James O'Brien

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

WATCH LIVE: Colorado Avalanche at St. Louis Blues

Want a game where both teams have plenty on the line? Here’s a good choice.

The Colorado Avalanche are fighting for their playoff lives in a seesaw battle with the Minnesota Wild. They’re currently trailing by three points and hope to carry momentum from Monday’s win against the Predators.

While the Avs fight to survive, the St. Louis Blues aim to thrive. With six games remaining, they’re in a virtual tie with the Dallas Stars for first place in the Central, although they might need to finish the season with at least one more point (considering tiebreaker factors).

Amusingly enough, the ideal scenario would be these two teams facing each other in the first round.

Either way, there are plenty of reasons to watch, so check it out on NBCSN and stream it via the link below.


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    Bruins sign college prospects Rob O’Gara, Sean Kuraly


    The college signings continue with two moves by the Boston Bruins, in both cases with fifth-rounders from the 2011 NHL Draft.

    In Tuesday’s case, they signed defenseman Rob O’Gara (pictured in his Yale sweater) and forward Sean Kuraly (who played for Miami of Ohio). The Bruins selected O’Gara with the 151st pick in 2011 while the Sharks initially drafted Kuraly 133rd of that same year and round.

    “We are excited to have Rob O’Gara and Sean Kuraly join the Bruins organization,” Bruins GM Don Sweeney said. “They were outstanding college players and both young men have tremendous character and leadership qualities.”

    Stanley Cup of Chowder pegs this as a move that should bolster the Bruins’ AHL roster.

    These signings along with Brandon Carlo coming from the WHL will bolster an already-strong P-Bruins roster; the team currently sits third in the Atlantic Division, and has three of the league’s top fifteen scorers, including two of the top five in Seth Griffith and Alexander Khokhlachev.

    Reunited with Ray? Flyers reportedly give Emery a tryout


    Well isn’t this … familiar.

    The Philadelphia Flyers are handing Ray Emery a tryout offer starting Wednesday, with the anticipated intent for him to back up Steve Mason, according to TSN’s Frank Seravalli.

    Seravalli notes a few key things here:

    • Even if Emery shines, he wouldn’t be eligible to play for the Flyers if they make the playoffs.
    • Could this be a way of saying that the organization either doesn’t believe in Anthony Stolarz or, softening that a bit, doesn’t believe he’s ready?

    On one hand, the 33-year-old netminder seems like he could be on his last legs, at least as far as NHL competition is concerned. In 31 appearances and 25 starts last season, he was under .500 with an ugly .894 save percentage.

    There’s no doubt that Emery is a familiar face for the Flyers organization and its fans, so perhaps that will provide added comfort during their push for a playoff spot?

    Sharks beat Kings moments after playoff berth was clinched


    Another playoff ticket has been punched.

    Technically, the San Jose Sharks didn’t need to beat the Los Angeles Kings to lock down their playoff spot on Monday, but they did anyway via a 5-2 victory.

    Much like their in-state rivals from Los Angeles, the Sharks are back in the postseason mix after an unusual break from the action in 2014-15.

    The 5-2 score was a touch deceptive.

    Joe Thornton made it 3-2 early in the third period, and then Melker Karlsson‘s insurance goal required a review to see if it was kicked in. The Sharks tacked on an empty-net goal, so one could argue this game was closer than 5-2.

    That doesn’t really matter though, really, as the Sharks beat the Kings to give themselves a shot at climbing in some form in the Pacific.

    Speaking of which, the Ducks were winners beyond edging the Edmonton Oilers tonight. Anaheim trails Los Angeles by one standings point, yet the Ducks hold a game in hand, so the Pacific title race is far from over.

    Any worries of the Sharks missing the playoffs again can be put to rest, however, so don’t blame the Sharks for celebrating a bit.

    Video: Jonathan Quick authors another save of the year candidate


    Jonathan Quick is regarded as one of the league’s more athletic goalies, especially at a time when many netminders seem to play a “cookie cutter” style.

    That agility and aggressiveness helps him make some tough saves, and Quick authored one of his best stops of 2015-16 in negating the San Jose Sharks’ efforts late in the second period.

    Try to keep your jaw from dropping on the stop in the video above.

    Meanwhile, Quick hopes to finish strong, as the Sharks are currently leading the Kings 3-2 in the third period.