Tough times in Tampa Bay.
The Lightning could only muster one goal on Thursday night against Colorado, dropping a 2-1 decision for their third straight loss and sixth in their last eight.
The Bolts came into tonight’s action having been shut out in consecutive contests, to the Blackhawks and Blues. While tonight’s goal was a welcome development — Alex Killorn scored on the power play — the lack of overall offense continues to be a major concern. Tyler Johnson is still without a goal this season while the likes of Valtteri Filppula and Jonathan Drouin have just one each.
Steve Stamkos hasn’t scored in four games. Neither has Nikita Kucherov. Neither has Ryan Callahan.
What’s more, the Bolts failed to get their offense back on track against a Colorado team that’d lost four straight, and has been pretty leaky of late.
The Avs surrendered eight goals in their last two games, to the Blue Jackets and Panthers. They also gave struggling Semyon Varlamov the start this evening — he came in with a 3.93 GAA and .889 save percentage — but the Russian ‘tender responded with a stellar outing, stopping 34 of 35 shots.
As for the rest of the Avs, Alex Tanguay and Nathan MacKinnon scored the goals, while Jarome Iginla picked up two assists.
That put Iginla at 1,233 points for his career, moving him past Hall of Famer Phil Housley for 38th on NHL’s all-time scoring list.
Dan Bylsma’s return to Pittsburgh started nicely enough.
But it didn’t end well.
Disco Dan’s old team handled his new one on Thursday night, as the Penguins “exploded” on offense to beat the Sabres 4-3 at Consol.
By “exploded,” we’re talking in terms relative to the Penguins, who came into tonight with the NHL’s 29th-ranked offense (1.78 goals per game). The fireworks were led by captain Sidney Crosby, who broke out of a lengthy scoring slump with a pair of assists for just his second multi-point outing of the year.
Crosby set up linemates Pascal Dupuis and Patric Hornqvist for their first goals of the season, in an entertaining opening period that saw the teams combine for four goals and 22 shots on net.
Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin also scored — Malkin with the game-winner — as the Pens notched their third straight victory. Jeff Zatkoff, making his first start of the year, posted a whopping 50-save effort.
As for the Sabres, they’ll probably look back on this one with a bit of regret. Though they came into the game undermanned and made Tyler Ennis a late scratch (lower body), they still dominated the flow of play for large stretches and — as Zatkoff’s save total suggests — badly out-shot the Penguins, to the tune of 53-29.
Buffalo also wasted good offensive outings from Ryan O'Reilly (1G, 1A) and Rasmus Ristolainen (2A).
Lucky number seven.
Prior to tonight, there had been six penalty shots taken in the NHL this season — none of them successful. So it was fitting that on the seventh of the season, Vancouver’s Alex Burrows made good, beating Dallas’ Antti Niemi to give the Canucks an early 1-0 lead.
The penalty shot was Vancouver’s first of the season, and the first in a long time as the club wasn’t awarded one during the ’14-15 campaign. It was also the first successful attempt of Burrows’ career, having gone 0-for-4 on his previous efforts.
Oh, and in case you’re curious? The six missed attempts league-wide this season came from John Tavares, Claude Giroux, Patrick Marleau, Mikhail Grabovski, Scott Laughton and Rick Nash.
On the same day Winnipeg was set to host the Chicago Blackhawks, True North Sports and Entertainment — the Manitoba-based company that owns the Jets — released the following statement:
For those concerned, after discussions with Aboriginal leaders in our province TNSE been determined it will no longer allow costume or non-authentic Aboriginal headdresses into MTS Centre for hockey events going forward.
The call to ban fake headdresses came after a Jets season ticket holder filed a complaint with TNSE. Per CBC, the company initially said they wouldn’t stop people from wearing them, instead opting to “make them fully aware of the ramifications of wearing that and the cultural ramifications of it.”
TSNE then reconsidered its stance and, earlier this evening, made the decision to no longer allow the fake headdresses.
“Given the attention the issue is getting today, it’s probably one that we wanted to have a clear understanding of.”
[TSNE director of corporate communications Scott] Brown says the move comes after owner Mark Chipman met with prominent indigenous leaders, including Assembly of Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Nepinak and MLA Kevin Chief.
“After gaining probably a better understanding of that significance we have decided that going forward we will no longer be allowing costume and non-authentic headdresses into MTS Centre for hockey events,” he said.
Per Brown, no other NHL arena has a policy “which would ban something like the headdress.”
Winnipeg and the province of Manitoba have a large indigenous demographic. According to the Canadian Census, roughly 13 percent of the population identified itself as Aboriginal.
The Flames’ crease conundrum took another turn on Thursday evening, as the club announced Karri Ramo has been recalled from AHL Stockton — just one week after placing him on waivers.
The move all but confirms Jonas Hiller will miss time after getting hurt during Wednesday’s 5-4 shootout loss to Ottawa. Hiller left the game at 12:20 of the third period following collision with Bobby Ryan, and was replaced by Joni Ortio.
After the game, coach Bob Hartley said Hiller sustained a lower-body injury.
The Swiss netminder hadn’t been especially sharp prior to getting hurt, allowing four goals on 18 shots. Of course, goalies not being especially sharp has been a theme for Calgary this year.
The club sits tied for 29th in save percentage (.871) and has now pulled its netminder in three of its last five games (granted, the latest Hiller hook was due to injury).