James O'Brien

Anton Khudobin

Ducks send Khudobin to AHL after he clears waivers

Anton Khudobin wasn’t claimed, so now the Anaheim Ducks just assigned him to the AHL.

It’s not surprising that Khudobin wasn’t scooped up, as his price tag is considerable. He carries a $2.25 million cap hit and $2.5 million salary in 2015-16.

The 29-year-old really hasn’t distinguished himself during the past couple seasons, mostly bombing out with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2014-15 and Ducks in 2015-16.

As the OC Register notes, his future with the Ducks organization is a little fuzzy beyond this assignment. It’s reasonable to wonder about his future in the NHL beyond this season, as well.

Trade: Coyotes receive Christian Thomas, Habs get Lucas Lessio

Christian Thomas
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The Arizona Coyotes and Montreal Canadiens swapped prospects on Tuesday, as Christian Thomas heads to Arizona while Lucas Lessio is Montreal-bound.

Thomas, 23, had just recently recorded his first NHL points, but he was also sent down to the AHL. He was a second-rounder (40th overall in 2010 by the New York Rangers) with solid AHL stats.

Perhaps management decided that Thomas couldn’t quite make the cut as a main roster player after getting a short look at him with the big club?

Lessio shares a similar profile as Thomas. He’s 22 and was a second-rounder as well (56th overall in 2011 by the Coyotes) and even has similar experience (29 games for Lessio, 26 for Thomas) at the NHL level.

Both players will need to work up to the NHL level.

It’s been a fairly busy day for Montreal, as Carey Price spoke with the media about his recovery being on schedule and the team also waived Zack Kassian.

Chad Johnson shines in Sabres’ rare win over Red Wings


DETROIT (AP) Ryan O'Reilly and Johan Larsson scored 61 seconds apart late in the third period, rallying the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the Detroit Red Wings on Monday night.

O’Reilly tied it 1-all at 15:46 when his deflected shot beat goalie Petr Mrazek between the legs. Larsson scored the go-ahead goal with 3:13 remaining, his first goal in 30 games since April 6 last season against Carolina.

Detroit had earned at least one point in 13 consecutive games.

Buffalo snapped an eight-game winless streak in Detroit with its first victory there since Oct. 13, 2006.

After a scoreless first period, the Red Wings got the game’s first goal at 4:01 of the second.

Pavel Datsyuk found Brad Richards in the right circle and he beat goalie Chad Johnson glove side.

In 22 career games against the Sabres, Datsyuk has nine goals and 13 assists.

Tomas Jurco had a chance to give the Red Wings a two-goal lead when he was awarded a penalty shot at 14:56 of the second, but Johnson made a glove save.

Mrazek made 28 saves while Johnson had 33.

O’Reilly has a point in eight straight games, with four goals and seven assists during that span.

The Red Wings have blown third-period leads in nine of their last 14 games.

NOTES: Red Wings defenseman Mike Green played in his 600th career game. . Sabres defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen remains the only NHL player with an average ice time over 20 minutes with no penalty minutes. . The Red Wings remain one win shy of their 800th at Joe Louis Arena.

No spillage: Oilers move into playoff position with sixth straight win


If the playoffs began today, the Edmonton Oilers would be in.

Edmonton moved up a notch with a 3-2 overtime win against the Boston Bruins on Monday.

Yes, the Pacific is lousy. There are indeed red flags all over the place, with four of those six wins coming beyond regulation (when things tend to get a little … zany).

And, sure, there is a logjam after the Los Angeles Kings in the Pacific:

2. Arizona Coyotes: 14-14-2, 30 points
3. Edmonton Oilers: 14-15-2, 30 points
4. Vancouver Canucks: 11-12-8, 30 points
5. San Jose Sharks: 14-14-1, 29 points
6. Calgary Flames: 13-14-2, 28 points
7. Anaheim Ducks: 11-13-5, 27 points

You know what? The Oilers or at least their fans would probably respond with a shrug and “Who cares?”

Sure, Cam Talbot bailed Edmonton out tonight with a career-high 47 saves. On the other hand, Talbot – a guy who’s been a disappointment to say the least – was the guy bailing him out. Even some of the “Yeah, but …” responses are fairly positive for the Oilers.

The plus side of those Pacific rankings is that Edmonton’s that close to having home-ice advantage for a round of playoff action. They’ve managed to do so with Connor McDavid on the shelf, too.

With five of their next six games coming on the road and a foreboding schedule in general, things could fall apart soon enough.

Still, how many people expected Edmonton to be here considering how bad things looked in November?

Penguins lose in Sullivan’s debut, Caps move atop East

Mike Sullivan

The Pittsburgh Penguins faced a tall order in Mike Sullivan’s coaching debut: facing maybe the hottest team in the East, if not the NHL. And it showed.

Despite setting a season-high with 45 shots on goal, the Penguins could only beat Braden Holtby one time as the Washington Capitals nabbed a 4-1 win.

With that, the two teams continue to travel in opposite directions, as this win leaves Washington atop both the Metropolitan Division and the Eastern Conference. They’re now 9-1-1 in their past 11 games.

Holtby was the most obvious problem for the Penguins, yet T.J. Oshie proved to be a nuisance as well. He delivered the check that injured Beau Bennett and then iced the game with two third-period goals.

Many will bury the Penguins for losing again, and to be fair, there were some sloppy moments.

Still, there were signs of spirit from the team, so maybe it’s fairer to label the situation as a work in progress?

If nothing else, they’ve already begun tweaking their roster by trading Rob Scuderi for Trevor Daley (more about that here).