James O'Brien

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

Habs win seventh in a row with more Weber, Price magic


It’s almost starting to feel like a broken record, even if the Montreal Canadiens love this tune.

The Habs kept their red-hot streak going on Saturday, winning their seventh game in a row by beating the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1.

The winning isn’t just getting familiar, it’s also how. For one thing, Shea Weber continues to make a first impression that’s as big as his howling shot, scoring his third game-winning goal of the season:

It’s no surprise that the likes of Alex Radulov and Alex Galchenyuk factored into the win, either. Radulov generated two nice assists, including this great combination of creativity and patience for the opening Galchenyuk tally:

Of course, the most obvious story – the one that feels so familiar it would probably seem boring if it wasn’t so brilliant – is Carey Price‘s dominant play.

The Maple Leafs fired 38 shots on goal against Montreal in a game that had the action of a contest that makes a 2-1 score look very misleading. Price was just on top of things, with only Nazem Kadri beating him tonight.

Really, both teams have good things to take away from this, even if it wasn’t ALL good for Toronto.

Still, you could almost feel the optimism in the air for two marquee franchises hoping to climb the ranks.

Actually, in the Canadiens pace, they merely defended their early-season throne.

Crosby, Pens score 3 goals in 65 seconds, chase Flyers’ Mason


The Philadelphia Flyers were probably feeling pretty good in the first period after building a 2-0 lead. Then Sidney Crosby was … well, Sidney Crosby.

In the span of 65 seconds, the Penguins turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead.

Crosby scored two of those three goals, including this ridiculous snipe from an absurd angle. Watch this goal and just shake your head at how unfair his skill level can be:

His power-play goal was pretty nice, too:

Impressive stuff. Matt Cullen was responsible for the 3-2 tally on a broken play.

Update: Apparently that flurry of goals was too much for the Flyers, who replaced Steve Mason with Michal Neuvirth to start the second period.

Wildly bad: Minnesota deems Parise, Scandella out week-to-week

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The Minnesota Wild are off to a solid start to the Bruce Boudreau era … but now comes some serious adversity.

The team announced that Zach Parise and Marco Scandella are both considered out week-to-week with their respective injuries.

It’s believed that Scandella got hurt during a battle in front of the net during Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. Parise, meanwhile, might be hurt because of shot-blocking, according the Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

I’m 100 percent positive this isn’t a recurrence of last year’s back injury but instead a foot injury sustained I believe two games ago in Boston when he blocked a Brandon Carlo shot. He did block a couple in Buffalo, but I think the original injury came in Boston.

The Wild host the Dallas Stars on Saturday night.

Bruins indeed got Rask back on Saturday


Tuukka Rask is indeed in the Boston Bruins’ net for Saturday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, and not a moment too soon.

Actually, maybe that’s up to debate; there’s at least some concern about rushing the highly valuable goalie back before he’s ready.

The Bruins have been a mess without Rask, dropping the last three games while allowing 14 goals (while scoring just four). Saturday begins a three-game road swing, so things could get uglier if they can’t get some relief.

You know things were going poorly when GIFs like these aren’t just sources of furry fun:

Buffalo blanks Florida thanks to Nilsson’s strong afternoon


BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Anders Nilsson made 33 saves in his second NHL shutout and the Buffalo Sabres defeated the Florida Panthers 3-0 on Saturday.

Sam Reinhart had a goal and an assist for Buffalo. Johan Larsson and Kyle Okposo also scored. The Sabres (2-3-2) snapped a four-game winless streak and earned their first home victory of the season.

Roberto Luongo stopped 22 shots for Florida. The Panthers (3-4-1) have lost five of six and are winless in the first three of a four-game road trip.

Nilsson, starting his third straight game in place of Robin Lehner, made 13 saves in the third period. Florida’s Vincent Trocheck shot wide on a penalty shot with 57 seconds left in the third period.

Buffalo had one goal in its first two home games but scored in all three periods Saturday. The Sabres scored twice on the power play while killing four penalties. The Panthers had a power-play goal in each of their last four games.

The Sabres took a 1-0 lead on Larsson’s first goal of the year. Marcus Foligno pushed the puck into the corner where Brian Gionta sent a backhand pass to Larsson in the right circle while falling down. Larsson lifted a wrist shot over Luongo’s glove.

Okposo scored on the power play to make it 2-0 in the second period. Luongo stopped Reinhart’s deflection of Rasmus Ristolainen‘s shot from above the right circle. Okposo lunged at the rebound off the far post and slipped a backhander under Luongo’s blocker for his second goal of the season.

Colton Sceviour‘s tripping penalty put the Sabres on the power play.

A hooking penalty on Jaromir Jagr led to Reinhart’s power play goal with 11:12 left in the game. Reinhart’s shot from behind the net bounced in off the skate of Florida defenseman Mark Pysyk, a former Sabre. It was Reinhart’s first goal of the season.


Florida: at Detroit on Sunday.

Buffalo: at Winnipeg on Sunday.

NOTES: F Shawn Thornton and D Steven Kampfer entered the Panthers’ lineup for the first time this season. Rookies D Michael Matheson and C Kyle Rau were healthy scratches. LW Jussi Jokinen missed his fourth straight game with a lower body injury. . Lehner dressed as the backup after missing two games with an illness. Lehner practiced Friday and said he expects to start the next game on Sunday. C Jack Eichel (high ankle sprain) and LW Evander Kane (cracked ribs) are both progressing in their rehabilitation but are not yet ready to practice, coach Dan Bylsma said Friday. . Pysyk and Buffalo’s Dmitry Kulikov played against their former teams for the first time since the Panthers and Sabres swapped defensemen at the NHL draft. . Ristolainen leads the Sabres with seven assists. . Linesman Tim Nowak received a plaque and autographed sticks from each team for appearing in his 1,500th NHL game. Nowak is from suburban Buffalo.