— Up top, relive the Blue Jackets’ overtime victory Sunday in Vancouver. The Canucks came oh-so-close to ending the Jackets’ winning streak, but moments after Ben Hutton hit the post, Seth Jones made it nine in a row for the NHL’s biggest surprise.
— Speaking of Jones, did you know he lives where Ryan Johansen used to live? Yep, in a downtown Columbus condo that’s owned by Cam Atkinson. “The irony of renting the apartment that used to belong to the player for whom he was traded last season in one of the league’s blockbuster deals is not lost on Jones. It’s simply another reminder of how much more complicated and interconnected life has become for the young star.” (ESPN)
— The News & Observer digs into what went wrong last night at PNC Arena in Carolina, where the Hurricanes-Red Wings game had to be postponed after the ice-chilling system broke down. “It’s very concerning. The question now is what do we do next? There will be due diligence to see what happened. We will diagnose it and then put a priority on making sure it doesn’t happen again. We’ve got to get it fixed. This is the area’s arena. This can’t happen again.” (News & Observer)
— Five questions with Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, who doesn’t pretend it’s been easy to handle his team’s goaltending situation. “Well it’s without question a challenge, but I would guess that most coaching staffs in the league would like to have that challenge. We have two very capable guys (Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray). We have two No. 1 goaltenders who have shown through their bodies of work that they’re legit No. 1 NHL goaltenders. We’ve tried to keep them both involved, but do it in a way that gives our team the best chance to win night in and night out.” (NHL.com)
— Ducks center Ryan Kesler, a former Selke Trophy winner, is regularly tasked with shutting down the NHL’s most dangerous forwards. Here’s what he tries to do against Connor McDavid: “You’ve just got to stay close to him. He’s so dynamic, he’s so explosive — you got to be above him all the time. He’s going to get his chances, but that’s when the whole line comes into effect. Just got to try and stay above him and be hard on him, make him hate playing against you. Stay close to him and really make that neutral zone tough because that’s where he generates most of his offense, and on the rush.” (TSN)
— USA Today makes 10 predictions for 2017, including this one: “New York Rangers will trade Derek Stepan for help on defense. Stepan has a no-trade clause that kicks in next season. Several teams are looking for skillful centers. The Rangers have depth up front.” The Blueshirts also have to re-sign Mika Zibanejad, a pending RFA. And with the development of Kevin Hayes, trading Stepan does seem more plausible now than in the past. But they’d have to think long and hard before they pulled the trigger on any deal, because Stepan is still a very valuable member of their team. (USA Today)
Enjoy the games!
Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)
This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)
On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.
William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.
Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.
So far, it shows, too.
The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.
There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:
Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week
Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.
WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry
A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.
As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.
While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.
Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.
It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.