Author: Jason Brough

Oscar Lindberg, Dalton Prout, Sergei Bobrovsky

Jackets coach bemoans ‘major, major breakdowns’

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High expectations have not translated into a winning start for the Columbus Blue Jackets.

A 4-2 loss to the Rangers on Friday at home was followed by a 5-2 loss to the same Rangers side on Saturday in New York.

Of particular concern, goalie Sergei Bobrovksy has allowed eight goals on just 47 shots, for a save percentage of .830.

But it’s not all on him.

“We had major, major breakdowns,” coach Todd Richards told the Columbus Dispatch after Saturday’s loss.

For example:

That was Fedor Tyutin with the giveaway, if you’re wondering.

The Blue Jackets will have another opportunity to get into the win column when they play in Buffalo this afternoon.

Chara will play today versus Lightning

Zdeno Chara

The winless Boston Bruins will have captain Zdeno Chara back in their lineup this afternoon at home versus Tampa Bay.

Chara missed the Bruins’ first two games — a 6-2 loss to Winnipeg followed by a 4-2 loss to Montreal — with an upper-body injury.

Chara is expected to be paired with Kevan Miller, while Torey Krug will skate with Adam McQuaid, and Joe Morrow will go with rookie Colin Miller.

Also, Brett Connolly is expected to replace Brad Marchand (concussion) on Boston’s top line with Patrice Bergeron and Loui Eriksson.

Matt Irwin cleared waivers today and was assigned to AHL Providence.

Related: After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Abdelkader, Lindberg and Smith are NHL’s three stars of the week

Justin Abdelkader
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Red Wings winger Justin Abdelkader, Rangers center Oscar Lindberg and Coyotes goalie Mike Smith have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From NHL.com:

Abdelkader shared the League lead with four goals and tied for second in the NHL with five points as the Red Wings (2-0-0, 4 points) opened the season with a pair of victories.

Lindberg also tied for first in the NHL with four goals to lift the Rangers (3-0-0, 6 points) to a trio of wins. Playing in his second career game, Lindberg scored 1:43 after the opening face-off en route to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks Oct. 7.

Smith went 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals-against average and .971 save percentage to backstop the Coyotes (2-0-0, 4 points) to their first 2-0-0 start since 2009-10.

Others that have started strong include Patrick Kane (3G, 3A in three games), Henrik Zetterberg, (1G, 4A), Nathan MacKinnon (1G, 4A in two games), Zach Parise (4G) Gabriel Landeskog (3G, 2A), and Francois Beauchemin (5A).

Pekka Rinne (1 goals on 57 shots) and Martin Jones (1 goal on 47 shots) join Smith among the goalies that have been excellent early.

Artemi Panarin (2G, 2A) and Dylan Larkin (2G, 1A) are, like Lindberg, rookies off to good starts.

Related: Mike Smith seeing benefit from sports psychologist

The San Jose Sharks ‘are back and we’re for real’

Patrick Marleau, Joel Ward, Justin Braun, Brenden Dillon
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Two wins in their first two games have the San Jose Sharks feeling pretty good about themselves.

“I think a statement was made that the Sharks are back and we’re for real this year,” said new coach Pete DeBoer, per CSN Bay Area.

You’ll recall that when DeBoer was hired to replace Todd McLellan, he predicted a “big bounce-back” for a Sharks side that still boasted the likes of  Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, and Marc-Edouard Vlasic.

The new additions have been helping, too.

Veteran defenseman Paul Martin, paired with Burns, logged 22:27 in Saturday’s 2-0 win over Anaheim. Martin had an assist in the season-opener, a 5-1 victory in Los Angeles on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, winger Joel Ward has two assists in two games and says he’s seen “a lot of guys just buzzing and working hard for each other.”

And last but not least, netminder Martin Jones has allowed just one goal on 47 shots.

If the Sharks can get consistently good goaltending from their inexpensive-but-relatively-unproven tandem of Jones and Alex Stalock, it may be hard to find a glaring weakness in their lineup.

“We’re only two games in, but we played two tough teams,” said DeBoer. “I think the guys are feeling good about what we’re doing.”

The Sharks have another tough test Tuesday in Washington, where they kick off a four-game road trip against the Capitals, Devils, Islanders, and Rangers.

Report: Bruins ‘quietly’ gauging trade market for Chara, Marchand and others

Cory Conacher, Brad Marchand, Zdeno Chara
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It didn’t take long for the Boston Bruins trade speculation to begin.

From CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty:

According to separate hockey sources, there has been some level of recent trade discussion about veterans Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand with other teams around the league, just to name a few B’s players. The talks haven’t been substantial but more exploratory in nature, as the team quietly gauges the market value of higher-priced veterans who may not fit in the long-term picture if the decision is made to tear down the current roster.

Chara, 38, is signed through 2017-18 for a cap hit of almost $7 million. Given his age, if the Bruins aren’t going to be contenders for the next few years, it may make sense to try and trade him.

Marchand, 27, is signed though 2016-17 for a cap hit of $4.5 million. He’ll be approaching 30 when his contract is up, and probably won’t be cheap to re-sign as an unrestricted free agent.

Of course, all this trade speculation assumes the Bruins don’t turn things around. It’s possible Chara will return to the lineup this afternoon at home versus Tampa Bay. If not, he’ll be back soon.

Marchand is out with a concussion, his return date unknown.

The B’s remain winless after two games, losing to the Jets and Canadiens by a combined score of 10-4. After today’s game, they play five of their next seven on the road.

“We just need to focus on getting better as a team, and there’s a lot of work to be done,” said coach Claude Julien. “We need everybody right now. There are a lot of people we need to get more of if we’re going to battle out of this. This is where we need players to step up.”