Author: James O'Brien

2010 NHL Awards Portraits

Careful what you wish for: Blues, Brodeur storm back vs. Isles

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New York Islanders fans with a sense of history may have joined in the “We want Marty” chants on Saturday, although it would have been a weird sort of nostalgia.

After all, as NHL.com’s Lou Korac points out, the league’s all-time wins leader has more wins against the Islanders than any team. After the St. Louis Blues’ comeback 6-4 win, 52 of Martin Brodeur’s 689 victories have come against the Isles.

The Islanders stormed out to a 3-0 lead through the first period, chasing suddenly struggling St. Louis goalie Jake Allen in the process.

Things only got wilder from there, however, as the Blues erupted to tie the game in the second period. John Tavares made a great play to restore an Islanders lead to 4-3, but that was the last time they’d lead the game.

Paul Stastny enjoyed one of his best games with St. Louis, scoring the game-winner and two goals overall. Joakim Lindstrom wasn’t expected to even play on Saturday, yet he took advantage of Alexander Steen’s absence by generating three assists (doubling his season points total in the process).

Islanders fans may be frustrated beyond seeing Brodeur come out on top yet again, as there were some controversial calls both ways, including a Brodeur stop that went under review.

(There’s an explanation up on NHL.com, but no video yet.)

While there were some numbers that seemed normal enough (Tavares and Vladimir Tarasenko scoring), there were plenty of odd stats from this exciting contest:

Wild stuff.

Video: Anders Lee elbows Carl Gunnarsson

elbowlee
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It’s been a wild game between the New York Islanders and St. Louis Blues, including some controversial calls. Many are stunned that Anders Lee wasn’t penalized for elbowing Carl Gunnarsson, for one thing:

Gunnarsson won’t return with what’s being labeled an upper-body injury, according to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Lee, 24, hasn’t ever been suspended by the NHL.

Goalie nods: Luongo hopes to blank Buffalo once again

Panthers Luongo Hockey
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All the latest from the blue paint…

Bobby Lou loves facing Buffalo

As many point out, Roberto Luongo has really pumped up his numbers against the Buffalo Sabres lately, as he carries a three-game shutout streak into Saturday’s game. That streak includes his past two starts versus Buffalo as a member of the Florida Panthers, so it’s not merely a matter of his days with the Vancouver Canucks.

Luongo’s been quite effective for Florida, in general, even if he hasn’t always received the best bounces (judging by the six in his 8-5-6 record). His .924 save percentage is a strong argument that he can make things work under most circumstances, even as people focus on a contract even he grew to hate.

The Sabres rode a hot streak with Jhonas Enroth pretty recently, yet it sounds like Michal Neuvirth will get the nod today.

Elsewhere …

Flyers at Kings: Steve Mason for sure on Philly’s end, probably Jonathan Quick for Los Angeles.

Capitals at Devils: Braden Holtby seems most likely, Cory Scheider for sure.

Canucks at Maple Leafs: Ryan Miller’s expected, Jonathan Bernier’s confirmed.

Rangers at Red Wings: Cam Talbot vs. Jimmy Howard.

Canadiens at Stars: Likely Carey Price vs. Kari Lehtonen.

Blue Jackets at Lightning: Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Ben Bishop.

Blackhawks at Pekka Rinne: Best guess right now is Scott Darling vs. Pekka Rinne.

Bruins at Coyotes: Possibly Tuukka Rask, definitely Devan Dubnyk.

Sharks at Flames: Expected Antti Niemi vs. Karri Ramo.

They got Marty: Isles chase Allen for Brodeur

Martin Brodeur
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New York Islanders fans will get at least one more chance to heckle Martin Brodeur (or watch him beat their team).

Isles fans chanted “We want Marty” after Jake Allen allowed a second first-period goal, and a last-minute 3-0 tally made the decision that much easier for Ken Hitchcock.

Allen made a surprising save at one point (maybe best seen in this GIF):

That wasn’t enough, as the fat rebound he allowed on this Michael Grabner goal was enough to make for an early night:

It’s been a tough run for Allen, 24, since the Blues signed Brodeur, 42. Allen has now allowed seven goals in his last four periods of play after showing some serious promise pre-Brodeur.

That’s a concerning storyline for the Blues, but this could be quite the treat for Islanders fans.

Of course, Brodeur may just get the last laugh, if he can get some help from his new team.

Enlarged kids: Capitals adjust to Epix’s cameras

2014 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic - Toronto Maple Leafs v Detroit Red Wings
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The TV network might have changed from HBO to Epix, but the fact of life remains the same: the Washington Capitals must adjust to cameras in often “sacred” places (and sometimes during very heated moments).

That adjustment is snapping into gear this weekend, as Epix’s crews began filming on Friday, according to a great story in the Washington Post.

Ultimately, the Capitals face a lengthy balancing act between sharing enough of what Brooks Orpik refers to as “the stuff fans want to see” while not giving people too much of the footage that the team wants no one to witness.

Brooks Laich spoke about conversations, emotions and injuries you want kept private.

Maybe most interestingly, though, it seems like Laich wonders if some of them will look silly as adults engaging in often child-like activities.

“Sometime people’s personalities change when the cameras are around,” Laich said. “They don’t do it for cameras. They like being themselves and they don’t want everybody to see all the crazy things that supposedly grown-up men do. It does humanize, but sometimes you’re supposed to be a grown-up man and you’re doing silly things, it makes you look like an enlarged kid. I think some of that is tapered a little bit when the cameras are around.”

It will be tough to top* the blustery, frequently profane moments Bruce Boudreau provided during the last time high-profile cameras followed the Capitals around, yet one natural story will be the team’s schedule. Eight of their next 11 games are on the road, including the last three games before the 2015 Winter Classic against the Chicago Blackhawks.

(Epix is lucky here, as their schedule’s far more home-happy in January.)

Beyond that, the Washington Post points out the many human interest stories at hand:

Speaking Tuesday night at Verizon Center, producer Ross Greenburg, who also helmed the HBO series before joining Epix, offered a list of “really interesting humanitarian stories” that included the following: Trotz and his son, Nolan, who has Down syndrome; Ovechkin’s mentorship of young Russians Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dmitry Orlov; the relationship between goaltending coach Mitch Korn and starting netminder Braden Holtby; and owner Ted Leonsis, whom Greenburg has known personally since around 1999.

It should be captivating TV … maybe too captivating for the Blackhawks’ and Capitals’ liking.

* – Granted, no one wants to approach that level, since some believe it made Boudreau look foolish and maybe accelerated his firing.

Related: How to watch the Epix show.