James O'Brien

Caps’ climb continues with Kuznetsov’s big night


Young talent – particularly at the forward position – was a big reason why the Washington Capitals topped many pundits’ lists this pre-season.

It’s early, but Friday likely made those prognosticators feel pretty smart.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, in particular, emboldened many. He recorded his first career hat trick (see above) and added two assists for a five-point night in the Capitals 7-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

He now has 11 points in seven games.

You’d think the Capitals would be a little winded after winning a close game the night before (3-2 victory against Vancouver). Instead, they won an 11-goal contest in convincing fashion.

Washington now gets to rest until Wednesday, which may not be all that welcome with such a streak going.

They’ll need to settle for this stretch for now, which included ending Edmonton’s winning streak at three games.

Late magic (and Giordano dominance) returns to the Flames


The Calgary Flames sure looked like the often-magical 2014-15 version on Friday.

It looked like the Detroit Red Wings might get be able to adhere to a 2-1 lead stemming from the first period, yet the Flames kept hammering away until the point of no return.

With a little more than a minute left, Joe Colborne tipped a Mark Giordano shot to tie it up 2-2 and sent the game to OT.

Giordano then closed off some magnificient 3-on-3 OT work from Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau to score a great, exasperating clinching goal to win it 3-2 in OT (and continue Detroit’s misery).

Yep, that sure looks like the Flames from last season: Plenty of points for Giordano, Gaudreau, Monahan and Jiri Hudler … and they needed every bit of it.

Granted, there are some differences. Lady Byng winner Hudler got in a fight. That Dougie Hamilton kid is still getting things together, too.

Calgary likely wants to step forward from last season considering its off-season moves, but considering the way things started (not well), it’s OK to take a nostalgic trip.

In other bad news for the Red Wings, Mike Green is hurt.

Another 3-on-3 OT thriller: Bishop, Bolts get last laugh


Like a graceful skater, hockey narratives can turn on a dime.

For a while, it looked like people would point to a puckhandling gaffe by Ben Bishop and a quiet night for Steven Stamkos as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s downfall against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Instead, things flipped thanks to a thrilling overtime exchange.

Bryan Little was shut down on a golden semi-breakaway opportunity by Bishop. Just moments later, Stamkos and Victor Hedman sent perfect tic-tac-toe passes to Ondrej Palat for the game-winner.

You can see that exchange in the video above.

Just to give you an idea of Bishop’s situation, check out the regrettable goal he gave up to Blake Wheeler:

That’s a bummer, but Bishop is unlikely to lose sleep over it thanks to that finish (plus a few nice saves in between).

Oh yeah, he also nabbed his 100th career win. The Bolts took it 4-3 in OT.

Oilers dodge bullet even if RNH doesn’t dodge blade

Sportsnet/Oilers feed

Falling behind 6-3 in just the second period – as the Edmonton Oilers have done against the Washington Capitals tonight – can get a team feeling sorry for themselves.

The Oilers are getting a bit of luck on Friday, nonetheless, as their frequently fragile former No. 1 pick Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had quite the scare.

As you can see via the GIF below, John Carlson‘s skate blade clipped RNH, sending Nugent-Hopkins off to get stitched up.

Edmonton tweeted that he’s seemingly OK, so breathe a sigh of relief, Oilers fans.

Mike Green suffers upper-body injury, may not return

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The Detroit Red Wings haven’t seen a ton of the often-offensively potent version of Mike Green yet.

Unfortunately, they may become acquainted with the oft-injured edition.

Green is doubtful to return to Friday’s game against the Calgary Flames thanks to an upper-body injury, according to the Red Wings.

MLive.com’s Ansar Khan believes that he was hurt thanks to a hit by Josh Jooris. You can see the exchange (with Green responding) in the video above.