James O'Brien

Ben Bishop, Braydon Coburn

Bolts breakthrough? Bishop doesn’t want to ‘jinx’ it


This time around, the Tampa Bay Lightning seem like they’re being cautious about calling for the return of their swag.

It’s easy to see why it would be tempting to forecast the return of the team that impressed on its way to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.

The Lightning downed the Anaheim Ducks 5-0 on Saturday, and it was the type of win that the Bolts have likely been craving.

Ben Bishop got a shutout, and he did it on his birthday to boot.

Steven Stamkos was dominant, scoring two goals and one assist. Nikita Kucherov had a great night, too, grabbing a goal and two helpers.

Are they back? Maybe, but Bishop is wisely skirting the issue.

Stamkos did well to walk the line there, too.

What’s not subjective is that the Lightning are now on a two-game winning streak and hope to continue their winning ways against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.

Will that rest serve them well, or will their swag dissolve once more?

Roy after Avs’ 7-3 loss: ‘Our goalie wasn’t at his best’

Evgeny Kuznetsov, Reto Berra

On paper, the Colorado Avalanche seem like an opportunity for Washington Capitals players to stack up some shots on goal and maybe points.

The Avs crumbled even more than that paper even suggested on Saturday, too.

It was a laugher for Washington, as they won 7-3. Granted, it wasn’t funny for Patrick Roy & Co.

Roy seemed to acknowledge that Reto Berra struggled in net, even if the fiery former goalie isn’t caving to critics who say his system isn’t up to snuff.

At times, Berra saved Colorado’s bacon during this past stretch, although Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon have provided fireworks themselves.

Perhaps in ways that parallel the Canadiens getting Carey Price back as Mike Condon began to falter, it’s probably a relief that Semyon Varlamov is believed to be nearing a return.

Will Varlamov right the ship, or will Roy need to find someone else to blame?

(In case you’re wondering, Evgeny Kuznetsov was the Capitals player who seemed to benefit the most with a one-goal, two-assist night.)

Rask edges Reimer in goalie duel; Marchand torments Toronto


The story was going to be about James Reimer, but to some extent, Zdeno Chara ended that with a big blast.

Chara scored the 1-0 goal fairly late in the third period of what had been a great display of goaltending, particularly by Reimer, as the Boston Bruins ultimately won 2-0. Tuukka Rask got the shutout, continuing to haunt Toronto Maple Leafs fans.

Again, Reimer was still very good, and still remains quite hot.

It was also a game in which Brad Marchand likely made even more enemies.

As you can see from the video above, he delivered a questionable hit (was it knee-to-knee?) on Leo Komarov. He also rubbed a little salt in Toronto’s wounds with an empty-netter.

The three stars says most of it:

Yet Marchand certainly made an impact in his own right, and in his own distinct way.

Penguins dodge bullet with Letang, but Sharks stay hot on road

Evgeni Malkin, Patrick Marleau

People rarely give the San Jose Sharks credit for resiliency, but this current road trip may very well make their season.

(Granted, it’s still November, but this has been a remarkable run.)

Things looked glum with Logan Couture on the shelf, yet the Sharks pushed their winning streak to five games – all during a current road trip that ends against the Blue Jackets tomorrow – with a 3-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Martin Jones has been the story for at least the last couple games, following up a 34-save shutout by stopping a bucket of Penguins shots (more precisely 38 out of 39).

OK, Brent Burns has been a big story too; his shot-leaning ways helped explain a two-goal night that was impressive as his beard is scraggly.

It’s a bummer for the Penguins, although they can’t say there wasn’t any luck going their way, as it looks like Kris Letang shook off an injury scare. Of course, if anything changes in that regard, PHT will pass along word.

In other news, this was also the night that Patrick Marleau reached the 1,000 point mark, and he also went to 1,001. You think he still wants out?

Dirty or not? Pavelec injured after colliding with Doan


Depending upon who you ask, Saturday provided examples of the good and the bad regarding Shane Doan.

The good side: he scored the sort of goal that provides fodder for an obscure stat like this –

The bad: Well, just look at the video above. Doan collided with Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec, and considering his history of shaky-to-bad hits, some wonder if it wasn’t on Doan.

Whether that was accidental or … convenient, the bottom line is that Pavelec is hurt.

What do you think?

Update: The Jets got a measure of revenge with a 3-2 win, and there was some rough stuff between Doan and Dustin Byfuglien after the final whistle sounded.