Mike Halford

NEWARK, NJ - DECEMBER 11: David Schlemko #8 of the New Jersey Devils trips up Dylan Larkin #71 of the Detroit Red Wings during the first period at the Prudential Center on December 11, 2015 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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After Devils rough up Larkin, Blashill says ‘we don’t want our young stars in the league getting targeted’

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On Tuesday night, Detroit head coach Jeff Blashill made some pointed comments in lobbying for protection for standout rookie Dylan Larkin.

“I think referees throughout the league have to know that young stars in the league, when they get targeted, they’ve got to make sure they do a good job of calling penalties, even if they’re close,” Blashill said, per MLive. “We don’t want our young stars in the league getting targeted and we don’t want lots of fighting anymore, so we better make sure we look after them a little bit that way.

“So if it’s close, let’s make sure we look after them.”

Blashill’s comments came after the Devils were physical with Larkin in their 4-3 win. Defenseman John Moore hit Larkin a couple of times, including one in the second period that sent the 19-year-old crashing into the boards:

Though Larkin still managed to score last night — his 13th goal of the year — the Moore hit sent him to the dressing room, part of the reason why he only received 16:48 TOI, his lowest total in the last nine games.

A few things to consider here:

— Listed at 6-foot-1, 190 pounds (perhaps a bit graciously), Larkin has decent size. One could actually argue his speed and dynamic skating ability play a bigger role in hazardous collisions than anything else, because the kid can flat-out fly.

— Detroit phased out the enforcer role during the Mike Babcock era, and Blashill doesn’t sound like he’s going to re-implement it anytime soon. “We don’t want lots of fighting,” he told MLive.

— Moore wasn’t penalized for the hit on Larkin. Fellow Devils d-man Damon Severson, who went after Larkin following the hit, was given a roughing penalty after Justin Abdelkader came in to Larkin’s aid.

— Abdelkader ended up getting an extra minor roughing penalty for jumping in, sending the Devils to the power play.

— After the game, Moore (who, according to the scoresheet, only had one registered hit on Larkin, the one that sent him crashing into the boards) had this to say, to NorthJersey.com:

“It’s a pretty innocent play that happens a lot of times through the course of the game. I thought maybe he kind of went limp there in an effort to maybe sell a call.

“I’m certainly not going to run a guy from behind. It’s more I was taking him into the wall. To me, it felt like he kind of went limp there and was trying to maybe sell something.”

Video: Parayko, Ovechkin, Spezza star in Goals of the Week

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A pretty good offering of tallies over the last seven days.

The Alex Ovechkin and Jason Spezza goals were nice and all but man, that move by Colton Parayko….

 

Devils chase Howard with three goals on six shots

jimmyhoward
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Jimmy Howard came into tonight’s action mired in a bit of a slump, having lost three games in a row.

Things didn’t get any better.

Howard lasted just over 14 minutes into Tuesday’s game against the Devils, getting hooked after allowing three goals on six shots — with all three goals coming in a span of just 2:12.

Kyle Palmieri got things going on the power play to make it 1-0 New Jersey and then, just 42 seconds later, Jordin Tootoo scored his third of the year to push the lead to two.

At the 14:17 mark, David Schlemko scored his third goal of the year — on an assist from Palmieri — to chase Howard for good. Petr Mrazek took over and with less than 90 seconds to go in the period, Dylan Larkin scored to make the score 3-1.

Despite Howard’s lack of wins lately, he’s actually posted pretty good numbers — a 2.49 GAA and .932 save percentage over the aforementioned three-game losing streak.

It’ll be interesting to see how — or, if — tonight’s performance affects his playing time moving forward.

WATCH LIVE: Montreal at Minnesota

Jason Zucker, Mikko Koivu, Ryan Suter

Tonight, the Canadiens and Wild will meet for the first time this season — you can catch all the action on TV (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN) or online using NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

The Habs come into tonight’s action mired in their worst slump of the year, having lost four straight while going 2-8-0 overall for the month of December.

A big part of the reason for that slide has been goaltending — or, lack thereof. Mike Condon and Dustin Tokarski have struggled to fill Carey Price‘s very large skates and, as a result, Montreal has slowly slid down the standings.

Minnesota’s had no such problem in goal.

Both Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper have been very good this year and, tonight, it’ll be Kuemper making the start. That should bode well for the Wild — Minnesota has at least one point in each game where Kuemper has a decision this season (3-0-4).

Last games

Montreal: Lost 5-1 in Nashville on Monday night, a game in which Condon was hooked in favor of Tokarski. Montreal’s one goal of offense marked the fourth straight game it has been held under two goals.

Minnesota: Lost 6-3 to Dallas on Monday night, a game in which the Wild led 2-0 after the first period, but were outscored 6-1 over the final 40 minutes.

Related:

Wild could be key players at the deadline

Therrien calls out goalies after fourth straight loss

 

Former Bruins first-rounder Caron to make Blues debut tonight — in Boston

Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens - Game Three
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Jordan Caron was taken by Boston with the 25th overall pick in 2009, and went on to play 134 games for the team over a five-year span.

Since getting traded in March, Caron has spent time with the Colorado Avalanche, the AHL’s Chicago Wolves and now, the St. Louis Blues — and tonight, Caron will make his St. Louis debut in a familiar place:

TD Garden.

“We really liked him (in training camp),” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Caron, per the Post-Dispatch. “We really liked his strength on the puck. He had a slow start but he’s played great down there lately.

“He deserves a chance to play.”

Caron, 25, was the subject of heavy criticism during his time in Boston, failing to secure a regular place in the lineup despite several chances to do so. After an equally troubling stint with the Avs — Caron went pointless in 19 games last year — there were serious questions about his ability to stick at the NHL level.

But a strong showing with the Wolves has turned things around.

Caron has a team-high nine goals and 14 points through 25 games this year. Tonight, he’ll take Scott Gomez‘s spot in the lineup as the Blues look to rebound from Monday’s loss 4-3 loss in Philly, a game St. Louis led 3-0 after 30 minutes.