James O'Brien

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

Wild really came to play vs. Pens on Black Friday


It’s been touch-and-go for the Minnesota Wild, but they’ve been a powerhouse in their limited reps against the Pittsburgh Penguins. They might even be sad that they swept their season series on Black Friday.

In today’s case, it was a 6-2 shellacking.

Both teams fired the puck a ton, accounting for 36 shots on goal apiece. It was the Wild who connected on the most, obviously, including a special teams advantage that was most obvious. While Pittsburgh went 0-for-3 on the power play, Minnesota connected on three of four.

Charlie Coyle generated two goals while both Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund enjoyed one-goal, one-assist outputs.

Perhaps it’s a confidence-builder for a Wild team that, for all the good they’ve done (they’re a respectable 11-7-2), they’ve drawn Bruce Boudreau’s ire for struggling to score.

“It’s nice to score more than two goals, more than three goals,” Boudreau said after the win.

They’ve been able to do that against the Penguins, if nothing else. They generated a 10-4 edge in two wins against the defending champions.

Stifling Senators push Bruins out of East’s top eight


It’s probably not accurate to say that the Ottawa Senators beat the Boston Bruins at their own game on Thanksgiving night.

In a 3-1 win, perhaps it’s correct to say that the Senators beat the Bruins at their old game?

Either way, the Senators stifled the Bruins for much of the contest, holding Boston to just 20 shots on goal and fighting back from a 1-0 deficit.

“We’ve been a better team than that,” Claude Julien said after the game, calling the loss one of the Bruins’ worst recent efforts.

One could assume that it stings a little more considering the Bruins’ current place in the East rankings. As CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty notes, if the playoffs began today, Boston would be in an uncomfortably familiar spot: right outside the playoffs.

The Senators, meanwhile, are starting to pick up their play thanks to goals like these:

Canadiens’ home dominance trumps Hurricanes’ winning streak


With a five-game winning streak, the Carolina Hurricanes came into Montreal as one of the hottest teams in the NHL. They weren’t hot enough to beat the Canadiens at home with Carey Price in net, though.

The Habs are now a ridiculous 12-1-1 at home (and an impressive 15-4-2 overall) after slipping by the Hurricanes by a score of 2-1 on Thursday.

Carolina generated a 32-22 shots on goal advantage during the game, putting the heat on Price late in the third period in particular. Only an attempt like this could be the all-world goalie:

That lead would only last about a minute and a half, however, as Andrew Shaw tied it up and Max Pacioretty eventually scored the game-winner.

The Hurricanes and Cam Ward are still building some nice momentum; their five-game winning streak included home victories against the Capitals, Sharks and, yes, the Canadiens. They just couldn’t quite get past the Canadiens in Montreal.

Video: Karlsson’s shot was bad news for Dzingel’s ear

As far as we can tell, Ryan Dzingel is OK after taking an errant shot to the head from Ottawa Senators teammate Erik Karlsson on Thursday.

Update: Dzingel was eventually able to make it back onto the ice for Ottawa. At the moment, it sounds like he might shake this off.

The Boston Bruins currently lead the Senators 1-0 through the first period thanks to a goal by returning forward David Pastrnak:

Gruesome update: So, uh, yikes:

Bruins get Pastrnak back, but Chara is out tonight


It’s a mixed bag of injury updates for the Boston Bruins heading into their Thanksgiving night game against the Ottawa Senators.

They get to be thankful for the return of David Pastrnak and also get Kevan Miller in the lineup. On the other hand, Zdeno Chara won’t be able to go against his former squad.

With Pastrnak back on that deadly line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, Sean Kuraly was sent back to the AHL, as CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty notes.

It looks like the Bruins’ pairings will be:

Brandon CarloJohn-Michael Liles
Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe Morrow – Kevan Miller

Will those groups hold up? Maybe the Bruins can out-score their problems anyway? We’ll see as the game is about to get underway.