Author: Mike Halford

Alex Khokhlachev, David Pastrnak, Torey Krug

Hello, Koko: Bruins recall AHL scoring leader Khokhlachev

9 Comments

The rich are getting richer in Boston.

The Bruins, boasting the NHL’s best offense at 3.90 goals per game, have recalled Alexander Khokhlachev — the top scorer in the American League — from their minor-league affiliate in Providence.

Khokhlachev, 22, has four goals and 13 points in 10 games for the P-Bruins this season, which came after he failed to crack the Boston lineup out of training camp.

Which, it turned out, became a bit of a story.

The talented Russian basically told the Bruins to give him a shot, saying he’s “been waiting two years,” and “I won’t play in Providence all my life.”

Not long after those remarks, reports surfaced that SKA St. Petersburg — the team that holds Khokhlachev’s KHL rights — was “closely following” the situation in Boston.

Eventually, Koko’s agent put any potential controversy to bed by explaining his client wanted to stay with the Bruins organization. Khokhlachev then proceeded to tear up the AHL through 10 games, further suggesting he’s more focused on making the NHL rather than pouting about his current situation.

It’ll be interesting to see where Khokhlachev now fits in Boston. The offense is rolling right now, led by the in-form David Krejci, and there aren’t any injuries up front that would provide an opportunity.

The B’s take on Dallas tonight at TD Garden.

UPDATE: Well, looks like Koko might be getting a pretty big shot, should he play tonight against the Stars…

Turns out Pastrnak is dealing with a foot injury.

Hakstol: ‘We’re not happy. These aren’t easy times’

26 Comments

The Philadelphia Flyers lost 4-1 in Vancouver on Monday — their fourth straight defeat, and third game in a row with just a single goal of offense.

Needless to say, head coach Dave Hakstol knows it’s not good enough.

“We’re gonna stay with it,” Hakstol said following tonight’s defeat. “This group’s gonna stay. But we’re not happy. These aren’t easy times, but the group will stay together and keep working hard.”

With just 21 goals through 11 games, Philadelphia now owns the NHL’s second-worst offense. Only Anaheim has scored less. It’s a notable decline from a Flyers team that scored 2.59 goals per season last year and had two of the NHL’s best scorers in Jakub Voracek (81 points) and Claude Giroux (73).

What a difference a season makes.

Voracek’s been mired in a slump all year long — he’s still without a goal — while Giroux hasn’t been his usual productive self, tonight’s pretty solo marker notwithstanding.

Yet to hear Giroux explain it, the Flyers are playing well enough and producing enough chances — even if the end result doesn’t show it.

“We generated a lot of offense,” Giroux said. “We played the way we wanted to play. Obviously we have a lot of things to work on, but the score doesn’t show how much better we played.”

The captain’s comments might raise some eyebrows, especially given how stagnant the offense has looked.

But if there’s a silver lining for Philly, it’s that both Giroux and Hackstol are finding positives in a sea of negativity.

Or maybe they’re fishing for them?

“You guys might not see it from the outside,” Hackstol said. “But I see a lot of things in our end in terms of playing the rush, breaking pucks out.

“A lot of things that we’re doing better.”

Video: Virtanen scores first NHL goal, also on terrific solo effort

5 Comments

Guess the Canucks didn’t want to be shown up in their own rink.

Specifically, Jake Virtanen.

After Claude Giroux scored on a pretty solo effort early in the second period of tonight’s game, the Canucks rookie replied with a great individual effort of his own for the first goal of his NHL career.

Virtanen, 19, was Vancouver’s first-round pick (sixth overall) at the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Over the weekend, he and fellow rookie Jared McCann, the 24th overall pick in ’14, were informed they’d be spending the year with the Canucks, rather than be returned to their respective junior clubs.

In his first game since learning he’d be sticking around, Virtanen scored a beauty goal.

Not a bad week — and it’s only Monday.

Video: Giroux scores on terrific solo effort

It hasn’t exactly been the offensive explosion the Flyers were hoping for, but they did get a pretty nice goal on Monday night in Vancouver.

Captain Claude Giroux scored a highlight-reel marker early in the second period, fighting off Canucks d-man Matt Bartkowski to score just his fourth goal of the year.

The goal was Philly’s third in its last three games, and first by a forward. Mark Streit scored in a 3-1 loss to Buffalo, and Luke Schenn scored in a 4-1 defeat to New Jersey.

Giroux’s tally briefly evened tonight’s game at 1-1, only for Vancouver to go ahead shortly thereafter. Sophomore Bo Horvat scored his second of the year at the 10:10 mark for the 2-1 lead. Horvat had previously assisted on Jannik Hansen‘s opener.

‘Hawks catch fire in third, snap Kings’ seven-game winning streak

Jonathan Toews, Ryan Garbutt, Erik Gustafsson, Jonathan Quick
10 Comments

Looks like Chicago’s offense is finding it’s groove.

Buoyed by some new-look lines and a stellar outing from Corey Crawford, the ‘Hawks dispatched of Los Angeles 4-2 on Monday at the United Center, snapping a two-game losing streak while halting the Kings’ win streak at seven.

Prior to tonight’s game, Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville fired up the ol’ line blender and moved Artemi Panarin to the top unit alongside Jonathan Toews and Ryan Garbutt. That gave Teuvo Teravainen the chance to take Panarin’s spot on the Patrick KaneArtem Anisimov line.

The moves paid off.

Toews, Anisimov and Kane all finished with two points, while Teravainen scored the game-winner midway through the third. Panarin and Garbutt both added assists.

Then there was Crawford.

The veteran netminder continued his solid start to the season with a 33-save effort, 19 of those coming in a hectic third period in which the Kings out-shot the Blackhawks by seven, but couldn’t beat “Crow.”

Speaking of those Kings, they’ll likely be disappointed by tonight’s result, regardless of all their success of late. They had a fairly wide advantage in shots — 35 to Chicago’s 26 — and held a one-goal lead going into the final period, before Chicago exploded for three goals.

Alec Martinez and Anze Kopitar scored for L.A., while Jake Muzzin finished with a pair of assists. Jonathan Quick stopped 22 shots in the loss.