James O'Brien

Mighty once again? Ducks blast Bruins 6-2

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Yes, it looks like we’re getting the Anaheim Ducks team many expected to run wild over the NHL in 2015-16. Or … at least something close to it.

The Ducks flexed their muscles against the Boston Bruins (who may not have been at the top of their games), generating a 6-2 win.

This wasn’t a one-night thing, either.

Since beating the Ottawa Senators 4-1 on Jan. 13, the Ducks have won six of seven games, including three straight. Their only loss came in a narrow 3-2 defeat to the Los Angeles Kings.

You could arguably trace better times back to Dec. 27, but the point remains the same: we might be witnessing Anaheim getting its groove back.

Of course, for all that, it’s sobering to also note that the Ducks would be out of the playoffs if the NHL postseason began today.

Other West bubble teams are probably hearing those footsteps (waddling as they may be).

Canadiens drop another game to Columbus, lose Pacioretty to injury

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This is just getting brutal.

The Montreal Canadiens were already limping into the All-Star break, and now they have to worry about the health of Max Pacioretty.

Pacioretty won’t return to Tuesday’s game against the Columbus Blue Jackets after an unfortunate accident, as teammate P.K. Subban‘s shot caught him up high.

You can watch that painful moment in the video above.

Known as “Wolverine,” Pacioretty’s toughness and resounding healing ability has been well-documented. That must be a heartening consideration for Habs fans, yet that doesn’t guarantee that he’ll avoid missing time.

Update: As feared, Montreal also lost its second game against the disappointing Columbus Blue Jackets in as many nights, falling 5-2.

Yikes.

Fleury shines as Penguins take Devils’ wild card spot

Marc-Andre Fleury
AP
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The Pittsburgh Penguins are red-hot right now, to the point that they probably wish that the All-Star break could be postponed.

It was a battle of hot Eastern Conference bubble teams on Tuesday, and Marc-Andre Fleury really stood out in blanking the New Jersey Devils for a 2-0 Pittsburgh win.

(Full highlights will be added when available, as Fleury made some nice stops among his 25 saves.)

The Devils saw a four-game winning streak come to an end to the Penguins, who’ve won three straight and four of five during their own torrid run.

Maybe most significantly, this results pushes the Penguins into the East’s second wild card spot. Pittsburgh holds two games in hand on the Devils, so they get the tiebreaker with each team at 55 standings points.

Pittsburgh isn’t just looking down, as the Penguins now find themselves in the mix for the third or maybe even second seed in the Metro.

Here’s how it looks right now:

2. Rangers – 59 points, 49 games played
3. Islanders – 56 points, 47 GP

WC 2. Penguins – 55 points, 48 GP
Devils – 55 points, 50 GP

One would imagine that the Penguins are content with the idea of getting into the postseason, at least right now.

The rest of the East might be a little anxious, especially with how Sidney Crosby‘s been looking lately:

Byfuglien beats Domingue for center-ice goal; Ehlers nets hat trick

Dustin Byfuglien
AP
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When people say that Dustin Byfuglien can be dangerous from all over the ice, they probably didn’t mean this.

For the second day in a row, we have a center-ice goal. P.K. Subban did it on Monday, and Byfuglien provided the latest one, beguiling red-hot Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue in the process.

(Domingue finds himself on the wrong end of a regrettable goal a night after watching Devan Dubnyk‘s gaffe.)

Here’s the video:

It wasn’t the only goal worth watching, as Nikolaj Ehlers generated a hat trick.

With that, the Jets beat the Coyotes 5-2.

Ouch: Habs announce that Daniel Carr (knee) will miss three months

The puck gets past Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo as Montreal Canadiens left wing Daniel Carr (43) looks on during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
AP
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Yeah, things are getting pretty ugly for the Montreal Canadiens.

They still have time to come back and avoid consecutive losses to the Columbus Blue Jackets, but as of this writing, the risk is real. If that wasn’t enough, the team announced that Daniel Carr is expected to miss three months with the knee injury he suffered on Monday.

Here’s the official announcement:

This GIF captures that uncomfortable, unlucky moment: