Jason Brough

Video: Flames win their eighth overtime game of the season

The Calgary Flames did it again last night. They won a game in overtime.

This time, their 3-on-3 victims were the Nashville Predators. The winning goal was scored by Kris Russell, on a pass by — who else? — Johnny Gaudreau.

According to the Calgary Herald, Gaudreau now has three goals and four assists in overtime this season.

Another amazing statistic? The Flames (14-14-2) have the most overtime/shootout victories in the NHL (nine), and the fewest regulation victories (five).

“These games, we don’t want them to go into overtime as much,” Gaudreau told the Herald. “If we start scoring on the power play, we might start winning in regulation.”

Calgary has the worst power play in the league.

Also, the worst penalty killing.

And so, just like last year, there are those who maintain the Flames’ winning ways can’t possibly continue.

But just like last year, it’ll be fun to see if the Flames can prove those people wrong.

Calgary’s next game is Thursday in Dallas.

Related: Flames not counting on last year’s magic to continue

‘Sign Stamkos’ signs are being handed out tonight in Toronto

Stamkos sign
@erlendssonTBO on Twitter

Update: It turns out people with said signs might not be allowed into the building, according to The Fourth Period’s David Pagnotta.

(Picture courtesy Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune.)

So apparently those signs are being handed out ahead of tonight’s game at Air Canada Centre between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning.

TSN 1050 is a sports radio station in Toronto. It is owned by Bell Media, which is a subsidiary of Bell Canada, which has a stake in Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Leafs.

So fire up those conspiracy theories!

Some related reading:

— Could the Lightning lose Stamkos for nothing?

— Get ready for the Stamkos ‘circus’ in Toronto on Tuesday

— Steven Stamkos ‘liked’ a tweet about joining the Leafs, and now it’s a thing

McCann’s frustrations illustrate ‘fine line’ Canucks are trying to walk

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Back in October, before the Vancouver Canucks had officially decided to hold on to Jared McCann, head coach Willie Desjardins was asked to identify his “biggest worry” in keeping the 19-year-old center versus sending him back to junior.

“The biggest worry is that down the road he gets worn down and the league gets hard for him and he loses his confidence,” said Desjardins.

At the time, confidence was no issue. McCann had four goals in seven games. He was riding high.

Since then, he has two in 22.

In his last 12, he has none.

Which is to say, the league has become rather hard for him.

“There have definitely been some tough nights with sleeping and it’s never easy,” McCann told The Province Monday. “I know I can play better. I’m over-thinking things and always trying to be perfect. I’ve got to get back to the way I’ve always played. Not taking anything for granted — and when I get chances, bury them.”

Now, this isn’t to suggest the Canucks made the wrong call here. It’s not like McCann has been totally lost out there; he may not be scoring, but he’s held his own defensively. In fact, Desjardins believes that McCann is “better now than he was early.”

Nor is it like the Canucks have any better options at center, which is why McCann isn’t expected to be released to play for Canada at the World Juniors, unlike his teammate, Jake Virtanen.

But this is the “fine line” Vancouver is walking, as it tries to stay competitive and develop youngsters at the same time.

“We want to draft and develop well, but we want our young kids to learn how to play in a winning environment, so they learn the right way to play,” GM Jim Benning said in April. 

The only problem there is that the Canucks haven’t been winning, and McCann is feeling the pressure as his production wanes and the team’s losses pile up.

All part of the process for a young player? Yeah, probably. McCann is finding out how good the NHL really is. Nobody said it was supposed to be easy.

At the same time, this is clearly a kid who puts a ton of pressure on himself, possibly to his own detriment.

“I’m really grateful being part of this organization and being here, because they put a lot of faith in me and others didn’t in the past,” McCann said. “I feel like I owe them, and I don’t want to let anybody down.”

The Canucks have a lot of problems, but somebody may want to tell McCann that he isn’t one of them.

Coyotes’ Smith out 8-10 weeks following surgery


A season that started out with such promise has turned in a bad way for Arizona goalie Mike Smith.

Smith is expected to miss 8-10 weeks after having surgery to repair a “a core muscle injury,” the Coyotes announced today.

You may recall that Smith went 3-0-0 in his first three starts, allowing just two goals on 106 shots. Alas, his save percentage has since fallen to .901, and now he’s facing a lengthy recovery process.

Starting duties will now presumably fall to Anders Lindback, whose numbers haven’t been very good either. The Coyotes also have Louis Domingue on their active roster, but the 23-year-old has yet to see any NHL game action this season.

Arizona’s next game is Thursday versus Columbus.

The good news for the Coyotes — and they could sure use some, after just one win in their last seven — is that center Martin Hanzal may be close to returning from his injury.

Related: Coyotes say they’re ‘married’ to struggling Smith

Streaking Oilers know they stole one in Boston

The Edmonton Oilers will take two points anyway they can get them. Any NHL team would.

But coach Todd McLellan isn’t going to pretend that the Oilers’ sixth straight win was fully deserved.

“The wins are what it’s about, but I’m still about how we perform and get things done,” he said after last night’s 3-2 overtime victory in Boston.

“We defended most of the night, got a win and I’m happy for the guys in there but I’m not naive enough to think we were the better team tonight.”

That being said, every once in a while there’s nothing wrong with your goalie stealing you one, which Cam Talbot most certainly did. The Oilers led 2-0 after one. They were then outshot 38-10 in the second and third, as the Bruins tried to crack their shell.

Edmonton has actually been getting solid goaltending for the last few weeks, mostly thanks to Anders Nilsson. Funny how those two things go together so often, good goaltending and winning. Almost like it’s the most important position in hockey.

Next up for the Oilers? The Rangers, tonight at MSG, where New York will be looking to avenge Friday’s 7-5 loss in Edmonton.

“There’s no doubt that [Edmonton] right now is on a roll,” Rangers coach Alain Vigneault told NHL.com. “We’re going to have to be at our best right now. This team right now is one of the better teams in the league and we’re going to have to be real good.”

Related: All of a sudden the Rangers are a ‘disaster in the making’