Author: James O'Brien

Carey Price, Brandon Sutter

Red-hot Price, Habs finish perfect trip by beating Pens


David Perron’s goal was noteworthy because it was his first with Pittsburgh, but especially boastful Montreal Canadiens fans might say it was worth mentioning because goals have been so rare against Carey Price.

Price stopped 30 out of 31 shots as the Canadiens handily beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-1 on Saturday.

As’s Arpon Basu notes, Price is on a remarkable run in which he’s allowed two or fewer goals in nine straight starts.

It’s not too surprising that Montreal is rising with its elite goalie, but the results remain impressive.

The Canadiens have won six games in a row, including all five of a road trip they just ended.

Really, the Habs have just been unreal since a very tough stretch in which they dropped six of seven games from mid-November to early December. They’ve only lost one of their last 10 games with just one of those nine victories coming via a shootout.

It’s not too surprising, then, that Montreal sits atop the East with 54 standings points. The Penguins could have crept ahead of the Habs tonight, but their struggles continue to an extent.

The two teams meet again in Montreal next Saturday, so we’ll see where two of the top teams in the East stand once again.

Jets hand Leafs another jersey-chucking defeat

Pittsburgh Penguins v Toronto Maple Leafs

Another dispiriting loss. Another fan minus a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey.

The Winnipeg Jets pummeled Toronto 5-1 on Saturday, and even though the game took place in Winnipeg, there was a Buds fan on hand to display his or her contempt for the on-ice proceedings. TSN’s Sara Orlesky reports as much.

So, which fan base has thrown more jerseys on the ice so far in 2014-15: the Maple Leafs or Edmonton Oilers?

However that “score” shakes out, the numbers don’t look very good for Toronto tonight.

Mike Santorelli actually scored the first goal of the game to make it a 1-0 Toronto advantage, yet that same second period was a nightmare with Winnipeg tying it about one minute later and then bumping it to a 3-1 lead at the 10:04 mark of the second period.

It’s not something that can really be chalked up to poor play by James Reimer, even if some will be tempted to do so. Winnipeg fired 40 shots on goal to Toronto’s 21, and it simply seems like all those nights of bit shot disparities are wearing down the Maple Leafs.

While there have been some ugly moments at home for Toronto, this might be a crucial time for the Maple Leafs to catch their collective breath.

They play at home on Wednesday against the Capitals and Friday against the Columbus Blue Jackets before a brutal run in which they only enjoy two home games until Feb. 6.

If this keeps up, a lot of expensive pieces of clothing will hit the ice, and we’re not talking about hat tricks.

Minnesota meltdown: Stars chase Kuemper

Minnesota Wild v Dallas Stars

Things have been looking up for the Dallas Stars and way down for the Minnesota Wild, and while it doesn’t all come down to goaltending, their netminders have experienced very different outcomes.

Kari Lehtonen has had the look of a franchise goalie as Dallas is on a hot streak. On the other hand, the Wild are stumbling, and one has to really wonder about Darcy Kuemper’s confidence at this point.

Kuemper was pulled from Saturday’s game after allowing four goals on 21 shots through a little less than 29 minutes.

The young goalie has now been pulled five times since Nov. 13, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo points out.

Here’s Vernon Fiddler’s 3-0 tally, which is noted in part because of theater puns.

The Stars are currently up 5-0, so it seems like both teams continue to trend in opposite directions.

The Pioneer Press’s Chad Graff illustrates an especially rough stretch for Minnesota:

Jagr is the oldest ever to score a hat trick, whether he likes it or not

New Jersey Devils v New York Islanders

Jaromir Jagr has been achieving milestone after milestone lately, yet he hasn’t done so by scoring hat tricks.

The 42-year-old already hit that three-goal mark for the New Jersey Devils tonight, as they’re currently dismantling the Philadelphia Flyers. This marks his 15th career hat trick, but his first one since March 22, 2006 (according to Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record).

This makes Jagr the oldest NHL player to score a hat trick, even if that milestone is … bittersweet for the veteran forward. He told the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti as much.

“I like to score hat trick, but I don’t like (being) the oldest guy (to do it),” Jagr said. “I don’t want to be the oldest guy.”

Let’s take a look at those three goals:

It’s been a special night for Scott Gomez, too, as he crossed the 500-point mark as a Devil thanks to a one-goal, two-assist output.

Update: Jagr and Gomez stayed where they were points-wise, but the Devils cruised to a 5-2 win on Saturday. Tough times for Philly.

Video: Perron scores in Penguins debut

Montreal Canadiens v Pittsburgh Penguins

Upon realizing that he’d join the Pittsburgh Penguins, David Perron remarked that he grew up idolizing Alex Kovalev. His debut with the team was more like a different memorable Penguins scorer, however, as he scored on his first shot with Pittsburgh (like Mario Lemieux):

Talk about a change of fortune: Perron goes from slumming it with the Edmonton Oilers to skating on a line with Sidney Crosby. It remains to be seen if the 26-year-old will stick with Crosby once players like Patric Hornqvist come back, but either way, he’s likely delighted to be in this situation.

So far, it looks like he might make the most of his opportunity, too.

Here’s Perron’s press conference from before today’s game: