Author: James O'Brien

Screen from Sportsnet footage

Byfuglien shot shakes up Wheeler at Jets practice


Dustin Byfuglien‘s shot ranks among the scariest in the league, and that’s something that teammates need to be aware of almost as much as opponents.

Friday presented a disturbing sight for Winnipeg Jets fans, as Blake Wheeler was hurt by a Byfuglien shot in practice.

Sportsnet has video of the unfortunate moment, which you can watch here.

According to the Jets’ team page, head coach Paul Maurice described Wheeler as “coherent” but an update isn’t likely to surface until Saturday.

It’s been a bumpy ride for the Jets at times this season – to say the least – but Wheeler’s continued climb up the star forward ranks has been an obvious bright side for Winnipeg. Now they need to keep an eye on the health status for their crucial American scorer.

Right way or not, Pens hold on against Avs

Evgeni Malkin

PITTSBURGH (AP) Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin scored to help the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3 on Thursday night.

Malkin got his seventh goal of the season on a power play, and Crosby netted his third of the season, first in seven games and first even-strength goal of the season. David Perron and Chris Kunitz each scored their third goals and the Penguins won their second straight after dropping three of four.

Tyson Barrie got his first score this season, briefly pulling Colorado within a goal in the third period before Crosby helped the Penguins regain a two-goal cushion. Pascal Dupuis chipped the puck ahead to Crosby, and he split the defense and slid a backhander between Reto Berra‘s legs.

Matt Duchene scored twice and Colorado dropped its second straight after winning the first three games of a season-high seven-game trip. Duchene’s second goal with 1:23 left gave the Avalanche life while they pressed for the tying goal in the final seconds.

Duchene has a five-game point streak and has nine goals and 15 points in eight games this month. He moved ahead of Mats Sundin for a pair of franchise career marks – 11th in scoring (335) and 12th in goals (136).

Marc-Andre Fleury made 28 saves for Pittsburgh. Berra stopped 26 shots for the Avalanche.

Malkin scored two goals and two assists during a win against Minnesota on Tuesday night. This came days after the 2012 NHL MVP called out the Penguins after a loss against New Jersey – their third in four games. They were outscored 6-1 in back-to-back defeats against the Devils and Blue Jackets.

The Penguins averaged two goals through the first 17 games but have scored three or more in seven of their last eight wins.

The Avalanche scored on their third power play of the first period. Duchene collected Jarome Iginla‘s point-shot rebound and flipped one past Fleury with 25 seconds left. The assist moved Iginla ahead of Peter Stastny for 37th on the NHL’s career point list. Pittsburgh has allowed a power-play goal in six straight games.

Pittsburgh quickly jumped ahead in the second period, scoring three times in 2:08.

Ian Cole‘s slap shot from the point deflected off Perron and into the net, and then Malkin blasted a slapper over Berra’s left shoulder 90 seconds later on the power play. Pittsburgh scored three power-play goals in its first 10 games but has seven in its last nine.

Kunitz gave the Penguins a 3-1 lead 39 seconds after Malkin’s goal, a play he started when he forced Berra into a turnover behind the net.

NOTES: The Penguins are 7-1 when scoring a power-play goal and 9-3 in one-goal games. … Pittsburgh has won seven of its last nine against Colorado. .. Iginla is tied for 31st career after playing in his 1,411th game on Thursday. … Penguins’ D Olli Maatta was released from the hospital Wednesday and is expected to miss about a month with an upper-body injury. He left a game Tuesday after a hit from Nino Niederreiter. … D Zach Redmond made his season debut for Colorado. Nate Guenin, a Pittsburgh native, was scratched for the Avalanche in addition to John Mitchell. Pittsburgh sat Daniel Sprong and the recently recalled David Warsofsky. … Colorado’s 15-day trip matches the longest in franchise history and continues Saturday night at Washington before wrapping up Monday night at Winnipeg. … Pittsburgh continues its four-game homestand Saturday against San Jose.

Lundqvist on Rangers’ snapped streak: ‘Tough way to end it’

Henrik Lundqvist

Losing isn’t fun, even when you just won nine straight games.

It’s not too surprising that Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers are bummed out after the Tampa Bay Lightning ended their run at nine straight victories with a 2-1 decision.

Really, though, Lundqvist’s more irritated with how it happened.

Want more specifics? Here’s the context from the Bergen Record’s Andrew Gross.

The standout moment may have been Keith Yandle‘s awful turnover, which is a play his detractors will surely bookmark:

Alain Vigneault said he realized that the Rangers have some problems even with their great record about a week ago.

Still, sometimes lessons resonate more when you do suffer a loss, so maybe this is a wake-up call?

Canadiens confirm Price’s return as Condon cools

Carey Price,

File this under “conveniently timed news.”

Right as Montreal Canadiens fans might have been feeling a twinge of panic with Mike Condon slipping (the Arizona Coyotes completed a 3-2 upset on Thursday), the team made it official: Carey Price is back.

Again, things were getting a little antsy.

Price will get thrown right in the deep end to start. The New York Islanders are a formidable scoring threat, and Montreal will be closing off a back-to-back set.

Not that the Habs are complaining. They held the fort with Price out, and now they just hope that he can get back in the mix without too much trouble.

Strong night for guys named Karlsson (and their goalies)


Thursday was a strong night for players with the last name Karlsson … except William of the Columbus Blue Jackets. He sort of rained on the thematic parade.

Erik Karlsson topped the charts, as he’s known to do (especially among Karlssons). He scored two goals and grabbed an assist – while flirting heavily with a hat trick – in the Ottawa Senators’ 3-0 win against William’s Blue Jackets.

Craig Anderson got the shutout in that case.

Melker Karlsson may have owned the Karlsson highlight of the night, however, as he scored the only goal in San Jose’s 1-0 OT victory against the Philadelphia Flyers.

The success-by-association-with-Karlssons theme carried over for Martin Jones, who nabbed an impressive 34-save shutout.

Cheesy theme, you say? Fine.

/Takes a blogger bye week

Note: Bobby Ryan‘s health may be an overriding concern for Erik Karlsson and the Senators, though.