James O'Brien

Jason Zucker scores quickest goal in Wild history


At the moment, the Minnesota Wild trail the Winnipeg Jets 3-1, and it’s only in the first period.

Let’s transport Wild fans to a happier time … in that same first period.

Jason Zucker scored his first goal of 2015-16 just 10 seconds into the game. That’s the fastest a Wild player has ever found the net, according to the team.

Again, things fell apart pretty quickly … but that was a nice moment for Zucker, right?

Jonathan Quick and Tyler Toffoli are so hot right now

Jonathan Quick

When gray-haired¬†fun-killers try to calm you down while you’re knocking a team on a slow start, they’re usually doing it because of squads like the Los Angeles Kings.

Yes, they missed the playoffs last season.

Still, these guys bounce back from virtual sports death about as frequently – and dramatically – as Jason Voorhees and “The Undertaker” did in their fictional primes.

After causing many to squirm with a Dumpster fire of an 0-3-0 start, the Kings are on a four-game winning streak after tonight’s 3-0 win against the Carolina Hurricanes.

That might sound like a walk in the park considering the Hurricanes’ record/reputation and the score, but it really wasn’t the case.

Instead, the Kings leaned on two guys on serious hot streaks at the moment: Jonathan Quick and Tyler Toffoli.

Los Angeles asked Quick to make 40 saves for his 38th career shutout, while they only managed 28 shots on goal in comparison.

The periodically maligned netminder is now on a three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed two goals total.

Toffoli is almost as impressive, as his two-goal night extended his goal streak to four games (accounting for all six of his tallies this season).

During an 82-game season, just about every team rolls with strikes and gutters. At the moment, the Kings are making their critics feel like turkeys.

Caps’ climb continues with Kuznetsov’s big night


Young talent – particularly at the forward position – was a big reason why the Washington Capitals topped many pundits’ lists this pre-season.

It’s early, but Friday likely made those prognosticators feel pretty smart.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, in particular, emboldened many. He recorded his first career hat trick (see above) and added two assists for a five-point night in the Capitals 7-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers.

He now has 11 points in seven games.

You’d think the Capitals would be a little winded after winning a close game the night before (3-2 victory against Vancouver). Instead, they won an 11-goal contest in convincing fashion.

Washington now gets to rest until Wednesday, which may not be all that welcome with such a streak going.

They’ll need to settle for this stretch for now, which included ending Edmonton’s winning streak at three games.

Late magic (and Giordano dominance) returns to the Flames


The Calgary Flames sure looked like the often-magical 2014-15 version on Friday.

It looked like the Detroit Red Wings might get be able to adhere to a 2-1 lead stemming from the first period, yet the Flames kept hammering away until the point of no return.

With a little more than a minute left, Joe Colborne tipped a Mark Giordano shot to tie it up 2-2 and sent the game to OT.

Giordano then closed off some magnificient 3-on-3 OT work from Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau to score a great, exasperating clinching goal to win it 3-2 in OT (and continue Detroit’s misery).

Yep, that sure looks like the Flames from last season: Plenty of points for Giordano, Gaudreau, Monahan and Jiri Hudler … and they needed every bit of it.

Granted, there are some differences. Lady Byng winner Hudler got in a fight. That Dougie Hamilton kid is still getting things together, too.

Calgary likely wants to step forward from last season considering its off-season moves, but considering the way things started (not well), it’s OK to take a nostalgic trip.

In other bad news for the Red Wings, Mike Green is hurt.

Another 3-on-3 OT thriller: Bishop, Bolts get last laugh


Like a graceful skater, hockey narratives can turn on a dime.

For a while, it looked like people would point to a puckhandling gaffe by Ben Bishop and a quiet night for Steven Stamkos as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s downfall against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday.

Instead, things flipped thanks to a thrilling overtime exchange.

Bryan Little was shut down on a golden semi-breakaway opportunity by Bishop. Just moments later, Stamkos and Victor Hedman sent perfect tic-tac-toe passes to Ondrej Palat for the game-winner.

You can see that exchange in the video above.

Just to give you an idea of Bishop’s situation, check out the regrettable goal he gave up to Blake Wheeler:

That’s a bummer, but Bishop is unlikely to lose sleep over it thanks to that finish (plus a few nice saves in between).

Oh yeah, he also nabbed his 100th career win. The Bolts took it 4-3 in OT.