James O'Brien

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

Rask, Bruins snap Red Wings’ six-game winning streak


Tuukka Rask made a little (admittedly specific) history on Saturday, and he also made the Boston Bruins sigh with relief.

By stopping all 24 Red Wings shots on goal, Rask earned his 31st shutout, tying Tim Thomas for third all-time in Bruins history.

Boston needed every one of those saves, too, as the Bruins were only able to beat red-hot Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard one time to win 1-0. Howard made 35 out of 36 saves, continuing Detroit’s remarkable early run of goaltending.

Speaking of remarkable early runs, the Bruins ended the Red Wings’ winning streak at six games with this result.

More relevant to the Bruins: they ended a three-game skid of their own, going to .500 at 4-4-0 in 2016-17.

That’s the kind of record some expected to see for a perceived bubble team, but some of those stumbles may be at least partially attributed to Rask’s injury-related absence. Their fortunes certainly look a little more promising with him – and this win – after tonight.

Malkin’s 300th goal was the difference for Pens over Flyers


Sidney Crosby wasn’t the only star player who came up big in the Pittsburgh Penguins’ eventual 5-4 win against the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.

Crosby’s two goals in 43 seconds seemed to drop the gauntlet on other stars for both teams, and they largely responded. It’s almost as if Evgeni Malkin muttered “Um, guys, I’m a pretty big deal too …” before scoring two goals of his own.

Malkin didn’t just get the game-winner in this contest; he also generated the 300th goal of his already-impressive career with that decisive tally in the third:

Malkin’s milestone night shines brightest in a game that featured some intriguing subplots:

  • Jakub Voracek scored two goals of his own, including one on a penalty shot:

Philly generated a 29-14 shots on goal edge through the final two periods of Saturday’s game, yet they couldn’t take the next step after tying things up 4-4. Instead, Malkin’s second goal was the only tally of the third period, and the difference in this contest.


It felt, at times, like one of the Penguins – Flyers playoff series that featured wild scoring and a plethora of plot twists. This time, it was advantage Pittsburgh.

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.