James O'Brien

Even a mostly strong night for the Ducks carries some bad news


Relatively speaking, this was a night brimming with good news for the Anaheim Ducks.

As per usual for their so-far disastrous season, there’s still a hiccup in an otherwise promising evening.

Let’s consider the good first:

  • Ryan Getzlaf responded to his latest round of self-criticism with a goal, and this one even came with a goalie in the net. His previous lone goal was an empty-netter. You can watch that triumphant moment in the video above.
  • Corey Perry enjoyed a strong night of his own, scoring two goals, including the game-winner. He’s been more productive (and healthier) than Getzlaf this season, yet just about every Ducks player has faced a bump in the road.
  • That previous point spoiled this, but the Ducks got the win by way of a 4-2 score against the Philadelphia Flyers. (Apparently they’re used to succeeding against Philly.)
  • Anaheim carried the shots battle and might just have their “guy” in net, at least as much as this goalie-fickle franchise ever does …

That said, it’s not all good news. Anaheim faces an upcoming three-game road trip, and they’re at risk of doing so without Cam Fowler, who was injured during Sunday’s win.

There wasn’t much of an update regarding Fowler’s condition following the game.

No doubt, that’s a bummer. Even so, the Ducks might just have to take what they can get, and tonight provided a win and maybe a boost in confidence for their captain.


Put this moment in the comic relief section:

Video: Benoit Pouliot with the rare no-helmet goal

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Edmonton Oilers forward Benoit Pouliot scored two goals in less than two minutes of game time on Sunday, and that’s not even the most memorable part of his strong work.

(Note: He still has a shot at a hat trick, too.)

Nope, the most amusing/noteworthy element was that Pouliot scored a goal after he lost his lid, as you can see in the video above this post.

Want to see his first goal of the evening? Watch below.

Update: Pouliot’s efforts didn’t generate standings points, however, as Calgary stormed back from a 3-1 deficit to win 5-3.

Panthers climb atop Atlantic with sixth straight win

Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad (5) (center) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Columbus Blue Jackets,, Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)

While the NHL’s other three division races may come down to battles for the second and third seeds, the Atlantic Division lead could change multiple times per week.

That remains to be seen, but the top spot is suddenly being thrown around like a hot potato, and the crown currently lies with the Florida Panthers.

With other key Atlantic teams idle and the Boston Bruins falling in regulation, the Panthers’ sixth straight win (edging the Columbus Blue Jackets 3-2) puts them in first place.

It seems appropriate to compare Florida’s place from one holiday to another …

Yep, that’s what you call a dramatic turnaround. This race has the potential to be dizzying at times, especially if most teams see mixed results.

Here’s an updated look at the Atlantic’s top six:

Florida: 20-12-4, 44 points (36 games played)
Detroit: 18-10-7, 43 points (35 GP)
Montreal: 20-14-3, 43 points (37 GP)
Boston: 19-12-4, 42 points (35 GP)
Ottawa: 18-12-6, 42 points (36 GP)
Tampa Bay: 18-15-3, 39 points (36 GP)

Bewildering stuff, and the Panthers’ journey implies that it might be dangerous to dismiss Buffalo and Toronto altogether.

Florida is getting it done so far during a long homestand, too, as they’ve won three with three games remaining before things get hairy with an extended road trip.

Maybe the most interesting date in the near future comes when they host the Habs on Tuesday. Perhaps these Atlantic teams will flip the script once again in mere days?

Big, bad night: Bruins lose Krejci to injury, drop third straight game

Boston Bruins center David Krejci (46), of the Czech Republic, skates slowly up the ice during a break in the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning Saturday, April 11, 2015, in Tampa, Fla. The scoreboard was showing the score from the Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres score.  Pittsburgh beat Buffalo, eliminating Boston from the playoffs.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

On paper, this should be a golden opportunity for the Boston Bruins.

The Montreal Canadiens are flailing, leaving the Atlantic Division up for grabs. At one point, the B’s were more or less red-hot since mid-November.

Things look grimmer as of Sunday night, however. The Ottawa Senators beat them 3-1 tonight, escalating the Bruins’ current losing streak to three games (all in regulation).

That’s not the only worry, either, as David Krejci left the game and did not return thanks to an upper-body injury.

Not a ton is known about Krejci’s injury, including how it happened.

The Bruins lost these past three games by a troubling combined score of 11-4, including a stunning Saturday loss to the Buffalo Sabres that left Claude Julien fuming.

The key, then, is to get things back on track soon. The Bruins can gather themselves during a three-game homestand that includes the 2016 Winter Classic before things get rocky with a five-game road trip starting on Jan. 8.

Even with this mini-slump, the Bruins are in a solid position, but this is no time to go into hibernation.

Video: Robert Bortuzzo catches Jamie Benn with butt-end of stick

Sportsnet screen

Some call it a dirty play, others believe there was embellishment … and then there are those who probably see it as a bit of both.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo incited quite the donnybrook when he caught Dallas Stars scorer Jamie Benn with the butt-end of his stick during Sunday’s game:

Benn seemed shaken up, but he scored a goal and an assist as the Stars got some revenge via a 3-0 win.

Here is a GIF replay via My Regular Face, in case it helps.