Getty

The Buzzer: Taking care of business

1 Comment

When you look on the schedule and see contenders facing teams that are already thinking of the draft and of summer vacations, it’s tempting to pencil in a “W.” That’s not always how things shake out, but in Friday’s case, the three of four matchups that seemed obvious ended up going as expected. Hence, those teams took care of business.

(The Stars vs. the Ducks was the exception, as both teams are in playoff position.)

Let’s review Friday in the NHL:

Old, new, and the usual

  • Still-very-young Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones scored two goals to help Columbus take care of business against Detroit. Read all about that CBJ win, and their general upward trend, in this post.
  • Matt Cullen, 41, continues to look quite spry lately. For one thing, he scored a gorgeous goal for his 10th of the season, which was also his fifth goal in 10 games:

Not long after, Cullen seemed like he might score off of a nice Charlie Coyle feed, but was robbed. Perhaps that makes it “OK” that his assist came on an empty-netter, then?

  • Then there were the usual suspects. Jamie Benn collected a goal and an assist while Tyler Seguin collected two helpers as Dallas found a way to gut out a tough regulation win against Anaheim. Meanwhile, Eric Staal scored the game-winner to help Minnesota eventually beat Vancouver 5-2 in a game that was closer than that until the final minute. Staal already has 37 goals this season.

35

It was quite a showing from goalies in losing efforts, and 35 came up on three occasions.

Ryan Miller made 35 saves for the Anaheim Ducks, including stopping all 32 of the Stars’ shots at even-strength. Dallas went 2-for-2 on the power play to beat Miller and the Ducks, however. Mike Condon stopped 35 of 37 shots on goal as well, including a chance that left Johnny Gaudreau shaking his head and muttering to himself.

Anders Nilsson didn’t have quite the same game as the others, including not making 35 saves. He did face 35 shots, however, stopping 31 of them. As you can see in that GIF in the section with Matt Cullen, some of those were high-difficulty shots, too.

Factoids

Ryan Getzlaf couldn’t grind out a win or even a charity point for the Ducks, but he’s been outstanding lately. He scored a nice goal, giving him 12(!) points in his last five games and 50 in 44 contests this season. This actually broke a four-game multi-point streak.

Maybe the NHL should create an assist trophy? If so, would it be named after Adam Oates, Wayne Gretzky, or someone else?

Some numbers behind the widely-shared belief that the Blue Jackets have two dangerous scoring defensemen in Seth Jones and Zach Werenski:

Nice stat from that Min win:

Scores

Blue Jackets 3, Red Wings 2
Flames 2, Senators 1
Stars 2, Ducks 1
Wild 5, Canucks 2

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

The Buzzer: Grabner’s hat trick helps Rangers rout ‘Canes; Pavelski hits milestone

Getty
4 Comments

Player Of The Night. Michael Grabner, New York Rangers.

The New York Rangers had a miserable start to the season with losses seven of their first eight games.

Since then? They have been on a roll and after their 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night they are now 13-5-0 in their past 18 games and have won 11 out of 14.

Friday’s game was probably not as lopsided as the 5-1 final score would indicate (it was 2-1 until there were three minutes remaining in regulation) but Michael Grabner helped turn it into a blowout with a pair of empty net goals. Those two empty net goals, along with the goal he scored in the second period (officially the game-winner), gave him his fifth career hat trick.

Grabner was a surprise star for the Rangers a year ago by scoring 27 goals and he is off to an even better start this season with 13 goals in his first 26 games.

He has been an outstanding find for the Rangers.

Highlight Of The Night.

There are few players in the NHL that can rip it the way Patrik Laine can. He demonstrated that on Friday night with this power play goal in the Winnipeg Jets’ win over the Vegas Golden Knights.

Save Of The Night.

There was not much goaltending or defense in the Ottawa Senators’ 6-5 win over the New York Islanders, but Mike Condon needed to make one huge save on Jordan Eberle just before the buzzer to help preserve the win for the Senators to finally snap their seven-game losing streak.

Factoid Of The Night.

Joe Pavelski has been one of the best goal-scorers in the NHL for a few years now. On Friday night he hit a personal milestone by scoring his 300th career goal, making him one of just three active American-born players to reach that mark. Phil Kessel and Zach Parise being the other two.

Scores

Pittsburgh Penguins 4, Buffalo Sabres 0

Ottawa Senators 6, New York Islanders 5

New York Rangers 5, Carolina Hurricanes 1

Columbus Blue Jackets 4, Anaheim Ducks 2

San Jose Sharks 2, Florida Panthers 1

Los Angeles Kings 4, St. Louis Blues 1

Winnipeg Jets 7, Vegas Golden Knights 4

New Jersey Devils 2, Colorado Avalanche 1

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Charlie Lindgren’s play allowing Carey Price extra time to recover

Getty Images
2 Comments

If the Montreal Canadiens were getting ready for a playoff game Tuesday night, then we would be seeing Carey Price back in goal.

