James O'Brien

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

Video: Matt Duchene’s nifty goal, Nathan MacKinnon’s hat trick

1 Comment

It’s been a season of hot and cold streaks for Matt Duchene a few months in, so the Colorado Avalanche must hope that this is a sign of another torrid run.

Either way, it’s a burst of genius, as Duchene spun and then put his 17th goal of the season by bouncing it off of San Jose Sharks defenseman Paul Martin.

You can see the goal in the video above, while My Regular Face provides a helpful angle on this GIF.

That’s a heck of a way to end a four-game scoring drought.

Update: Nathan MacKinnon generated a hat trick in stealing the show from Duchene as Colorado beat San Jose 6-3.

Rehabbed? Montreal breaks six-game slump, regains Atlantic lead


For a while there, it looked like the Montreal Canadiens were going to lose another game in another painful way.

The Tampa Bay Lightning turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead during a staggering 21-second span, but the Canadiens ultimately shook off the shock to win 4-3 via a shootout.

No, this isn’t the prettiest win, but standings points are more important than style points.

With this desperately needed win – ending a losing streak of six games – Montreal keeps the revolving door atop the Atlantic Division moving, as they’re back at No. 1. And, hey, it might help them shake Tampa Bay’s recent mental edge to boot:

The gap is small enough that this might be a short-lived advantage, but Montreal needed this … badly.

Here’s what the Atlantic’s top six looks like as of this writing.

Montreal: 21-14-3, 45 points, 38 games played
Florida: 20-12-4, 44 points, 36 GP
Detroit: 18-11-7, 43 points, 36 GP
Boston: 19-12-4, 42 points, 35 GP
Ottawa: 18-12-6, 42 points, 36 GP
Tampa Bay: 18-15-4, 40 points, 37 GP

This loss stings for the Lightning, yet it was also a statement that they might not fade away so easily.

More on Carter’s absence, Muzzin’s in for Kings

There’s a mix of good and bad/murky news for the Los Angeles Kings as they face the Vancouver Canucks on Monday.

The good: Remember Jake Muzzin‘s match penalty from Sunday? It put the Kings in a bind against the Arizona Coyotes there, but Los Angeles won, and they’ll get the valuable defenseman in the lineup tonight.

His debatable match penalty was rescinded.

The bad/murky: It seems like Jeff Carter may be dealing with a vague mix of injury and personal issues.

Los Angeles Kings Insider shares the full details here, but the bottom line is that he’s considered day-to-day and is not playing against Vancouver. The injury itself may be a lower-body issue.

Perhaps we’ll get a better idea regarding his future beyond this game sometime soon?

Great eight: Ovechkin scores, Washington wins again


Evander Kane ended up playing amid controversy. John Carlson couldn’t suit up. None of it mattered, as the Washington Capitals just kept winning.

Washington’s two biggest stars figured in to a feisty one on Wednesday, as Braden Holtby grabbed a 31-save shutout and Alex Ovechkin scored his 493rd career goal in a 2-0 victory against the Buffalo Sabres.

With that, the Capitals are now on an impressive eight-game winning streak.

Ovechkin’s goal ended up being the game-winner, but Holtby continued to be the brightest star for the Caps. He secured his shutout with a stop against Kane being arguably the biggest highlight:

By just about any standard, Holtby’s been outstanding.

It seems like a 7-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Nov. 21 may have been the springboard for Washington. Since then, the Capitals have gone 14-1-1.

The Dallas Stars hold the overall NHL standings lead with 57 points, yet the Caps are nipping at their heels with 56 points and two games in hand. Maybe most importantly, Washington is far ahead of any other team in the Metropolitan Division and Eastern Conference in general.

After weathering a tough schedule, the Capitals showed that some rough stuff won’t deter them tonight:

Videos: Coyle’s great goal, Subban’s silky setup

If you fixated on goal totals alone, you’d probably critique P.K. Subban pretty heavily.

It turns out that it would be pretty silly.

No, the highly entertaining defenseman didn’t score the goal featured in the video above – Montreal Canadiens teammate Tomas Plekanec finished the play – but Subban was clearly the catalyst.

Pretty sweet, right?

Want a bonus goal, one that might be even more impressive? Minnesota Wild forward Charlie Coyle has been heating up lately, yet this latest goal might be his best recent display.