James O'Brien

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

Not a great night for the San Jose Sharks

After rattling off three wins to begin a six-game road trip, the San Jose Sharks have gotten off track lately.

They were shut out by the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday and then fell to a slightly banged-up St. Louis Blues by a score of 3-2 on Thursday.

Speaking of injuries, the Sharks have a situation to monitor now, as Tomas Hertl was injured and did not return to tonight’s game.

Jaden Schwartz made life difficult at times for the Sharks with two goals:

Assuming that Hertl isn’t dealing with anything too serious – CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that there was no update after the game – then it’s not all doom and gloom for San Jose.

The Sharks wrap up this road run against the Coyotes in Arizona on Saturday. After that, they’ll play five straight and seven of eight at home.

Dubnyk edges Rask in goalie duel


Remember the talk about how Tuukka Rask was in Carey Price‘s zip code as far as red-hot goalies go? On Thursday, Devan Dubnyk argued that he’s at least in the same state.

It’s easy to dismiss what is a modest 7-5-1 record for Dubnyk even counting the Minnesota Wild’s 1-0 win against Rask and the Bruins on Thursday, but that mark hides what’s been a remarkable start to 2016-17.

To refresh your memory, Dubnyk generated a three-game shutout streak from Oct. 25-29, including a night where he blanked the Bruins.

With his fourth shutout of the season, he now leads the NHL in that category. He broke a tie in that league-leading regarding with … you guessed it, Tuukka Rask.

Maybe more impressively, Dubnyk’s save percentage climbs to .952, better than Rask (.947) and Price (.948). No doubt, those three are putting together outstanding work, even if Dubnyk isn’t enjoying the same level of support from teammates.

The 1-0 margin hinted at this already, but it wasn’t that far from at least going into overtime with a scoreless tie. Mikael Granlund scored the game’s only goal with just 45 seconds remaining.

Rask hasn’t been upstaged very often so far in this redemptive run, but this time around, it was advantage: Dubnyk.

Leafs ruin Reimer’s return to Toronto with rout


In more than 200 regular season games with the Toronto Maple Leafs, James Reimer enjoyed some great moments. Even so, many look back at his time with mostly bad memories.

His first game against the Maple Leafs with the Florida Panthers did little to erase such thoughts in Toronto.

Reimer absorbed all six Leafs goals as his former team ruined his Toronto reunion 6-1 on Thursday. With that, Reimer is now 2-3-1 as Roberto Luongo‘s highly paid understudy in Florida.

Connor Brown scored twice and flirted with a hat trick. Mitch Marner‘s tremendous “triple-deke” goal can be seen here, his seventh of 2016-17. James van Riemsdyk might be on an even hotter streak, connecting for his eighth of the season.

On the other end of the ice, Frederik Andersen continues to get his bearings in Toronto’s net, only allowing a single tally.

If Maple Leafs fans wonder what could have been with Reimer, they at least likely weren’t daydreaming about that too wistfully on Thursday.

Video: Ben Bishop shows how you clean up your own mess


Even the best puck-handling goalies have a tendency to raise their fans’ collective blood pressure with the occasionally ill-advised jaunt away from their nets.

Ben Bishop ranks as one of the best-passing goalies in the NHL right now, yet the double-edged sword is that he can be a little, um, adventurous at times. Whether his journeys are worth it overall or not is probably a debate for number-crunchers (and maybe an occasionally tense film session).

Bishop suffered one of those gaffes on Thursday, but in this case, the big goalie managed to make a highlight-reel save to avoid disaster. Watch that exciting/scary moment in the video above this post’s headline.

Senators lose Bobby Ryan (and lose big to Predators)


Are the Ottawa Senators primed to be the next team to suffer a wave of injuries?

The Senators were already without important (if struggling) forward Mike Hoffman against the Nashville Predators on Thursday; now they’ll play the remainder of tonight’s game without Bobby Ryan.

The team’s official announcement is that it’s an upper-body injury. They didn’t give an indication regarding how serious the ailment might be, at least beyond it ending his night early.

TSN’s Steve Lloyd wonders if it might be a hand issue, which is especially cruel to Ryan, who apparently fought through similar issues the past two seasons.

For a guy who lives off his nifty hands like Ryan, you wonder how much more productive he might be if he had a little better luck in this area.

Perhaps this time it will be a mere bump in the the road …

Update: It was a rough night for the Senators either way, as the Nashville Predators clobbered them 5-1. James Neal continued his hot streak:

The Senators aren’t sure about Ryan’s status, although this cryptic comment is a little troubling.