James O'Brien

Measure of revenge? Red Wings bottle Lightning

10 Comments

In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.

For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.

Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.

Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.

They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.

Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.

Connor McDavid scores first NHL goal; Stars get last laugh

15 Comments

Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.

The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.

To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).

Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:

Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):

McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too:

Update: Jason Spezza stole the show with his sixth career hat trick. The Stars ended up winning 4-2 as they peppered an often-spry Anders Nilsson during a one-sided third period.

Still no wins for Penguins, still zero points for Crosby

Sidney Crosby
AP
54 Comments

It’s just three games … it’s just three games … it’s only three games.

That’s the thought that has to run through the heads of many people around the Pittsburgh Penguins, even if other organizations seem to believe they’re going “off the rails” in similar situations.

In falling to the Montreal Canadiens 3-2, the Penguins at least managed a couple goals. One of them even had players grabbing assists.

Still, there’s no denying the headlines to many:

Zero standings points for the Penguins; zero goals and zero assists for Sidney Crosby.

Ouch.

There was some progress, mind you.

Crosby fired four SOG, up from a troubling zero in the first two games. One would think that Crosby and Phil Kessel still require some time to “click.”

The Penguins even reunited Crosby and Evgeni Malkin on the power play.

It’s small potatoes for Penguins fans watching Max Pacioretty generate better offense than their entire team … but babysteps, right?

Sharks blank Caps, in part thanks to Orlov’s disallowed goal

20 Comments

With Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup, the Washington Capitals need all the help they can get in scoring against the San Jose Sharks.

The new coach’s challenge process did not help.

As you can see from the video above, Dmitry Orlov‘s would-be goal was overturned, leaving the Capitals down 3-0.

Here’s the league explanation via its Situation Room blog.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that Washington’s Jay Beagle interfered with Jones before the puck crossed the goal line. According to Rule 78.7, “The standard for overturning the call in the event of a ‘GOAL’ call on the ice is that the Referee, after reviewing any and all available replays and consulting with the Toronto Video Room, determines that the goal should have been disallowed due to ‘Interference on the Goalkeeper,’ as described in Rules 69.1, 69.3 and 69.4.”

This created much outrage and irritation from hockey fans and onlookers, at least as the controversy of the night.

It probably doesn’t help that Tim Peel was the official on hand …

… And so on.

Update: That non-goal only burns more with the final score being 5-0 in favor of the Sharks. Woof.

Taylor Hall is in for the Oilers

Taylor Hall
AP
2 Comments

On paper, the Edmonton Oilers vs. Dallas Stars stands as a must-watch affair, at least if you can look past shaky defense.

(Heck, for some, looser defense only makes it a better watch.)

Having Taylor Hall in the mix for Edmonton makes a difference in that regard, especially as Connor McDavid continues to strive for his first career NHL goal. After some suspense, it appears that Hall will, indeed, be able to go on Tuesday.

This happy occasion makes it OK to share this awkward photo of Hall, then, right?

via AP