Author: James O'Brien

Arizona Coyotes v Colorado Avalanche

Video: Avs’ MacKinnon snaps slump with his first hat trick


It’s been a highly disappointing season for Colorado Avalanche sophomore Nathan MacKinnon, who many believed was only destined for bigger things after an impressive rookie campaign.

He scored his 10th goal of the season against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, and while that’s a big letdown of a total, he at least provided quality over quantity. It was a remainder that he’s still really fast and really dangerous:

He came into today with just a five percent shooting success rate, so it’s obvious puck luck hasn’t gone his way. If that wasn’t obvious with that stat, he also hadn’t collected a goal since Jan. 17.

Whether the bounce back comes soon or in 2015-16, you get the impression that this slow second season will just be a bump in the road.

Update: MacKinnon did not take long to turn it into his first career hat trick. He didn’t even need three periods to do so:

Boy, has puck luck shifted his way tonight, too:

Video: Ryan Miller injured during collision with teammate


The Vancouver Canucks could have a worrisome injury on their hands, as Ryan Miller suffered a lower-body injury colliding with teammate Jannik Hansen during Sunday’s game against the New York Islanders:

No word yet on how serious it is, but Miller was replaced by Eddie Lack at least early on. The Canucks couldn’t help but joke about injury issues:

What would that make the Columbus Blue Jackets’ injury bug, then?

Update: Miller and Lack ultimately combined for a shutout in a 4-0 win.

The latest word on Miller isn’t so positive, however:

WATCH LIVE: Stars at Wild on NBCSN

Dallas Stars v Minnesota Wild

It’s been quite the day of pucks on NBC and NBCSN, so it makes sense to wrap things up with a natural rivalry.

The Minnesota Wild (and especially their fans) have an inherent beef with the Dallas Stars – aka the franchise that became of the Minnesota North Stars – so their games are usually that much more interesting. It doesn’t hurt when there are some playoff hopes on the line, too.

You can watch the game on NBCSN and also by streaming it via NBC Sports Live Extra:


Is this wake-up call time for the Blackhawks?

Jonathan Toews

It remains to be seen if a 6-2 loss to the Boston Bruins serves as a wake-up call or just a slap to the face for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Either way, it was just one of those games for the Blackhawks. Jonathan Toews seemingly felt like there was a Murphy’s Law aspect to the defeat, as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus reports.

“It felt like everything that could go wrong did go wrong for us,” Toews said. “We have the ability in this room. We’re not going to let these last couple of games snowball in the wrong direction for us.”

Niklas Hjalmarsson admitted that the home loss was “pretty embarrassing” and that times like these prompt a team to show its true colors. Head coach Joel Quenneville said that it was a game that “definitely gets your attention.”

No one was really sharing what was said after the game, but multiple outlets noted a longer wait than usual to get in the locker room and that GM Stan Bowman stepped in to have a word.

The thing is, this hasn’t just been a smaller lull for Chicago, even if this three-game losing streak is especially glaring. The Blackhawks are now 10-10-3 since Jan. 1.

In other words, sometimes a shocking loss can serve as an alarm for a team that might be in snooze mode for too long. Assuming they have the ability to snap out of this, of course.

The Blackhawks also suffered an injury loss on this tough Sunday, as Johnny Oduya could miss a few games because of an upper-body ailment. Just a rough outing overall.

Bouncing back? Bruins blast Blackhawks

Boston Bruins v Chicago Blackhawks

Heading into this weekend, things seemingly looked ugly for the Boston Bruins. Instead, it ended up being an uglier run for the Chicago Blackhawks, at least on Sunday.

The Bruins blasted the Blackhawks 6-2 today, and with the score 6-1 at the end of the second period, it was a laugher after a lopsided middle frame.

One game doesn’t cure or create all ills, yet all of a sudden the concern may shift to Chicago.

The Bruins came in on a six-game losing streak including a 5-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Friday. They had also only won a single game in all of February before this startling beatdown.

This game put Chicago’s relative struggles under the microscope, however.

They’ve now lost three in a row and have generated mixed results (at best) since 2015 rolled around, going 10-10-3 since Jan. 1. The Bruins have been impressive in Chicago lately, it seems, too:

Corey Crawford had a tough Sunday, allowing four goals on 14 shots before being pulled 32:19 into the game. Antti Raanta gave up two goals of his own before Boston took its foot off the gas in the third.

Patrice Bergeron reached a nice, personal milestone in the contest:

Blowout games draw some attention, but again, it’s still just one contest. The Bruins fattened their slim wildcard lead over Florida, Philadelphia and others while Winnipeg’s in shouting distance of taking Chicago’s third spot in the Central, yet we could easily look back at this contest as a blip on the radar.

Still, it certainly looked like an eyebrow-raiser in action.