James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
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Berube gets hook in a rough Hurricanes – Islanders game for goalies

The New York Islanders let out a sigh of relief after ending a nine-game road trip. Some questionable goaltending made for some dead silence midway through their return to Brooklyn on Monday.

After a busy 2-2 first period, Calvin de Haan scored an especially questionable goal against Cam Ward, giving the Islanders an early 3-2 lead in the middle frame. Ward would be far from the netminder who was most exposed in the second period, however.

Justin Faulk and Jeff Skinner scored goals to chase Jean-Francois Berube and give the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead. Berube got the hook after that Skinner tally, but Thomas Greiss hasn’t been able to stop the bleeding.

Faulk scored his second goal of the night (and period) on the first shot Greiss faced, then Jaccob Slavin made it 6-3 moments later. The Hurricanes ended up scoring four goals in less than five minutes.

To underscore how odd this game has been so far, Joshua Ho-Sang made a nice deflection for another goal to slim Carolina’s lead down to 6-4. It’s the second NHL goal for Ho-Sang and his first at home.

Video: Should Capitals be worried about slump? Roenick weighs in

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The Washington Capitals have been a machine this season, to the point that a four-game losing streak is raising plenty of eyebrows.

Sometimes a slump is just a blip on the radar, but in other instances, these low moments can be a sign of disappointments to come.

So, what might it be for the Capitals? Jeremy Roenick weighed in on that subject on NBCSN on Monday night. You can see that discussion in the video above this post’s headline.

As a bonus, check out what the NBCSN crew had to say about the Islanders heading into tonight’s in-progress (and so-far frenetic) game against the Hurricanes:

More on Washington’s struggles

Things have “changed quickly” for them.

The goals have been drying up.

Canucks add ‘good two-way defenseman’ Chatfield to prospect pool

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After adding a nice set of assets at the trade deadline, the Vancouver Canucks continued to look to the future by signing defensive prospect Jalen Chatfield to a three-year entry-level contract on Monday.

The 20-year-old hasn’t generated eye-popping scoring numbers with the Windsor Spitfires, but it sounds like his versatility swayed the Canucks.

“Jalen is a good two-way defenseman that sees the ice well and makes good decisions in all three zones,” GM Jim Benning said. “He moves the puck well and can join the rush. Jalen is another addition to our young prospect pool and we look forward to his continued development playing in Windsor.”

You can never have too many quality puck-movers, so if it’s true that Chatfield can help Vancouver’s transition game, then that could be a nice get (however long he might take to actually develop).

As an undrafted free agent, Chatfield seems to realize that he might not enjoy the most “direct” path to actually making an NHL impact. He noted as much to the Windsor Star back in 2016 before he attended the Buffalo Sabres’ prospect camp.

“You try to make the league any way you can, whether it’s the first round, the second round or as a free agent,” Chatfield said. “Everybody gets there some way.”

In other prospect news, the Chicago Blackhawks signed 2013 sixth-rounder (181st overall) Anthony Louis to a two-year deal that begins in 2017-18.

WATCH LIVE: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders

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Instead of crushing their playoff hopes, a nine-game road trip served as a useful test for the New York Islanders.

While they probably deserve a B more than an A+ (5-3-1 during that span), it’s another example of this team really excelling under Doug Weight. Now they get to host a team Weight won a Stanley Cup with in the Carolina Hurricanes on NBCSN tonight.

This begins a back-to-back set between the two teams. While the Hurricanes aren’t quite where they want to be, there are signs of a possible breakthrough coming in the future, so look out for young talents like Sebastian Aho as they face John Tavares & Co.

Lucas Wallmark also looks to debut for Carolina tonight:

You can watch online and also via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream.

Flames win eighth in a row, but injuries ruin the party

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Is Thursday becoming the night of mixed blessings?

OK, two instances – one that can still go the other way – fail to really make a “pattern,” but the Calgary Flames are feeling the Tampa Bay Lightning’s pain right now.

While the Bolts lost three forwards to injury in cruising to a win against the Minnesota Wild, the Flames are likely less focused on their 4-0 lead against the Montreal Canadiens than they are two worrisome issues for their defensemen.

Dougie Hamilton‘s night has already been confirmed to be finished thanks to an awkward-looking lower-body injury from the second period. Recent trade acquisition Michael Stone took a very labored exit from the ice during the final frame, however, giving the impression that he might have suffered a shoulder/upper-body injury.

The Flames lead 4-0 as of this writing, but even if they manage to win, this could be a costly game for Calgary. Montreal might not feel a ton of sympathy after Carey Price missed the game thanks to flu symptoms.

Update: Calgary won 5-0, extending its winning streak to eight games and putting the Flames a stride or two behind the races for second and third in the Pacific.