James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.
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Yes, in 2016: Setoguchi scores for Kings, Budaj shuts out Flames

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This summer, you could forgive Peter Budaj and Devin Setoguchi for worrying that they’d never accomplish anything of significance in the NHL again.

On Saturday, they factored into the Los Angeles Kings’ 5-0 drubbing of the Calgary Flames.

Budaj is now 6-3-0 and nabbed the 12th shutout of his NHL career (plus his first since 2013).

Setoguchi’s battle with addiction probably makes his ascent even more heartwarming. He scored two goals on Saturday, finding the net at this level for the first time since 2014.

Hey, even Dustin Brown seemed like he came out of a time machine with two assists tonight.

All and all, it’s some pretty inspiring stuff … unless you play or cheer for the Flames.

Sidney Crosby is still on fire; Penguins blank Sharks

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Plenty of Pittsburgh Penguins deserve credit as the team is really heating up, but the hottest streak belongs to the most obvious catalyst: Sidney Crosby.

As of this writing, the Penguins lead the San Jose Sharks 5-0 in what was a lopsided rematch of the 2016 Stanley Cup Final.

Crosby – the guy who you may remember as the 2016 Conn Smythe winner – now has eight goals in six games after firing in two on Saturday. He now has three multi-goal games in his last four contests (six goals, one assist).

Ridiculous, right?

Here’s his first of the night:

And his second, a one-handed sensation:

So, yeah, he might still be the best player in the world, and the Penguins are impressive with him back in the mix.

Tortorella said very Tortorella things after Blue Jackets loss

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After handing the Montreal Canadiens that historic 10-0 defeat, the Columbus Blue Jackets dropped a 2-1 overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues after Vladimir Tarasenko‘s OT-winner.

Deep down, John Tortorella might not be so upset.

They took three of a possible four points from a back-to-back set against two likely playoff teams. The Blue Jackets are also an impressive 5-1-2 in their last eight games, largely erasing the bad taste from a tough start to 2016-17.

Still, this is Torts, so he’s going to get upset about things, often to the hockey world’s collective entertainment.

Tortorella wasn’t happy that captain Nick Foligno was stuck fighting “that animal” Ryan Reaves:

So, he said this:

Yeah. Check this video for a little more.

Seth Jones backs up the notion that the Blue Jackets didn’t bring their A-game to the contest, but only Torts can say these things in a such a … well, Torts way.

Here’s video of that Tarasenko overtime-winner:

Daniel Sedin: Canucks will ‘get through this’

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From the quotes coming out of the Vancouver Canucks locker room, you’d think no one lost their head during Saturday’s 6-3 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

If nothing else, the group seems together, and – at least publicly – behind coach Willie Desjardins.

“It’s great to see us sticking together,” Daniel Sedin. “The game got out of hand, but we stayed together. We’ll get through this.”

Granted, Ryan Miller did admit that the Canucks are approaching “rock bottom” and that their blood was boiling here:

And, uh, people were calling for Matt Martin‘s head:

Well that’s not nice.

But, hey, at least they’re turning on their opponents rather than each other.

“I like the fact our group stuck up for each other,” Willie Desjardins said. “The room cares.”

Sure, they show it in a way that reminds Mike Babcock of “rodeo stuff” from junior, but maybe that spirit will be enough to turn things around and/or save Willie D’s job?

Vancouver gets a chance to break its eight-game losing streak with a road game against the New York Islanders on Monday.

Back to normal? Habs prevail one night after 10-0 loss

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Look, it wasn’t always pretty on Saturday night, but the Montreal Canadiens will take their 10th win over losing 10-0.

Credit the Habs by bouncing back from Friday’s historic 10-0 defeat to the Columbus Blue Jackets by scrapping their way to a 5-4 victory against the Philadelphia Flyers. That improves their record to a resounding 10-1-1, even if that second one was a big one.

Hey, it only counts as one game though, right?

Some might argue that the difference, ultimately, was Carey Price vs. Al Montoya. Those folks will cite this save, in particular:

Price stopped 34 out of 38 shots on goal, while Montreal made the most of its chances; five goals scored on just 17 shots for Philly.

Are there problems to clean up? That seems like a safe assumption, but most teams would envy Montreal’s results (10-1-1) and the problem-solver they throw out most nights in net.