James O'Brien

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

Kadri steals the show from McDavid, Matthews in Leafs OT win


On a night in which Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid grabbed the hype, it was The Nazem Kadri Show instead.

Matthews is probably OK with that, but McDavid? Eh, not so much, as Kadri beat McDavid on the overtime game-winner (or interfered with McDavid, depending upon who you ask).

Either way, it was a fantastic night for Kadri, who was a huge part of Toronto beating Edmonton 3-2 in overtime, even beyond that goal.

… But seriously, that goal:

Kadri scored two of Toronto’s three goals, and maybe just as impressively, stopped McDavid from generating a single point. Let’s look at the two hyped stars’ stats, plus those of the star of the night:

Kadri: two goals, +2, six shots on goal, drew McDavid’s ire
Matthews: -1, six shots on goal, went 2-5 in the faceoff dot
McDavid: -2, four shots on goal, anger

Plenty of people say “Hey, don’t forget Mitch Marner and other young players” in response to praise for the likes of McDavid and Matthews.

More people probably actually have forgotten about Kadri and some other Leafs holdovers who are still pretty young in their own right, but that will be less of a problem after a performance like this.

He certainly got McDavid’s attention.

Lightning throttle Islanders after early fireworks

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Sometimes a game gets away from you. That probably puts things pretty mildly for the New York Islanders after they were dominated by the Tampa Bay Lightning.

The Isles probably aren’t happy about how the penalties shook out after Calvin de Haan‘s big hit on Jonathan Drouin and fight with Ryan Callahan, but either way, the Bolts finally gained an early lead and never looked back.

Nikita Kucherov scored the first two goals of the night, so he gets credited with the game-winner. He also generated two assists and Steven Stamkos was electric in his own right.

Thomas Greiss only made it through 13:34 of the game, allowing three goals on 11 shots. Jaroslav Halak didn’t enjoy the greatest night, either, giving up three on 25 attempts.

It’s unfair to lay it all at the feet of the Islanders goalies, really, as sloppy play and bad bounces were in high supply.

In a way, this odd little goal tells the story of the night, at least beyond that hit that injured Drouin and gave the Lightning those early power plays.

Remarkably, Tampa Bay responded to a 6-1 loss to the Rangers with this 6-1 win, closing out a bruising road trip on a good note. The Islanders saw the reverse: suffering a 6-1 loss after a 5-1 victory.

Not the best way to get people to focus on something other than the questionable ice …

WATCH LIVE: San Jose Sharks at Arizona Coyotes


The San Jose Sharks are really looking like the team that made it to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final lately. The Arizona Coyotes, meanwhile, still seem like a work in progress.

It should make for an interesting contrast on Tuesday.

On one side, you have grizzled veterans for San Jose, some of whom actually resemble grizzly bears in Brent Burns and Joe Thornton. Meanwhile, the Coyotes boast some promising young cubs, from Max Domi and Anthony Duclair to Dylan Strome (more on what tonight means to Strome here).

Enjoy the second half of the NBCSN doubleheader by watching it online or on the NBC Sports App.

Here’s the livestream link. Read more here.

Stars struck: Blue Jackets hand Dallas a bitter loss


What type of loss hurts the most: when you get blown out or when you barely lose?

Unfortunately for the Dallas Stars, they’re experiencing a variety of letdowns during an injury-ravaged, frustrating start to their 2016-17 season.

They lost their third game in a row via a 3-2 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, which also stands as their fifth loss in six games (1-3-2).

It’s one thing to see a goalie stand on his head, which Sergei Bobrovsky did for Columbus. It’s another to watch a late lead slip away in the fading moments.

The Stars were up 2-1 in this one, but Sam Gagner sent the contest to OT thanks to a goal with just 15.1 seconds remaining:

Dallas likely would have been uncomfortable with giving an opponent a free point, but Seth Jones* won it for Columbus in overtime:

Masochistic Stars fans can view the carnage in one handy GIF:

It’s leaving more than a few Stars fans and observers speechless, at least the ones who aren’t muttering expletives.

The Stars face a few challenges ahead if they want to get it together. They host what will surely be an angry St. Louis Blues team on Thursday and then take on the Chicago Blackhawks in a back-to-back set.

* – Someone who grew up in the area, by the way. Extra ouch.

Jonathan Drouin won’t return after big Calvin de Haan hit

The Tampa Bay Lightning are off to a fantastic start against the New York Islanders, but Jonathan Drouin‘s injury status puts a damper on what is currently a blowout.

Early on in the game, Calvin de Haan delivered a big hit on Drouin, prompting a fight with Ryan Callahan and a series of penalties that helped the Bolts get off to that quick lead.

The Lightning recently announced that Drouin won’t return to tonight’s game because of an upper-body injury.

The team didn’t provide any other details about Drouin’s condition, but we’ll see if Jon Cooper provides any additional information after the game.

Update: It sounds like there won’t be much concrete information until Wednesday at the earliest.