James O'Brien

Byfuglien’s move beats Ramo, coach’s challenge

3 Comments

Karri Ramo and the Calgary Flames did well to hang in there, but eventually Dustin Byfuglien and Winnipeg Jets broke through.

Byfuglien’s game-winning goal was the culmination of a full-court press by the Jets. It was also a thing of beauty … and a tally that was close enough to being illegal that it required a review.

(You can watch that impressive individual effort in the video above.)

While it’s the sort of goal that Ramo would like to have back, it’s also a powerful reminder that Byfuglien can break a game open with his unique set of skills.

After going 3-1-0 despite starting the season with four straight road contests, the Jets began a six-game homestand with a thrilling win.

If this start is any indication, the Jets will operate in Byfuglien’s image by being tough to contain.

Update: Here’s the official take on the challenge –

Red Wings suffer first loss at hands of Hurricanes

Eric Staal, Brock McGinn, Ron Hainsey
AP
5 Comments

For a little while there, it looked like the Detroit Red Wings might just steal a win from the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

Carolina came out to a blistering start at Joe Louis Arena, with Brock McGinn’s 1-0 goal coming 55 seconds in and Eric Staal helping them build a 3-0 lead.

The Red Wings were getting killed shots-wise, too, but they narrowed the gap to just 3-2 in a minute and 12 seconds.

Staal & Co. ultimately managed a 5-3 win, getting their first victory of the season while handing the Red Wings their first defeat.

(One wonders if Mike Babcock allowed himself a mini fist-pump considering his Toronto Maple Leafs finally won tonight while is former charges received their first blemish.)

The Hurricanes likely deserved this win in more ways than one, as Petr Mrazek stole one from them on Oct. 10. Carolina managed a 47-19 shot differential, yet Detroit won that one.

With that in mind, maybe this will be a helpful wake-up call for a Red Wings group possibly getting away with some lapses?

Martin Jones grabs everything but the shutout vs. Devils

Martin Jones, Matt Tennyson
AP
3 Comments

Bold proclamation: the San Jose Sharks don’t really miss Antti Niemi right now.

Martin Jones continued to wow in his still-very-young run as the Sharks’ No. 1 goalie, essentially accomplishing everything except extending his shutout streak to three games.

The New Jersey Devils finally converted on a power-play goal (via Adam Henrique) after failing multiple times, and they did so with less than four minutes remaining in the third.

That was all they could get by red-hot Jones, however, as the Sharks snagged a 2-1 shootout win.

Jones broke Alex Stalock‘s franchise-record shutout streak by a comfortable margin.

(Stalock’s mark was 178:55, according to CSNBayArea.com.)

Debbie Downer moment

If Stalock previously owning the record isn’t enough of a reminder, it’s best to realize that this is still a very small sample size.

Jones wasn’t exactly throwing a wet blanket on a lethal offensive attack, either:

Yeah.

Hey, that’s not the Sharks’ problem, though. Instead, it’s a promising start for the team, especially considering the fact that three of their four wins are on the road. These early standings points can really come in handy if/when Jones and San Jose cools down.

There’s also the possibility that this team found itself a true gem in net, of course.

(Mutes sad groans from Los Angeles.)

Less than zero? Leafs beat bumbling Blue Jackets for first win

15 Comments

When the Columbus Blue Jackets fell to 0-3, their GM said that his team was “off the rails.”

After an ugly defeat left Sergei Bobrovsky and his squad at 0-4, the $7.425 million goalie admitted he has “zero confidence.”

What will be said after the Toronto Maple Leafs beat them 6-3 to drop Columbus down to 0-5 on the season? Some can’t help but wonder if the words might include “you’re fired.”

It would be one thing if the Blue Jackets were merely victims of bad bounces or questionable calls, as might have been the case with the Leo Komarov goal featured above (which may have involved too many men on the ice for Toronto.)

Instead, the Blue Jackets aren’t just losing, they’re getting crushed, and telecasts are really zooming in on Embattled Todd Richards.

via Getty
via Getty

Speaking of telecasts, TSN noted that the Blue Jackets are equaling the 1995-96 Montreal Canadiens in a dubious stat: they’ve lost their first five games, with each defeat coming by a margin of at least two goals.

It’s easy to beat up on Bobrovsky, especially since he’s earning such hefty checks, yet the sad thing for Columbus is that there’s plenty of blame to go around. It’s not just one issue.

They didn’t just lose tonight, they were out-shot and often out-worked.

All five of these Blue Jackets losses came at home, too, squandering crucial opportunities to sock away points with a foreboding stretch coming on Oct. 22.

For all we know, this team could already look pretty different by then. Right now, it doesn’t look pretty.

Note: The Maple Leafs faced a mix of good news (their first win of 2015-16 after falling short despite steady effort) and bad (Tyler Bozak suffers lower-body injury) in this one.

Leafs lose Bozak for the night due to lower-body injury

Tyler Bozak
AP
1 Comment

The Toronto Maple Leafs are aiming to extend the Columbus Blue Jackets’ misery on Friday, but they have to absorb some bad news of their own.

Tyler Bozak suffered a lower-body injury and won’t return, as his team announced.

It’s not immediately clear what caused the issue, as Bozak just seemed to leave the ice after a possible tweak during the second period. Bozak tried to return in the final frame, but either the player or team decided to shut it down for the evening.

Beyond missing the rest of this game, it’s unclear how serious the issue might be.