James O'Brien

Thought that counts: Jaromir Jagr’s 44th birthday cake

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Update: He also got a win as a bonus gift; the Panthers won 2-1 via a shootout.

It’s fitting that Jaromir Jagr is facing the Pittsburgh Penguins on his 44th birthday, but how else is the veteran winger celebrating the big day?

Well, as you can see from the short clip above, the Florida Panthers/some elaborate cake-maker decided to give him a cool/garish birthday cake, combining Czech and Panthers imagery.

TSN’s BarDown has more on the treat here. The Panthers acknowledged the pastry:

Also, a question many might ask after seeing it:

One more thing: would it have been unreasonable to ask for a mullet?

(Probably.)

Ducks look dangerous again after winning ‘track meet’ vs. Flames

Anaheim Ducks' Sami Vatanen, right, from Finland, celebrates with David Perron his goal against the Calgary Flames' during second period NHL action in Calgary, Alberta, Monday, Feb. 15, 2016. (Larry MacDougal/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Yes, it’s true that the Anaheim Ducks took their time waddling back to contender status.

And yes, it hasn’t always been pretty, even when they’ve been winning.

But all complaints aside, the Ducks are starting to look more and more like that team many expected to push for a Stanley Cup.

Monday provided another example of their winning (even if it isn’t always glamorous) approach, as they outlasted the Calgary Flames to the tune of a 6-4 win.

You can watch the highlights in this handy Tweet.

In the case of this early evening, Anaheim’s power play was just a little better than Calgary’s (going 3-for-3 while the Flames were productive at 2-for-5), and the Ducks overcame some early bumps for the victory.

They’ve now an impressive 9-1-1 in their last 11 games and are on quite the run since the Christmas break, which must have done Bruce Boudreau’s group some good.

This surge is showing in the standings, too, as the Ducks – at least briefly – passed the San Jose Sharks for second in the Pacific and may make the Kings sweat a bit for the top spot.

1. Kings – 69 points in 55 games played
2. Ducks – 64 points in 55 GP
3. Sharks – 63 points in 54 GP

As you can see, the Ducks cannot rest on their laurels, yet this is a significant step up from being a team that was struggling to stay in the playoff picture.

Video: Kevin Bieksa authors an unusual own-goal

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The Anaheim Ducks and Calgary Flames have already combined for 10 goals on Monday, so it’s probably true that no one needed any “gifts.”

You might label the first one of the contest that way, however, as Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa checked Johnny Gaudreau behind … and sent the puck by his own goalie Frederik Andersen in the process.

(Andersen looked mad, but he really has no idea what else is in store.)

Watch the video above, and have a chuckle. And maybe debate whether it should have counted, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Marchand scores fastest goal in Bruins’ history; Datsyuk’s 900th point

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It makes sense that a swift bit of history happened in a game in which three goals were scored scored on three shots in about three minutes.

Brad Marchand found the net eight seconds in after an icing call, setting a new record for the Boston Bruins.

(You can see that goal in the video above.)

Watch that three-goal burst in this video:

The two teams weren’t done then. Loui Eriksson made it 3-1 while Pavel Datsyuk scored his 900th point to make it 3-2.

Maybe the best moment wasn’t a goal: Torey Krug was seemingly hurt by a Pavel Datsyuk hit, yet he returned without missing much time.

Kinkaid blanks Kings, Devils move into playoff position

New Jersey Devils goalie Keith Kinkaid (1) watches a shot on goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2016, in Newark N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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When the New Jersey Devils shut down a team 1-0, it’s usually with Cory Schneider in net.

Their workhorse got the afternoon off against the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday, yet Keith Kinkaid did his Schneider impression, grabbing his first NHL shutout in the process.

It was a low-event game with just 46 combined shots on goal, but Kinkaid had to work, stopping all 28 shots. To give you an idea of how tight this game was, the only tally was credited to David Schlemko on the power play.

This gives the Devils three straight wins. They managed to climb into third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New Jersey’s edge is a little misleading; the Islanders trail them by one standings point while holding three games in hand.

That leaves the Islanders in the bottom wild card spot, while the Penguins aren’t so far behind either.

Third in Metro: Devils – 65 points with 57 games played
Second wildcard: Islanders – 64 points, 54 GP
First spot outside the East playoffs: Penguins – 63 points, 54 GP

So, the Devils’ hold of a playoff spot is a bit tenuous, yet the bottom line is that they’re staying in the mix.

The Kings, meanwhile, remain comfortably in first in the Pacific.