James O'Brien

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

Video: Casey Cizikas suffers skate blade scare, returns soon after

New York Islanders forward Casey Cizikas is tough. And maybe a little lucky.

That’s the prevailing thought on Tuesday after Cizikas missed very little time after a scary moment where he was cut by a skate blade.

(See full video of that frightening moment in the video above.)

Yikes. Considering his return, perhaps it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as it looked.

Islanders fans probably had flashbacks to that disturbing moment for Alexei Yashin in 2003, when the forward missed multiple weeks after a bad cut from a skate blade.

Things like these can go sideways later on, but at the moment, it seems like this situation isn’t nearly as serious. Thankfully.

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    Flu sidelines McDonagh for Blackhawks – Rangers tonight

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    While the Chicago Blackhawks get captain Jonathan Toews back in the mix on Tuesday, the New York Rangers will be without their “C” in defenseman Ryan McDonagh.

    On the bright side, it sounds like McDonagh’s issue is minor: the Rangers deem it a flu.

    (Let’s assume this is actually the flu and not code for some other injury.)

    After warming up briefly, McDonagh and the Rangers likely came to the conclusion that it wasn’t worth it tonight. With him out of the lineup, Adam Clendening returns to the Rangers’ defense corps.

    That’s not necessarily an even trade, although some have been quite happy with Clendening’s work in a depth role this season.

    The Blackhawks, meanwhile, are getting healthier, so this becomes an increasingly challenging test for Antti Raanta and the Rangers. The game’s on NBCSN, by the way.

    WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at New York Rangers

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    On one hand, you have the increasingly healthy Chicago Blackhawks. On the other, you have the New York Rangers and … Antti Raanta.

    (Hey, when it’s mid-December, sometimes you need some faux goalie controversies to pass the time.)

    It makes for an interesting game to watch on NBCSN tonight, with Raanta facing a Blackhawks mix that should be closer to 100 percent pending the likely returns of Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.

    You can follow the action online and via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

    Lindholm’s first goal of 2016-17 was a big one for Ducks

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    ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) If the goals aren’t going to come in bunches, best make them timely.

    At least, that’s what worked for Hampus Lindholm on Friday night.

    Lindholm got his first goal of the season with 5:38 remaining, helping the Anaheim Ducks beat the San Jose Sharks 3-2 after blowing a two-goal lead.

    Nick Ritchie found Lindholm alone on the opposite circle and fired a sharp pass that Lindholm slapped in over goalie Martin Jones‘ left shoulder.

    “I came in on the left side and they just kind of lost him,” Ritchie said. “He was wide open and slapped it in there.”

    Goals by Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc brought San Jose back after Rickard Rakell and Antoine Vermette scored in the first period for Anaheim.

    Anaheim is 5-1-1 in its past seven games, including two wins over San Jose.

    The 22-year-old Lindholm held out this season before signing a six-year contract extension in late October. He didn’t play his first game until Nov. 9 and got his first goal in 15 contests.

    “I don’t think it was pretty tonight, but we got the win,” Lindholm said.

    It was the third time the teams had met this season, and all three games have been decided by one goal.

    “We battled back and I thought the game could have gone either way,” Sharks coach Peter DeBoer said. “We’re just finding our way to lose right now instead of win.”

    It was a big game for Anaheim goalie Jonathan Bernier. In his last start, he gave up eight goals to Calgary, but Friday, he had 22 saves and withstood a frantic final attack after San Jose pulled its goalie with 2 minutes left.

    “He played well the last time we were in San Jose and got us the win,” coach Randy Carlyle said. “Berny was looking for some kind of opportunity after the game in Calgary and I felt we owed him that.”

    Jones stopped 29 shots for the Sharks.

    San Jose tied it early in the second period when Labanc slipped a shot under Bernier’s left leg. It was the 20-year-old’s third goal of the season.

    “We had some good looks,” Sharks center Joe Pavelski said. “We have to start putting them in the net.”

    The Ducks nearly completed a dominant first period with a 2-0 lead, but Burns got his 12th goal of the season with 6 seconds left by slapping a shot past Bernier.

    Anaheim opened the scoring 4:44 in after Shea Theodore fired a shot from just beyond the midpoint of the two circles. Jones deflected the shot, but Rakell snagged the rebound and wrapped it around and behind Jones.

    Rakell, another late signing, has 11 goals in his 17 games since joining the Ducks.

    “He’s a really good weapon,” Lindholm said. “He knows where to put (the puck). It’s fun to watch. He’s really a skilled guy.”

    The Ducks went up 2-0 after Theodore came streaking down the right side and fired a perfect pass to Vermette, who snapped it past Jones for his fifth of the season.

    NOTES: The Ducks are 60-59-11 against the rival Sharks. … Anaheim’s Joseph Cramarossa fought San Jose’s Tommy Wingels about five minutes into the first period.

    UP NEXT

    Sharks: Host Carolina on Saturday.

    Ducks: Host Ottawa on Saturday.

    Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks

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    If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.

    Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).

    Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:

    1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
    2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
    3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
    4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
    5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP

    Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:

    Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:

    Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.