James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Back to normal? Capitals win and Ovechkin scores vs. Wild


Things had not been quite right for the Washington Capitals lately.

The team, which had run roughshod over the NHL for much of this season, had lost four games in a row. Alex Ovechkin was on the sort of goal slump that usually only affects mere mortal goal-scorers. The goals, in general, hadn’t been coming.

So Tuesday stands as a huge relief for the Capitals, who also enjoyed the bonus of beating former head coach Bruce Boudreau and the Minnesota Wild 4-2.

Ovechkin? He scored the sort of goal he generates when someone asks you to close your eyes and imagine an Ovechkin goal.

For Capitals fans, Ovechkin scoring from “his office” is almost as comforting as the team getting back on the winning track.

Corey Crawford stays in after taking Shea Weber shot to mask


The NHL’s concussion spotters are exercising their power to take seemingly affected players out of games to a pretty successful degree this season. Sometimes to the point of annoying goalies like Mike Smith.

Did they miss one with Corey Crawford during Tuesday’s game between the Chicago Blackhawks and Montreal Canadiens, though?

Crawford sure seemed shaken up – understandably so – after taking a hard Shea Weber shot to his head/mask. Considering his status as the NHL’s reigning hardest-shooter (or at least at the All-Star Games), Weber may literally be the last guy you’d want taking the shot that left Crawford looking in peril.

He didn’t leave the game, however, prompting people to question the process.

The Blackhawks ended the second period up 2-0 … and with Crawford still in the net.

Video: Greiss makes a fantastic sprawling save

Down 2-0 midway through Tuesday’s game, there was some legitimate concern that the New York Islanders might get blown out by the Carolina Hurricanes on two straight nights.

As much as people roll their eyes about a goalie making a “timely save,” it sure felt like Thomas Greiss‘ sprawling arm stop qualifies as much.

Things could’ve really started to crater once again if the Hurricanes went up 3-0. Instead, it was kept at 2-0 thanks to a big stop – something the Isles didn’t get many of on Monday – and now the game is tied 2-2 as of this writing.

There’s a strong chance that the Islanders might need more strong work from Greiss tonight, so maybe this will stand as a confidence-booster.

Blackhawks’ Anisimov suffers injury on same night he sets career high

It happened moments ago, so it’s too early to tell how bad things are for Artem Anisimov, but it didn’t look good for the Chicago Blackhawks forward.

At the end of the first period of Chicago’s game against the Montreal Canadiens, Anisimov was in clear anguish after being tangled up with Habs forward Alex Radulov. Anisimov was down on the ice for several seconds as Chicago was unable to regain possession of the puck.

Anisimov needed help off the ice.

To cement how cruel sports can be, consider this: with an assist on a Patrick Kane goal, he set a new career-high with 45 points during that same first period.

More to come, including footage of the injury if it becomes available.

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Montreal Canadiens


The Chicago Blackhawks are battling for the Central Division crown while the Montreal Canadiens hope to get a stronger lead on the Atlantic’s top spot.

A Blackhawks – Canadiens game has lure just in the teams’ rich histories, but when both teams are contenders? Even better.

You can watch the game on NBCSN, online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.