Jason Brough


Coyotes scouts were ‘unanimous’ in wanting Burmistrov


Alexander Burmistrov won’t play for the Arizona Coyotes tonight in Vancouver, but the 25-year-old forward could be in the lineup this weekend, once he gets his visa sorted out.

Coyotes GM John Chayka is looking forward to seeing what he’s got, after Burmistrov was claimed off waivers from the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

“He’s a guy our scouts for a long time have identified as someone they think has got more potential than what he’s shown,” Chayka said Tuesday, per the Coyotes website. “(Claiming him) was unanimous across the board with our scouts, which is actually fairly rare.”

That’s interesting, because Burmistrov has yet to score his first goal of the season. He played 23 games for the Jets and managed just two assists.

Granted, he didn’t get a ton of ice time, and he played mostly with tough guy Chris Thorburn and rookie Brandon Tanev. The Jets didn’t have a top-six spot for him, now that youngsters Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers are cemented in scoring roles.

“Alex and I had a number of conversations about what he was hoping to have here, I just had other players ahead of him and the role he was looking for wasn’t here,” Jets coach Paul Maurice said, per CBCNews.ca. “So he’ll get a chance then to go and kind of reinvent … maybe not reinvent himself, maybe he gets that opportunity he’s been looking for to go and play with some of the top guys and get some power-play minutes.”

Burmistrov does have talent. That’s why he was drafted eighth overall in 2008. However, he’s only managed 30 goals in 298 NHL games, and most of those came when he was younger, before he went to the KHL for two years.

A pending restricted free agent, Burmistrov may be headed back to the KHL if he doesn’t find his game in Arizona. The Coyotes have nothing to lose by giving him a shot. Already 15 points back of a wild-card spot, they’ll need a miracle to make the playoffs.

Another day, another team: Boucher gets claimed by Canucks


The Vancouver Canucks have claimed forward Reid Boucher off waivers from the New Jersey Devils.

Boucher, 23, has already been claimed once this season, by the Nashville Predators. But the Devils claimed him back shortly thereafter, then put him on waivers again, hoping to get him down to the AHL.

Enter the Canucks, who are currently without winger Jannik Hansen due to injury. They’ve also lost winger Derek Dorsett (neck surgery) for the season. And yet another winger of theirs, Anton Rodin, is still getting back into game shape after tweaking his knee in the preseason.

Boucher was a prolific scorer in junior, and he’s been a good scorer in the AHL; however, he’s yet to break through at the NHL level. The Michigan native really had to work on his skating after the Devils drafted him in the fourth round back in 2011, and that may still be keeping him back.

In 85 games for the Devils and Predators, Boucher has 12 goals and 18 assists. Last season, he had 19 goals in just 34 games for Albany.

Khudobin on waivers; McIntyre recall coming?


Anton Khudobin is on waivers today. Don’t be surprised if the Boston Bruins recall Zane McIntyre from the AHL at some point soon.

Khudobin just didn’t get the job done as the backup behind Tuukka Rask. The 30-year-old from Kazakhstan is 1-5-1 with an .885 save percentage. He had one encouraging performance on Dec. 1, but it wasn’t enough.

If McIntyre gets the call, he’s no sure thing to solve the Bruins’ problem. The 24-year-old has been excellent for Providence, going 10-0-0 with a .950 save percentage. But he allowed 10 goals on 71 shots (.859) in three appearances for the big club.

The Bruins host the Oilers Thursday.

Related: Khudobin hasn’t solved the Bruins’ backup goalie problem

Another blown lead for the Leafs, and this one was costly


The Toronto Maple Leafs got away with blowing a big lead Sunday against Detroit. But last night in Washington, they paid the price with the loss of a valuable point.

The Leafs led the Capitals, 4-2, after two periods. They lost the game, 6-5 in overtime, on a goal by Alex Ovechkin.

Afterwards, Toronto coach Mike Babcock said he didn’t think his team collapsed. He thought it was a bad game from start to finish.

“I thought we were playing the same way the whole game: not good enough, not competitive enough, didn’t execute,” said Babcock. “They scored two goals in the third period on total D-zone breakdowns. All we’ve got to do is stop and talk to one another and execute. To me, that doesn’t have much to do with what time in the game it is, it has to do with doing your job. We weren’t good enough.”

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Leafs. It was also the sixth time this season that they’d lost a game in overtime after taking a lead into the third period. Their .650 winning percentage when leading after two periods is higher than only two teams, Detroit (.615) and Carolina (.588).

On the bright side, the Leafs still managed to move ahead of Tampa Bay into fourth place in the Atlantic Division.

“In lots of ways we got a point here tonight and getting a point on the road when you’re not very good doesn’t happen very often,” said Babcock.

Still, it was another disappointing loss after they’d put themselves into a position to win. Good teams know how to protect leads, and these young Leafs are still learning how.

Lightning blow a chance to move into a playoff spot

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With an opportunity to move into a playoff spot, the Tampa Bay Lightning stumbled last night, losing 6-4 at home to the Winnipeg Jets.

“We just didn’t defend,” head coach Jon Cooper said afterwards. “We thought about one net only and once you do that, that’s it for you. Next thing you know it’s 4-1, and that’s a long way to come back.

“It’s tough, too, in this league, to score four goals and lose. That’s tough, and we found a way to do that tonight. We let one slip through our fingers tonight.”

So instead of moving into third place in the Atlantic Division, the Lightning (19-16-4) actually fell into fifth, behind the Maple Leafs, who got a point in Washington.

Andrei Vasilevskiy allowed five goals on 33 shots against the Jets. Based on Cooper’s remarks, the loss was not the netminder’s fault. But Vasilevskiy’s save percentage fell to .914, which isn’t bad, but it’s not great either.

With Ben Bishop sidelined (lower-body injury), Vasilevskiy is getting an opportunity to show he can be a No. 1. And so far, it’s fair to say the results have been mixed for the 22-year-old.

Read more: Vasilevskiy to get ‘more games’ as Bolts look to future

Next up for the Lightning, the Nashville Predators pay a visit Thursday. That will be a battle of two teams that were expected to compete for a Stanley Cup this season, but are currently outside the playoff picture.