James O'Brien

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

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.

Penguins land NCAA top scorer Zach Aston-Reese


The Pittsburgh Penguins signed forward Zach Aston-Reese to a two-year entry-level deal that kicks in starting in 2017-18.

You could make an argument that this is an example of the rich getting richer. Aston-Reese, 22, topped the NCAA in goals (31) and points (63) for Northeastern University this past season.

NHL.com pegged him as one of the top college free agents about a week ago, praising his size along with his scoring ability.

It sounds like he’ll spend the rest of this season in the AHL. After that? Well, we’ll see if he can make a dent sooner or later.

Ducks are optimistic (if vague) about Gibson’s recovery

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If there was ever a time for John Gibson to be on the shelf, this would probably be it for the Anaheim Ducks, as Jonathan Bernier‘s enjoyed an unexpected rebound.

Still, at some point, the Ducks are going to want their go-to guy back from his lower-body injury. In that regard,¬†Randy Carlyle said that there’s no specific timeline for Gibson’s return, but refers to it as a “small window” after he got back on the ice on Tuesday, according to Eric Stephens of the OC Register.

The red-hot Calgary Flames actually hold the tiebreaker advantage over Anaheim for second place in the Pacific, and the Edmonton Oilers aren’t that far behind them in fourth in the division. So while the Ducks can enjoy Bernier’s strong work, you have to wonder if that optimism is fragile.

At the moment, it sounds like Gibson should be able to shake off any rust before the playoffs begin, but that could always change if that “short window” grows a little larger.