Pre-game reading: On Seth Jones, who oddly enough lives in Ryan Johansen’s old pad

— 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!

 

Scroll Down For:

    The Colorado Avalanche’s win streak hits double digits

    Associated Press
    1 Comment

    The streak is now in double digits.

    The Colorado Avalanche won their 10th straight game on Monday night, taking down the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-2.

    Yes, that’s 10 wins by the team that ended last season with an NHL-worst 48 points.

    Hockey is wonderful, isn’t it?

    The Avalanche have been pretty darn good during that streak, outscoring opponents 41-16 during that span. Scoring four goals per game on average will win you more than it won’t.

    And the Avs have had success on the back end. Jonathan Bernier has been completely lights out during the streak. He is on a streak of his own with nine straight wins, becoming the third netminder in franchise history to win nine in a row.

    Colorado’s streak is also an NHL-best this season and it’s the second longest streak in Avs history (they won 12 straight during the 1998-99 season).

    The Avs are sitting on 57 points, good for the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    Jason Zucker takes a puck to the head (video)

    Getty Images
    Leave a comment

    How in the world did he get up?

    Too many players have been getting drilled in the head lately by slap shots. It’s an ugly site to behold whenever it happens

    Somehow, however, Jason Zucker of the Minnesota Wild was able to pop right back up and head directly to the dressing room. No passing GO on this one.

    The puck hit him so squarely in the helmet that it ricocheted back toward the Thomas Chabot, who uncorked the shot in the first place.

    Even more insane is that Zucker was able to return to the game.

    Talk about hard-headed.

    Who could take Taylor Hall’s place if he has to miss the All-Star Game?

    Getty Images
    1 Comment

    With Taylor Hall set to miss the next couple of games due to a hand injury, and with that injury putting his All-Star Game prospects in jeopardy, we look at the players who are worthy of replacing the New Jersey Devils forward if he has to miss this weekend’s festivities.

    Two names that immediately come to mind are Pittsburgh Penguins forward Phil Kessel and Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier.

    There was already an argument that Kessel deserved to be at the ASG over Sidney Crosby. He was leading the Penguins in points then and two weeks later, he continues to pace Pittsburgh with 21 goals (tied with Evgeni Malkin) and 54 points, three more points than Crosby.

    Couturier has already smashed his previous career highs in both goals (26) and points (47). He’s been part of the reason that Claude Giroux is already headed to the ASG and deserves to be there himself.

    At third would have to be Sebastian Aho. The talent in the Metropolitan is evident with his snub. He’s clearly the best player on the Carolina Hurricanes this season (no disrespect to Teuvo Teravainen).

    Aho is well on his way to eclipsing his rookie-season totals and a big reason why the Hurricanes are three points back of a playoff spot.

    Beyond those three guys, there’s a few that certainly deserve the honor:

    • Anders Lee has 27 goals this season, seven off the pace he set last season with half the season to go.
    • Jakub Voracek leads the NHL with 45 assists, four more than teammate Giroux.
    • Evgeni Malkin. Not having a bad year.

    It’s important to remember that the at-least-one-player-per-team rule goes out the window when it comes to replacing another All-Star.

    There are certainly some very deserving names that didn’t get the first call.

    But life’s about second chances.


    Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

    WATCH LIVE: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Chicago Blackhawks

    Getty Images
    2 Comments

    CLICK HERE TO WATCH

    Projected Lines

    Tampa Bay Lightning

    Nikita KucherovBrayden PointTyler Johnson

    Vladislav NamestnikovSteven StamkosChris Kunitz

    Alex Killorn — Matthew Peca — Yanni Gourde

    Michael Bournival — Cedric PaquetteRyan Callahan

    Jake DotchinAnton Stralman

    Mikhail SergachevDan Girardi

    Braydon CoburnAndrej Sustr

    Starting goalie: Andrei Vasilevskiy

    NHL on NBCSN: ‘Out of sync’ Lightning look to end three-game losing skid against ‘Hawks

    Chicago Blackhawks

    Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsAnthony Duclair

    Patrick SharpNick SchmaltzPatrick Kane

    Alex DeBrincatArtem AnisimovRyan Hartman

    Tomas Jurco — David Kampf — Vinnie Hinostroza

    Duncan KeithJordan Oesterle

    Erik Gustafsson — Brent Seabrook

    Michal KempnyConnor Murphy

    Starting goalie: Jeff Glass