James O'Brien

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

Rask looks stellar again in Bruins victory


SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Brad Marchand and Dominic Moore scored to lead the Boston Bruins to a 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.

Tuukka Rask stopped 33 shots to help the Bruins win their second straight after a three-game skid.

Denis Malgin scored for the Panthers and Roberto Luongo had 24 saves in Florida’s fourth loss in five games.

Trailing 2-0, the Panthers got on the scoreboard on Malgin’s first NHL goal with 4:35 left in the third when his shot from the slot beat Rask. It snapped the Bruins goalie’s shutout streak of 131:11.

The Panthers pulled their goalie with 3:20 left during a power play to give them a 6-on-4 advantage but couldn’t score.

The Bruins were outshot 13-3 in the first period but Marchand gave them a 1-0 lead with his goal on the penalty shot 3:53 in. Reilly Smith was called for hooking Marchand from behind. Marchand then skated in on Luongo and put the puck over his glove for his 300th NHL point.

The Bruins made it 2-0 on a short-handed goal by Moore at 6:16 of the second. Moore’s angle shot from below the left circle rolled in and out of the net so quickly that the goal light didn’t go off and play continued, but an official’s review a few seconds later determined the puck had crossed the goal line before it came out.

The Panthers were on the power play seven times but couldn’t score as they managed only six shots, and gave up the short-handed goal to Moore in the second.

NOTES: Florida RW Jaromir Jagr played in his 1,639th NHL game, tying him with Dave Andreychuk for sixth on the all-time list. … Panthers RW Jonathan Marchessault, 25, has been named the NHL’s third star for October, tying for the league lead with six goals and adding five assists in nine games. … Bruins RW David Pastrnak, who leads Boston with five goals, sat out the second of a two-game NHL suspension for a high hit against the New York Rangers.

Another impressive night for Craig Anderson, Senators

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Even with all the personal turmoil going on, the Ottawa Senators have asked a lot of Craig Anderson. And he’s delivered.

Two nights after such a masterful performance that left Edmonton Oilers fans cheering, Anderson did it this time in front of his home crowd. He was a big part of the Senators beating the Carolina Hurricanes 2-1 in overtime on Tuesday.

Anderson turned aside 32 out of 33 shots to win his third game in a row. He’s stopped a remarkable 69 out of 70 shots on goal in the past two contests after news surfaced about his wife’s cancer diagnosis.

The veteran goalie is playing some of the best hockey of his career so far, going 6-1-0 with a sparkling .929 save percentage.

Also remarkable: Kyle Turris‘ very pretty overtime-clincher:


The downside for the Senators is that Mark Stone left the game and did not return because of this:

Lehner stays hot, Sabres end Dubnyk’s shutout streak


Here’s how hot the Buffalo Sabres’ goalies are right now: they got the best of Devan Dubnyk on Tuesday night.

Ryan O'Reilly was the first player to score against Dubnyk in 10 days, ending the brick wall of a Minnesota Wild goaltender’s shutout streak at an impressive 183:16. Robin Lehner ended up getting the best of Dubnyk as the Sabres beat the Wild 2-1, carrying the momentum from a strong weekend to a three-game winning streak.

Lehner stopped 27 of 28 saves on Tuesday after a masterful 37-save performance as Buffalo edged Winnipeg 3-1 on Sunday. That came after Anders Nilsson pitched a 33-save shutout.

For the Wild, it was a frustrating night. The Sabres, meanwhile, haven’t enjoyed a run like this in quite some time.

In discussing McDavid’s minutes, did Babcock critique McLellan?


Did we get a little coaching “bulletin board material” from Mike Babcock to Todd McLellan after the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 3-2 OT win against the Edmonton Oilers?

Some feel that way after noting Babcock’s comments about Connor McDavid getting double-shifted at times during the first period.

“McDavid played 8:15 in the 1st period so that helped us too because that’s a lot of minutes, I don’t care who you are going out,” Babcock said, according to TSN’s Mark Masters.

A little more:

This isn’t John Tortorella trying to fight another coach in a hallway/locker room material, but it’s pretty spicy for two hockey coaches.

(Well, not compared to the KHL, but still …)

Some see it as a bit of a slam, at least.

This isn’t to say that Babcock is probably 100 percent happy with the night, win or not. The Oilers generated a 46-31 shot differential, so Babs himself would likely admit that he also has some work to do.

Still, it could be another fun subplot, especially if you’re annoyed by all the McDavid vs. Auston Matthews talk.

Kadri steals the show from McDavid, Matthews in Leafs OT win


On a night in which Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid grabbed the hype, it was The Nazem Kadri Show instead.

Matthews is probably OK with that, but McDavid? Eh, not so much, as Kadri beat McDavid on the overtime game-winner (or interfered with McDavid, depending upon who you ask).

Either way, it was a fantastic night for Kadri, who was a huge part of Toronto beating Edmonton 3-2 in overtime, even beyond that goal.

… But seriously, that goal:

Kadri scored two of Toronto’s three goals, and maybe just as impressively, stopped McDavid from generating a single point. Let’s look at the two hyped stars’ stats, plus those of the star of the night:

Kadri: two goals, +2, six shots on goal, drew McDavid’s ire
Matthews: -1, six shots on goal, went 2-5 in the faceoff dot
McDavid: -2, four shots on goal, anger

Plenty of people say “Hey, don’t forget Mitch Marner and other young players” in response to praise for the likes of McDavid and Matthews.

More people probably actually have forgotten about Kadri and some other Leafs holdovers who are still pretty young in their own right, but that will be less of a problem after a performance like this.

He certainly got McDavid’s attention.