators.
Nov. 27 vs MIN: .895
Nov. 29 vs COL: .885
Dec. 1 vs VGK: .871
Dec. 3 vs. OTT: 1.000
Dec. 5 vs DET: .844
Dec. 9 vs TBL: .857
The Jets give up a lot of shots, so the odds that Hellebuyck’s early season numbers would survive throughout the year were low.
The sky is by no means falling in Winnipeg. The Jets showed they can go toe-to-toe with the league’s best on Saturday. Overtime has just been the bane of their existence this season with a 0-5 record in free hockey.
The Jets touched the summit of the Western Conference last week, a pipe dream around these parts in recent times. They also possess two of the league’s top point-producers (Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler) and one of the league’s top goal scorers (Patrik Laine), not to mention having a rookie just outside top 10 in rookie scoring (Kyle Connor).
Prior to the road trip, Winnipeg’s power play had scored eight times in 19 attempts.
The Jets have also been largely healthy. Defenseman Toby Enstrom is the midst of an eight-week spell in the press box — and there’s a pending diagnosis coming for Dustin Byfuglien after he left Saturday’s game in Tampa Bay with a lower-body injury — but the Jets gotten by relatively unscathed thus far and managed well when Mathieu Perreault and Adam Lowry missed several games.
The Jets have made too many strides this season to regress too far away from where they are right now. Asking a team to go from outside the playoff line to tops in the division might be asking a tad too much. But with that said, the Jets are simply a good team these days and stacked with high-level talent.