James O'Brien

TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 13:  Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning, center, celebrates a goal against Detroit Red Wings with Ondrej Palat #18 and Steven Stamkos #91 during the third period  at the Amalie Arena on October 13, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images)

Video: Steven Stamkos shouldn’t be able to do this


There are impossible angles, and then there are angles that are impossible for mere mortals.

Steven Stamkos scored an unbelievable goal on Tuesday that falls into the latter category. Not only was it a mind-blowing goal, but it was also very important; that tally tied Tuesday’s contest at 3-3 in the dying seconds of the third period.

The Tampa Bay Lightning went from a close loss to a 4-3 shootout win against the Florida Panthers thanks to Stamkos’ heroics:

Alex Killorn captured many of our thoughts in saying “I was shocked he was trying to shoot it. Just a really unbelievably skilled play by a skilled player.”

If Stamkos was the cocky type, he’d respond “I tried to shoot it because I can.

Carey on: Montoya blanks Pens in Habs’ home opener

OTTAWA, CANADA - OCTOBER 15: Al Montoya #35 of the Montreal Canadiens keeps track of the puck as a shot tips over his glove in NHL game against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre on October 15, 2016 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  (Photo by Francois Laplante/Freestyle Photography/Getty Images)

Last season, the Montreal Canadiens disintegrated without Carey Price in net. Good thing they signed Al Montoya.

While Price’s flu situation generates conspiracy theories, you don’t need a tin foil hat to realize that Montoya has been a rock for Montreal so far. That continued on Tuesday night, as Montoya and the Habs beat the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-0 in their home opener.

It’s not as though Montoya’s being coddled by a system that suffocates opposing offenses, either.

Instead, he’s faced 30+ shots in each game, including tonight’s 36-save shutout.

It was a strong night for multiple Montreal players, from Max Pacioretty to David Desharnais. Alex Radulov gets to breathe a sigh of relief after scoring his first NHL goal in ages:

Over the long term, Montreal wants Price back. They probably want to see him in net.

Still, right now, Montoya makes an argument that they don’t need him back just yet.

Taylor Hall breaks through; Ducks? Not so much

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Tuesday’s New Jersey Devils – Anaheim Ducks match had the feeling of one of those “something has to give” moments. It all came up New Jersey.

After a frustrating start coming off the heels of a frustrating trade, Taylor Hall broke through in an impressive way, scoring both of the Devils’ goals in a 2-1 win.

Here’s video of the game-winner, while his first with New Jersey appears above:

While the Devils got their first win, the Ducks remain without a victory in the second Randy Carlyle era.

And, make no mistake about it, some of the blame falls on their oft-criticized head coach. Big picture wise, his system might be a little … behind the times.

This, along with the sustained impasse between the Ducks and rising star defenseman Hampus Lindholm, provides some real doom and gloom in that sunny hockey market.

On the other hand, slow starts aren’t just an issue that plagues Carlyle’s teams. NHL.com’s Curtis Zupke reminds us that the Ducks began the 2015-16 season with an 0-3-1 record, too.

So, the good news is that the Ducks fought through this sort of malaise before. The natural, uncomfortable question, is how many times can you defy conventional wisdom?

Ovechkin, Caps’ top line hand Avs their first loss

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 18: Goalie Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche looks on as T.J. Oshie #77 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his second period goal with teammate Alex Ovechkin #8 at Verizon Center on October 18, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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On paper, this is the sort of game a championship team should win.

The Colorado Avalanche have been looking strong, but they’re closing off a back-to-back set and were pushed to overtime. The Washington Capitals, meanwhile, come into this home game refreshed.

Sometimes things do work out more or less as planned. The Capitals mopped up this contest by a score of 3-0, giving the Avs their first loss of 2016-17.

It’s not just the win that should delight the Capitals, but also how they won.

For one thing, Philipp Grubauer enjoyed a relatively light workload in only needing 18 saves to post a shutout.

More than that, it was who was scoring the goals.

After being held off the scoreboard to start the season, the Capitals’ top line of Alex Ovechkin (one goal, one assist), T.J. Oshie (two tallies) and Evgeny Kuznetsov (one helper) really came through. Two of those three goals came on the power play, ticking off that box for anyone who gets concerned about things in small sample sizes.

If you close your eyes and imagine a typical Ovechkin goal, it probably looks just like the one he actually scored:

Washington hopes such familiar feelings will only become more common as the 2016-17 season goes along.

Marian Hossa becomes 44th player to hit 500 goals


Many associate Marian Hossa with playoff successes or his excellent two-way play. It’s easy to forget just how great he is at scoring, especially with him losing a step.

Hossa reminded hockey fans of his outstanding scoring skills on Tuesday, becoming the 44th player in NHL history to hit 500 career regular season goals.

That tally made it 4-0 for the Chicago Blackhawks, chasing Michal Neuvirth from the Philadelphia Flyers’ net.

The Blackhawks tweeted a great image that shows where he scored each of those 500 tallies:

From the Flyers’ end, we’ll need to see if a night like this swings the goalie battle back in Steve Mason‘s favor.