Horvat catches fire, just as Schneider arrives for visit

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They’re raving about Bo Horvat in Vancouver.

And in an interesting twist, they’re doing it just as New Jersey’s Cory Schneider, the goalie the Canucks traded to draft Horvat, is in town for a game Tuesday.

They’re also doing it just as Horvat, 19, is set to play his ninth NHL game, after which management will have to decide on keeping him, burning the first year of his entry-level contract in the process, or sending him back to junior.

Chances are, they’re going to keep him. After scoring his first NHL goal Thursday versus Anaheim, Horvat had three assists in last night’s 4-1 victory over Chicago. On top of that, he went 13 of 16 in the faceoff circle, with a few wins over one of the NHL’s best, Jonathan Toews.

“Believe it or not, that is my idol,” Horvat said of Toews, per the Vancouver Sun. “That’s the guy I want to model my game after, that’s the guy I watched growing up playing in the NHL. And to take a faceoff against him a couple of times and to be on the same sheet of ice as him, it’s pretty cool.”

Horvat has also drawn comparisons to Boston’s Patrice Bergeron. Considering the Canucks only recently traded Ryan Kesler — like Toews and Bergeron, a former Selke Trophy winner — the growing excitement in Vancouver about Horvat, though possibly a tad premature, is understandable.

“I wouldn’t believe he was 19 if I didn’t already know that,” linemate Derek Dorsett said. “The way he carries himself on and off the ice, it’s like he has played five or 10 years as a pro already.”

Video: Jagr’s blind assist is quite the sight

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When asked about “The Traveling Jagrs,” Jaromir Jagr had a simple comment: “They know who the man is.”

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell how often the New Jersey Devils forward is being facetious and how often that swagger is legitimate, but when you see the kind of plays he can still make at 42, maybe his bluster is justified.

Take this ridiculous no-look pass (which set up a Michael Cammalleri goal) from last night’s shootout loss against the Calgary Flames, for instance:

Yeah, that’s one of those “How did he do that?” plays.

While Jagr’s seemingly on a little bit of a slower pace in his second season with New Jersey, his 13 points still lead all Devils scorers. With 1,060 career assists, he’s currently ranked eighth all-time, just three behind Steve Yzerman for seventh in league history.

Goalie nods: Clemmensen’s first Devils start since 2009

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All the latest from the blue paint …

A long time coming

A fun nugget from the New Jersey Devils PR staff: this is Scott Clemmensen’s first start with the team since Feb. 21, 2009.

If you want to make an easy joke about Cory Schneider playing a team-record 20 straight games, that stat’s a great place to start. Of course, the truth is that Clemmensen left New Jersey to be a backup with the Florida Panthers before signing with the team once again this past summer. On the rare evenings that the Devils have rested Schneider, they’ve tried to groom Keith Kinkaid as a future backup with some NHL reps.

The 37-year-old actually has made two appearances so far in relief duty for the Devils, however, and it’s probably unfair to beat him up too much for his numbers (four goals allowed on 17 shots in about 37 minutes of game time over two evenings).

On the bright side, Clemmensen at least offers something Kinkaid doesn’t: experience. He may have a tired New Jersey bunch in front of him, as they beat the Edmonton Oilers last night.

Clemmensen faces Karri Ramo and the Calgary Flames tonight.

Elsewhere …

Blues at Senators: Brian Elliott vs. Robin Lehner

Canadiens at Bruins: Carey Price vs. (likely) Tuukka Rask

Red Wings at Maple Leafs: Jimmy Howard vs. Jonathan Bernier

Wild at Lightning: Darcy Kuemper vs. Ben Bishop

Penguins at Islanders: Thomas Greiss vs. Jaroslav Halak

Blue Jackets at Flyers: Nothing set yet, but probably Sergei Bobrovsky vs. Steve Mason

Sabres at Capitals: Jhonas Enroth vs. Braden Holtby

Panthers at Predators: Not confirmed, but lean toward Roberto Luongo vs. Pekka Rinne

Kings at Stars: Probably Jonathan Quick, almost definitely Kari Lehtonen

Hurricanes at Avalanche: Cam Ward (likely) vs. Reto Berra

Blackhawks at Oilers: Antti Raanta vs. Ben Scrivens

Coyotes at Sharks: Not certain, but expect Devan Dubnyk vs. Antti Niemi

Jagr gives his wig-wearing imitators a big thumbs up

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It doesn’t seem like New Jersey Devils forward Jaromir Jagr has any interest in hanging up his skates in the near future, which means many things … including more opportunities for a bunch of dudes to wear mullet wigs in his honor.

“The Traveling Jagrs” showed up in Edmonton on Friday, and as Eye on Hockey notes, they even had some “Mini Jagrs” on hand during New Jersey’s eventual win. The group has swelled to 11 different representations of the phases of the future Hall-of-Famer’s career:

The 42-year-old thinks his unusual fan club has remarkably good taste, as he told the Bergen Record’s Tom Gulitti.

(Jagr’s swagger is more fun to soak in when he’s in his “elder statesman who doesn’t draw much ire” phase, isn’t it?)

Here’s an older video of the roving band of faux-mulleted admirers:

Been there, done that: Oilers lose five straight for second time this season

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It’s entering the end of November, the National Hockey League season is transitioning through the quarter mark and the Edmonton Oilers are in the midst of their second five-game losing streak already.

On Friday, the Oilers were booed off the ice after a 2-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. Cory Schneider recorded the shutout with a 29-save performance in his 20th consecutive start, which reportedly breaks the club’s old record held by Martin Brodeur.

Goals from Adam Henrique and Tuomo Ruutu less than five minutes apart in the second period were enough for the Devils. Schneider, the workhorse, was solid.

Making matters worse for the Oilers was the loss of forward Benoit Pouliot, who suffered a broken foot blocking a shot and is now out indefinitely.

The Oilers are now at the end of a five-game home stand. It concludes Saturday against the Chicago Blackhawks, and that could mean even more pain for Edmonton’s fan base.

The Oilers have won only four times on home ice in 12 opportunities to date in the 2014-15 campaign. So yeah, you can understand the fans’ frustrations following yet another disappointing result.

And this once again had the Oilers searching for answers, but saying all the right things.

“What we can control is our desperation and our gamesmanship… The mistakes we made tonight simply can’t happen,” said Taylor Hall, as per the club’s Twitter account.

“That’s the problem with our group right now is that we can’t seem to get the full 60 (minutes),” said head coach Dallas Eakins.

“I don’t question – a lot of nights – their effort. I think that’s a very damning statement against a player, that a player in this league is going to show up and just not try.”