James O'Brien

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

WATCH LIVE: Matthews and the Leafs vs. McDavid and the Oilers

It was a memorable stretch that will likely be a blip on the radar of their careers: Auston Matthews and Connor McDavid on Team North America, scoring beautiful goals.

That was great, but hey, McDavid vs. Matthews could end up being even more bewitching.

NBCSN will join Tuesday’s Toronto Maple Leafs – Edmonton Oilers game in progress, to what should be the delight of many hockey fans. Of course, the best part is that these teams are about more than their stars … but oh, what stars these two are.

You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

Should Lightning be worried after tough loss to Blue Jackets?


Maybe it’s because they miss Steven Stamkos more than some anticipated. Maybe it’s just a tough stretch. Maybe the Tampa Bay Lightning should be worried?

Either way, it was a grim Tuesday for the Bolts, who dropped their third straight game via a lopsided 5-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets. This loss also marks the Lightning’s fourth regulation defeat in their last five games.

It’s not just the losses, but how the Lightning keep losing. Take a look at this three-game skid:

Friday: 5-3 loss vs. Blue Jackets
Sunday: 4-1 loss at Bruins
Tonight: 5-1 loss at Blue Jackets

Losing by a combined score of 14-5, and particularly allowing so many goals, has to be a little troubling for Tampa Bay. They’ve now allowed 30+ shots on goal in seven straight contests.

At 13-10-1, the Lightning are by no means in crisis mode. They’ve already experienced one other stretch where they’ve lost four of five (from Oct. 27 to Nov. 3), so this isn’t totally foreign territory.

Even so, it’s reasonable to at least bring up the question.

Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets stand as a team capable of blowing just about anyone out. With a 12-5-4 record, they’re exceeding virtually all expectations.

Jack’s back: Sabres overcome Hoffman’s hat trick, end Sens’ streak


It probably felt like ages for Buffalo Sabres fans to finally see Jack Eichel score his first goal of the 2016-17 season.

He made sure not to take too long to do so in his season debut, then.

Eichel found the net less than halfway through the first period of tonight’s game against the Ottawa Senators. Watch that tally in the video below:

Eichel also assisted on another power-play goal when Kyle Okposo made it 1-0 about 6:16 into the contest, so he also has his first assist of the season in his first 10 minutes.

Yes, Eichel has been missed, yet he’s not exactly procrastinating.


It’s not all good news for Buffalo tonight, as Robin Lehner left the contest early with an injury.

Update: Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly were among the stars of the night for the Sabres, who scored three of their five goals on the power play. Mike Hoffman generated a hat trick for Ottawa, yet it wasn’t enough; Buffalo won 5-4 to end the Senators’ winning streak at four games.

That had been the NHL’s second-longest active streak behind the Los Angeles Kings’ five consecutive wins, by the way.

Report: Coyotes would ‘consider’ trading Anthony Duclair


Anthony Duclair was a big reason why people were excited about watching the Arizona Coyotes this season, even if part of that excitement revolved around the future.

What if he’s not part of that future?

TSN’s Darren Dreger reports that the Coyotes would “consider” trading Duclair, although they might not be actively doing so. From the sound of things, it’s more along the lines of his team “listening to offers” rather than going out of their way to make something happen.

Maybe it’s not a priority, but this also isn’t the first time there have been some rumblings.

Dreger notes that the winger’s name was circulating during the 2016 NHL Draft, while Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos brought up Duclair’s name earlier this month.

The price, according to Dreger, would be a center.

Here’s a reasonable statement to add to this mix: the 21-year-old’s stock was a lot higher during the summer.

In 2015-16, Duclair generated 20 goals and 44 points. So far this season, he has just four points in 20 games.

Savvy GMs might have sniffed out the risk, however; as promising as Duclair looked at times, he also boasted a 19 shooting percentage, the kind of puck luck you won’t see very often. The bounces are swinging in the other direction for Duclair in 2016-17, as he only has a single goal to show for 25 shots on goal (a scant four percent).

Even if the Coyotes want to part ways with the 80th pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, they might want to wait until things level out for Duclair, or they won’t be too excited about the “centers” other teams may offer up for him.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers


It’s been a while since the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers butted heads in the playoffs – Simon Gagne wore both teams’ sweaters since then – but it’s possible that these squads might duke it out for a spot this season.

As it stands right now, both the Bruins and Flyers are outside of the East’s top eight, but not by much.

That really sweetens the deal for hockey fans on Tuesday: two teams with history face off, yet they also have plenty to fight for in the present. They also boast the likes of Claude Giroux and Patrice Bergeron on each side.

This kicks off what should be a really fun doubleheader on NBCSN tonight. You can watch online or via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.