Author: Jason Brough

Zach Bogosian, Matt Niskanen

Bogosian feels ‘ready to go’ for Sabres

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Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian should be back in the lineup “sometime this week,” according to head coach Dan Bylsma.

And if it were up to Bogosian, it would be tomorrow at home versus Dallas.

“I’m not going to sit here and say I’m in,” he told John Vogl of the Buffalo News. “That’s up to coach, but I feel like I’m ready to go.”

Bogosian has been sidelined all year with a lower-body injury. This morning at practice, he was skating on the second pairing with Jake McCabe:

If it’s not tomorrow versus Dallas, Bogosian’s next chance to play would be Thursday in St. Louis.

Bogosian logged big minutes for the Sabres last season after being traded from Winnipeg. Three times he surpassed 30 minutes of ice time in a game. This season, his return could be a boon for a team that’s already enjoying some success. Buffalo is 6-2-1 in its last nine games.

Related: Comeback close for Bogosian?

Duchene, Zuccarello and Reimer are NHL’s three stars of the week

Matt Duchene

Avalanche center Matt Duchene, Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello and Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

From NHL.com:

Duchene led the NHL with four goals and eight points – including three multi-point performances in as many outings – to help the Avalanche (7-9-1, 15 points) begin their season-long, seven-game road trip with a 3-0-0 record.

Zuccarello paced the NHL with five assists and ranked second with seven points in four outings to help the League-leading Rangers (14-2-2, 30 points) extend their winning streak to nine games and point streak to 13 contests (11-0-2).

Reimer went 3-0-0 with a 1.62 goals-against average and .952 save percentage to backstop the Maple Leafs (5-9-4, 14 points) to three wins in four games.

Not a bad response to those trade rumors, eh?

Related: Duchene ‘hopeful’ that he’ll stay with Avs

This year’s Calgary? Maybe it’s New Jersey

Sergey Kalinin, Cory Schneider
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Every year it seems there’s one team that wins in spite of its lineup and underlying statistics.

Last year, that team was Calgary. The year before, Colorado. The year before that, Toronto.

This year? The early candidate is New Jersey. The Devils are 10-6-1 after 17 games. They shut out the Penguins, 4-0, on Saturday.

“I think our work ethic has been there, and it’s been nice to be rewarded in some ways,” forward Travis Zajac told the New York Times. “That’s been a positive for us. Because of that work ethic, we’re in games, and we’re winning games.”

Nobody expected much from the Devils in 2015-16. This was supposed to be a transition season, from the Lou Lamoriello era to the Ray Shero one. If there was an expectation, it was to get in the draft lottery and add a much-needed blue-chip prospect, to go with sixth overall pick in 2015, Pavel Zacha.

And that could still be how it goes. The Devils have been winning games, but they’ve been far from dominant overall. Their special teams have been good. So has their goaltending, particularly starter Cory Schneider, who’s 9-4-1 with a .928 save percentage. Mike Cammalleri has 17 points in 17 games. Kyle Palmieri and Lee Stempniak each have 14 points. In one-goal games, the Devils are 7-1-1. All of which is to say, it may not be sustainable.

At the same time, that win over Pittsburgh was sure impressive.

“This was an important game for everyone,” Schneider told the Associated Press. “It’s great when everyone gets involved. It’s a lot of fun.”

The Devils kick off a three-game road trip Tuesday in Calgary.

Special teams have been killing the Canucks

Ryan Miller
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The power play has just two goals on its last 22 attempts, with three shorthanded goals against.

The penalty kill has been even worse — eight goals surrendered on 23 tries.

Otherwise, the Vancouver Canucks haven’t been that bad.

“This trip especially we’ve hurt ourselves with our specialty teams play, and usually that’s one of our strengths,” coach Willie Desjardins told the Canadian Press. “We have to get back on it. Both groups have to get back in a groove.”

The Canucks have two games left on their seven-city trip. They’re 1-3-1 so far, with Montreal tonight and Winnipeg Wednesday.

“Our penalty kill hasn’t been good enough and obviously our power play hasn’t been good enough either,” forward Bo Horvat told the Vancouver Sun. “We’re not getting the bounces right now. I don’t think we’re playing bad hockey.”

Horvat has been having a tough time, the 20-year-old NHL sophomore being asked to do a lot more than he was as a rookie. He was a minus-2 in Saturday’s 4-2 loss to the Leafs.

Similarly, goalie Ryan Miller had another frustrating outing in Toronto, and one has to wonder if the 35-year-old has been overworked. No netminder in the entire league has played more than he has.

Backup Jacob Markstrom, who’s only started once due to injury, will get the nod against the Habs, while winger Hunter Shinkaruk will play his first NHL game, replacing Alex Burrows, who’s returned to Vancouver for the birth of his child.

Maurice puts positive spin on Jets’ slump

Alexander Burmistrov
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Even after a 7-0 loss Saturday in Nashville, Jets head coach Paul Maurice attempted to put a positive spin on his team’s five-game winless streak.

“Finding that confidence when you’re not feeling it, finding a way to fight through that is a great test for the leadership and for our youth,” Maurice told the Winnipeg Free Press. “But it’s one of these things you can draw on. You can learn it and learn how to get through it and how to build confidence when you’re not feeling it.”

The Jets will get another “great test” tonight in St. Louis, where they’ll face a Blues team that Maurice likens to “Nashville, but with probably more skill up front.”

Winnipeg has given up 23 goals in its last five games. Its goal differential on the season has fallen to minus-11, by far the worst in the Central Division.

Related: The Jets are still taking too many penalties