But the combination of Price being the franchise goalie, the calendar saying it’s only Nov. 14 and the play of Charlie Lindgren has meant that the netminder will be able to take his time to recover from an injury suffered during warmups on Nov. 2. He’s missed the last five games, but the Habs won four of those five.

Price said on Tuesday that he’s taking a few days off during his recovery because he felt as if he wasn’t progressing like he should have been. He added that the original plan was for him to return Thursday, but now his timeframe for a return is up in the air. The lower-body injury, he stressed, is not related to the MCL sprain in his right knee that kept him out for most of the 2015-16 season.

“It’s been a little bit longer than expected. I kind of expected it to be in the two-week range,” Price said.

As added insurance, and with Al Montoya also injured, the Canadiens claimed Antti Niemi on waivers from the Florida Panthers.

Lindgren has helped the Canadiens win three of his four starts while posting a .974 even strength save percentage. It’s the reverse of two years ago when Montreal’s season went down with Price’s injury. The trio of Mike Condon, Dustin Tokarski and Ben Scrivens couldn’t right the ship. If the 23-year-old Minnesota native is the real deal, he’ll not only keep the team afloat, he’ll also provide head coach Claude Julien with some confidence in his backup allowing Price to get plenty of rest in the second half of the season.

“I just want to make sure that I’m 100 percent and do my job to the best of my ability when I come back,” Price said. “I’m just going to make sure that I take my time with it and it won’t be very long.”

————

Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Senators send prospect d-man Chabot to the minors

Getty
1 Comment

Thomas Chabot has been sent to the American Hockey League, the day after a difficult outing versus the Montreal Canadiens in preseason action.

The Senators lost 9-2 to the Habs. Craig Anderson allowed six goals and Mike Condon wasn’t able to fare much better, giving up three goals on 10 shots. Ottawa, as a team, was held to just 17 shots on goal throughout the entire game. So, it was a nightmare for everyone dressed in a Senators uniform.

Chabot had a minus-five rating, and was reassigned to Belleville in the AHL the following afternoon, the Senators announced.

The Senators had high hopes for Chabot, their 2015 first-round pick, heading into camp, particularly with Marc Methot now in Dallas and Erik Karlsson‘s status for opening night still in question as he continues his comeback from offseason foot surgery. Prior to training camp, Ottawa general manager Pierre Dorion had gone so far as to say that he believed Chabot could step into the lineup to begin the season.

Chabot made his Senators debut last season, appearing in one game before he was sent back to junior, where he enjoyed another impressive campaign.

He is still just 20 years old and has shown plenty of potential throughout his junior career, so getting sent to the AHL to help develop his game isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Related:

Looking to make the leap: Thomas Chabot

Quick hits: Sens waive Hammond, Rangers send Andersson to Sweden

Getty
1 Comment

NHL teams have until Tuesday to get their rosters down to 23 players (or perhaps less in specific, tight cap situations), so the waiver wire could be intriguing to watch until then.

Between that and sending prospects to the AHL, juniors, or even overseas, there are quite a few things going on. Let’s take care of some of those items in one convenient spot.

(Note: this isn’t necessarily comprehensive; if you want to cover every base, check out Rotoworld’s NHL page.)

  • First things first, waiver notes for Thursday. The two most prominent names are Matt Puempel of the New York Rangers and Andrew Hammond of the Ottawa Senators.

Hammond is an especially interesting case.

The 29-year-old memorably saved the Senators’ season in 2014-15, also earning McDonald’s for life. Since then, he’s largely been lost in the shuffle of Ottawa: seemingly too prominent for the AHL but not quite established enough to take starts from Craig Anderson (and eventually passed by Mike Condon).

Hammond’s numbers haven’t been the greatest since then, and his $1.35 million cap hit isn’t the cheapest for someone who might not be a difference-making backup. Still, it’s plausible that some team – maybe one with a lot of space and some questions – might want to take a look. In this specific case, the odds increase because at least that cap hit will expire after 2017-18.

  • The New York Rangers loaned their first-round pick Lias Andersson to Sweden, where he’ll play for Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League. As the seventh pick of this past draft, Andersson is a guy to keep an eye on, possibly not too long from now.
  • There’s some belief that, while it isn’t official, the Dallas Stars are expected to send Julius Honka to the AHL, meaning that he’d lose out to the likes of Jamie Oleksiak.

Some believe that the Stars would be making the safe move as far as waivers go, rather than opting to put the best team on the ice.