James O'Brien

Even video games would struggle to match Toffoli’s moves

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There have been some bumpy times for the Los Angeles Kings, to say the least.

Before you feel too much pity for the two-time Stanley Cup champions, realize that they have up-and-comers like Tyler Toffoli.

Toffoli scored a beyond-ridiculous goal against the San Jose Sharks on Thursday. It’s possible he also tipped in a 2-0 goal later on in that same first period, but either way, his first effort was resounding.

Watch it above.

Update: It looks like the second tally goes to Milan Lucic, his first with Los Angeles.

The big story to watch is the health of Joe Thornton. He appeared to suffer an injury in the first period, yet he returned during the second.

The Kings ended up winning 4-1.

Barkov banged up for Panthers, bumps Jagr to … center?

Jaromir Jagr
AP
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The bad news is quite bad for the Florida Panthers: Aleksander Barkov is hurt and his night is over.

(The team is being opaque as NHL squads are wont to do, but the Miami Herald’s George Richards believes it’s a wrist injury.)

The good news? We get a taste, even if it ends up being brief, of Jaromir Jagr as a center.

It didn’t take long for Jagr to make a difference, either, as he gave Florida a better chance to carve out at least a point against the Chicago Blackhawks, cutting their lead to 3-2.

He inched closer to another scoring milestone in the process:

Jagr’s doing well enough to inspire those turn-in-the-knife stats:

On another note: the Blackhawks aren’t doing so poorly so far without Duncan Keith, at least not yet. Brent Seabrook currently has a goal and two assists.

Update: Chicago managed to hold on for the 3-2 win.

Torts falls short: Blue Jackets can’t get first win

John Tortorella
AP
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New face, same results.

OK, that’s not entirely fair – not to Columbus’ better efforts in this nightmare, not to what they managed tonight – but that’s the nature of the beast.

When you go 0-for-8, people are going to be harsh.

The Blue Jackets gave the Minnesota Wild a good fight tonight, but the Wild won 3-2.

With that, the discussion largely pivots to moral victories.

  • Columbus generated more shots on goal.
  • Sergei Bobrovsky wasn’t … disastrous.
  • We get to laugh at Tortorella’s inevitably awkward press conferences.

In other words, crack out the Herm Edwards “we can build on this”-type comments, as that’s about as good as it gets right now.

The big question: did Columbus already dig itself too much of a hole to make a credible playoff push? They’re already down 8/82 games without a single standings point.

Devils burgle one from the Hamburglar

Lee Stempniak needed to try out to even make the New Jersey Devils. Instead of barely scraping by, he’s becoming one of their biggest difference-makers.

His latest offering came on Thursday night, as he powered a late comeback to help the Devils steal a 5-4 shootout win from Andrew Hammond and the Ottawa Senators.

Stempniak assisted on the 4-3 goal and scored the tying marker with about 30 seconds left (the latter of which you can see in the video above).

Fittingly, he also made the difference with the shootout-winner.

With that, the Devils have now won three straight games, all beyond regulation (Stempniak scored one of the OT-clinchers, naturally). They’ve shown some serious scrappiness in taking this and other contests, including limiting the damage from Ottawa getting a five-minute major power play opportunity.

(Only Mike Hoffman‘s rocketing shot kept it from being a quiet chance for the Sens.)

Cory Schneider kept the Devils in the game, and hit a milestone in the process.

Does this indicate that the Devils might be a tough out at times this season? Maybe, maybe not … but Stempniak certainly seems like a shrewd addition so far.

Coyotes lose game to Rangers, Vermette to injury

Chris Kreider
AP
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Remember the big surge of energy the Arizona Coyotes brought into the 2015-16 season? Some of that optimism is already starting to evaporate.

That’s what happens when you drop four in a row (0-3-1), which is the case for the Coyotes after the New York Rangers beat them 4-1 on Thursday.

It wasn’t the only bit of bad news for the Coyotes, either, as they lost Antoine Vermette for the night with a lower-body injury.

There was also a bad gaffe by Mike Smith, who began the season penning some feel-good stories.

(Oh yeah, and former ‘Yote Keith Yandle was one of New York’s goal-scorers. Ouch.)

About the only bit of good news for Arizona is that Max Domi, Anthony Duclair and Martin Hanzal continue to create offense at a nice clip.

Speaking of creating offense, Rick Nash finally “scored” his first goal of 2015-16 in an amusing way. See for yourself:

That’s also the 700th point of his career, by the way.