Author: James O'Brien

Phil Kessel

Leafs win! Leafs win!


For the first time since Jan. 9 and only the second time in 2015, the Toronto Maple Leafs won a hockey game.

They ended an 11-game losing streak on Saturday night, an accomplishment that probably won’t be tarnished by the fact that it came against the lowly Edmonton Oilers. At least, it probably won’t tarnish it for the Leafs’ players and executives, who must feel an incredible sense of relief right now.

(Brendan Shanahan looked that way when shown in the press box, at least.)

Fittingly, it was this close to being a perfect victory, but Luke Gadzic scored with seconds remaining to spoil James Reimer’s shutout bid. Still, a 5-1 victory prompted cheers from the home crowd.

MORE: Click here for Morgan Rielly’s stupendous goal.

The Leafs would have to pull off a momentous run to make this more than a mere face-saving victory. Reimer seems to have some belief that Toronto can do just that:

They have a long, long way to go for that to be anything more than wishful thinking. Still, a win’s a win, and this one was a fairly impressive one in that. At least after a pretty weak overall first period.

(Note: apologies to Cam Tucker for swiping his headline format.)

Ruff break: Stars squander precious points against Sabres

Lindy Ruff

Lindy Ruff isn’t unfamiliar with the feeling of losing a frustrating game in Buffalo, but Saturday’s defeat had a uniquely irritating tint to it.

Ruff’s Dallas Stars lost to his former team the Buffalo Sabres – aka a squad that’s been called “historically inept” – by a score of 3-2 tonight. Worst yet, the Stars failed to even grab a standings point in overtime or via a shootout.

You’d think it was an ideal night to get a little confidence for befuddled backup Anders Lindback. That wasn’t the case, as the Sabres generated a 3-0 lead about six minutes into the second period, a lead that they were able to hold onto for the win.

Jhonas Enroth was one of the standouts, stopping 38 out of 40 shots. Chris Stewart continues to quietly heat up, too, grabbing an assist on all three goals.

It will go down as a bitter loss for Dallas any way you slice it, but don’t blame Tyler Seguin. He scored a goal and fired 10 shots on goal while winning more than half of his faceoffs. John Klingberg stood out too, generating two assists.

Then again, maybe we should have seen this loss coming for the Stars:

The Stars may very well make a big run or sputter out completely. Still, if they end up barely missing the playoffs, remember this night.

Lindy Ruff will probably try to forget it.

Video: Nick Foligno won’t be denied

Columbus Blue Jackets v Boston Bruins

With each passing contest, questioning Columbus Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno’s presence in the 2015 NHL All-Star Game seems less reasonable.

Despite scoring two goals (and nearly three) and an assist in an impressive performance on Friday, Foligno had the energy to score this force-of-will goal against the Ottawa Senators a day later:


Video: Morgan Rielly goes the distance for dazzling goal

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The Toronto Maple Leafs are minutes from breaking their harrowing losing streak against the Edmonton Oilers with a 5-0 lead. If you want a moment that symbolizes this slum-breaking evening, look no further than Morgan Rielly’s mind-blowing goal:

Toronto’s still in a bad way as far as the 2014-15 season goes (the word tank was floating around tonight, and not just in regard to Edmonton), but moments like these might make a few people feel a little better about the future.

James Reimer’s biased opinion:

Video: Kings’ Martinez injured by Lightning’s Paquette

Alec Martinez

The Los Angeles Kings won on Saturday, but it wasn’t all good news against the Tampa Bay Lightning, as they lost Alec Martinez to an upper-body injury.

The full extent of the issue is still fuzzy at this time, as LA Kings Insider’s Jon Rosen notes.

Here’s video of the check, which did not draw a penalty for Tampa Bay’s Cedric Paquette: