Author: James O'Brien

Carey Price,

Quick hits: Habs, Price get a little revenge vs. Rangers


There are 11 games on the schedule, so to keep you up to date on the action, it seems wise to put the results in one spot.

First, PHT posts on some of the individual results:

Sabres embarrass Sharks 2-1; Marc-Edouard Vlasic isn’t too worried

Bruins bump Jonathan Bernier out, leave Leafs soul-searching following 4-1 loss

Islanders win track meet against the Dallas Stars 7-5

The Blues beat the Blackhawks and left Dan Carcillo limping

Penguins blank Predators

Wild chase Nabokov, blast the Lightning 7-2

OK, that takes care of three of Saturday’s contests, but there are plenty of important ones that we’ll cover here.

Canadiens 3, Rangers 1

Are the Montreal Canadiens the best team in the East? It’s way too early to say, but they got a little revenge against the team that beat them in the 2014 Eastern Conference finals, topping the Rangers thanks in large part to Carey Price’s strong play. /Cues “What if Price didn’t get injured?” talk …

Price is on quite the streak lately, by the way:

The Canadiens are 7-1-0 even though there have been sloppy moments.

(Chris Kreider had a quiet evening, in case you’re wondering.)

Flyers 4, Red Wings 2

The Detroit Red Wings fired 37 shots on goal to Philly’s 17, but Ray Emery stole one for the Flyers. Could Emery find himself stealing some starts from Steve Mason as the season goes along? That’s a discussion for another day.

Flyers head coach Craig Berube admits it wasn’t the greatest performance … but he’ll take it:

Devils 3, Senators 2 (OT)

New Jersey Devils head coach Peter DeBoer illustrates how important this win was:

Naturally, Jaromir Jagr was the one to score the overtime-winner:

Coyotes 2, Panthers 1 (OT)

Roberto Luongo played very well in net, making 39 saves, but Florida was unable to provide him enough goal support. Bobby Lou’s likely hoping that such a common recap blurb from his original tour with the Panthers doesn’t remain a trend this time around; so far, that’s not looking too promising.

Justin Hodgman took quite a journeyman’s path to his first NHL game, yet it only took him that long to score his first career goal:

Oliver Ekman-Larsson ended up winning the game in OT (to Luongo’s chagrin):

Capitals 3, Flames 1

This is probably the type of win the Washington Capitals envisioned when they hired Barry Trotz.

Things didn’t go well for Alex Ovechkin – he didn’t get a point and broke two sticks on opportunities late in the third period alone – yet the Capitals were able to grind out a solid win.

Nicklas Backstrom was fantastic, scoring the insurance goal and nearly collecting another one before being thwarted by a game Karri Ramo.

Fittingly, a player who once played under Trotz with Nashville enjoyed arguably the best night, as Joel Ward scored two of Washington’s three goals.

One more stat that would probably make Trotz smile: the Capitals didn’t allow an even-strength goal tonight. Overall, Braden Holtby made 20 out of 21 saves to build back some confidence, too.

All in all, it’s a win by the Trotz blueprint. Washington hopes to see many more.

Video: Oshie injures Carcillo, Blues beat Blackhawks


The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the rival St. Louis Blues 3-2 on Saturday. They also lost Dan Carcillo to a knee injury that could keep him out a week or more, according to’s Tracey Myers:

Here’s video of the hit, which was delivered by Blues forward T.J. Oshie:

Oshie didn’t receive a penalty on the play, but should he get a call from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety for that?

It wasn’t the only unpleasant replay for the Blackhawks, as a disputed Ryan Reaves goal ended up counting:

Dmitrij Jaskin ended up scoring about two minutes later – and with just six seconds left – ultimately giving St. Louis a 3-1 lead that the Blackhawks couldn’t overcome.

While tonight was a grim evening for the Blackhawks, head coach Ken Hitchcock thinks that this could help the Blues turn things around:

What a difference a win makes.

Penguins shut down Neal, Preds

Paul Gaustad, Marc-Andre Fleury

James Neal and the Nashville Predators came into Saturday’s home game hot, but the Pittsburgh Penguins doused that fire with a smothering 3-0 win.

With so much focus on Neal and Patric Hornqvist (sorry, Nick Spaling), Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Marc-Andre Fleury ended up stealing the headlines … although Hornqvist did get an assist.

The sweetest goal probably came when Crosby set up Malkin for a beautiful power-play goal, one of two man-advantage markers as Pittsburgh put the game away in the third period:

As well as Neal is fitting in with Nashville, seeing a play like that by his former Pittsburgh centers has to burn a bit. Fleury earned his first shutout of 2014-15 and 29th of his career, though he enjoyed a few bounces against his former teammate:

With this win, the Penguins end a two-game losing streak and improve to 4-2-1. Meanwhile, Nashville’s days of being undefeated in regulation are over, as they fall to 5-1-2.

The Predators get a little time to gather themselves for what is likely to be a big test to their legitimacy. Starting on Wednesday, they play six straight road games and seven of eight away from Bridgestone Arena.

If Nashville is still among the West’s best in mid-November, then the Predators’ critics will be quieter. The Penguins gave them some ammo tonight, though.

Want more info? Here’s an infographic from the Penguins:

Once again, Carlyle’s Leafs are searching for answers

Randy Carlyle

The Toronto Maple Leafs seem like they’re embracing new ideas, yet Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the Boston Bruins brought up a lot of old feelings and problems.

Jonathan Bernier was pulled from the net, yet it’s clear that goaltending isn’t the only problem. (In fact, it’s often a saving grace.)

Raise your hand – but for your health, don’t take a shot – if you’ve heard this before:

  • As far as giving a more concrete description of the loss, more than a few Leafs are confused:

While others speak about effort:

With the increased interest in “fancy stats” (or at least public acknowledgment of that interest) and supposed nerdy thinking, the Leafs seem like they’re guilty of Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again, yet expecting different results.

Defense optional: Islanders take thriller against Stars

Kevin Connauton, Dan Ellis, Josh Bailey

The book on the Dallas Stars and New York Islanders is that both teams might be stuck “outscoring their problems.” That certainly was the case tonight, as it’s somewhat remarkable that Anders Lindback and Chad Johnson weren’t among the goalies who were pulled early in Saturday’s games as the Isles won 7-5.*

Just as remarkable: the Islanders managed to outgun the Stars even though John Tavares finished the night without a goal or an assist.

Whether Nielsen’s hat trick stands or he just scored two goals, it was still a strong night for the Isles’ supporting cast. Nikolay Kulemin, Lubomir Visnovsky and Brock Nelson enjoyed matching one-goal, one-assist nights. Mikhail Grabovski returned from his concussion issues to collect two assists.

The Islanders still have plenty of work to do in their end, mind you. While their league-best 32 goals and nice 6-2-0 record look great, they’ve allowed 27 goals. Conventional wisdom is that teams need to play skin-tight defense to thrive in the playoffs, so that’s a concern for this upstart bunch.

Of course, the same can be said for the Stars, particularly if Kari Lehtonen can’t stay in net. Lindback has now allowed nine goals in two starts, doing little to quiet concerns that he won’t improve upon lousy numbers from his run with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Another impressive night by the Jamie Benn – Jason Spezza – Tyler Seguin combo nearly lifted them to back-to-back victories, yet that trio also combined for a -10 rating.

This post’s main image is actually from a different Stars – Islanders game, yet it seems to tell the story of Saturday’s contest anyway (minus a Josh Bailey here or there).

All of that pessimism aside, the Stars and Islanders put on the kind of show that had people dreaming of a high-scoring 2015 Stanley Cup Final tonight. Both teams have a lot of work to do to even be considered legitimate contenders, yet each franchise boasts the offensive firepower to at least make people sweat.

*- There’s still a chance that Frans Nielsen’s hat trick goal didn’t beat the clock, as he fired the puck into an empty net in the dying moments.