James O'Brien

More on Carter’s absence, Muzzin’s in for Kings

There’s a mix of good and bad/murky news for the Los Angeles Kings as they face the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

The good: Remember Jake Muzzin‘s match penalty from Sunday? It put the Kings in a bind against the Arizona Coyotes there, but Los Angeles won, and they’ll get the valuable defenseman in the lineup tonight.

His debatable match penalty was rescinded.

The bad/murky: It seems like Jeff Carter may be dealing with a vague mix of injury and personal issues.

Los Angeles Kings Insider shares the full details here, but the bottom line is that he’s considered day-to-day and is not playing against Vancouver. The injury itself may be a lower-body issue.

Perhaps we’ll get a better idea regarding his future beyond this game sometime soon?

Great eight: Ovechkin scores, Washington wins again


Evander Kane ended up playing amid controversy. John Carlson couldn’t suit up. None of it mattered, as the Washington Capitals just kept winning.

Washington’s two biggest stars figured in to a feisty one on Wednesday, as Braden Holtby grabbed a 31-save shutout and Alex Ovechkin scored his 493rd career goal in a 2-0 victory against the Buffalo Sabres.

With that, the Capitals are now on an impressive eight-game winning streak.

Ovechkin’s goal ended up being the game-winner, but Holtby continued to be the brightest star for the Caps. He secured his shutout with a stop against Kane being arguably the biggest highlight:

By just about any standard, Holtby’s been outstanding.

It seems like a 7-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 21 may have been the springboard for Washington. Since then, the Capitals have gone 14-1-1.

The Dallas Stars hold the overall NHL standings lead with 57 points, yet the Caps are nipping at their heels with 56 points and two games in hand. Maybe most importantly, Washington is far ahead of any other team in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference in general.

After weathering a tough schedule, the Capitals showed that some rough stuff won’t deter them tonight:

Videos: Coyle’s great goal, Subban’s silky setup

If you fixated on goal totals alone, you’d probably critique P.K. Subban pretty heavily.

It turns out that it would be pretty silly.

No, the highly entertaining defenseman didn’t score the goal featured in the video above – Montreal Canadiens teammate Tomas Plekanec finished the play – but Subban was clearly the catalyst.

Pretty sweet, right?

Want a bonus goal, one that might be even more impressive? Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle has been heating up lately, yet this latest goal might be his best recent display.

Yes, Tyler Johnson is back for the Lightning

Tampa Bay Lightning center Tyler Johnson (9) cuts around Ottawa Senators right wing Bobby Ryan (6) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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Things are indeed looking up for the Tampa Bay Lightning.

They’re going with a traditional 12-forward, six-defenseman setup on Monday thanks to the return of forwards Tyler Johnson and Brian Boyle. Blueliner Matt Carle appears to be lost in the shuffle.

Bryan Burns of the Lightning website reports that Johnson is currently centering a line with Alex Killorn and Jonathan Marchessault.

It’s been a season of fits and starts for Johnson, especially from a health perspective, so the Lightning have to hope that the speedy forward can stick in the lineup this time around.

Wild swap Dubnyk in for injured Kuemper, grab win

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The Minnesota Wild provided a surprise swap on Monday, as their goalie situation saw some injury-related juggling.

Darcy Kuemper was originally slated to start against the Detroit Red Wings, but the team announced that he’s out with an upper-body injury. With that, Devan Dubnyk starts even after needing stitches to close up a recent “pressure wound.”

Niklas Backstrom serves as Dubnyk’s backup.

At first, the indication was that Kuemper was merely ill rather than injured.

Apparently that’s not the case.

The Wild can’t afford for this to throw anyone off, as Minnesota’s lost three of its last four contests.

Update: Despite feeling sore himself, Dubnyk helped the Wild beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in this one.