Riding the Zamboni – Wednesday, December 1st

Edmonton 4 – Montreal 3 (F/OT)

Some nights a loss is worse than normal. The Habs went into the third period of this game with a 3-1 lead on Edmonton and playing great. The foot came off the gas pedal and the Oilers took advantage. Ales Hemsky and Sam Gagner scored in the final ten minutes of the game to send it to overtime. There, Dustin Penner won it on a breakaway goal after a brutal turnover by Mike Cammalleri. Both Cammalleri and P.K. Subban were instrumental in Edmonton’s final two goals. The win is Edmonton’s second in a row, their first two-game win streak since the first two games of the year. For Montreal, it serves to be a lesson that sometimes playing it safe means death.

Boston 3 – Philadelphia 0

Tim Thomas had himself a hell of a night. Thomas had 41 saves in what turned out to be his fifth shutout of the year. Patrice Bergeron, Tyler Seguin, and Milan Lucic had the goals for Boston as they got a little bit of payback on the Flyers after they ousted Boston last season. Sergei Bobrovsky made 29 saves for Philly in the loss.

Nashville 4 – Columbus 3 (F/SO)

Who knew that these division rivals would have a barn burner of a game? While Antoine Vermette had two goals for Columbus, it would be Steve Sullivan and his ridiculous deke in the shootout that would win the day for Nashville.

Washington 4 – St. Louis 1

What do you get with a rested Caps team and a Blues team that lost a 7-5 slugfest last night? A tired Blues team getting skated off the ice. Nicklas Backstrom had two goals and an assist for the Caps while Semyon Varlamov had a busy night stopping 37 shots for the win. Don’t let the shot total fool you, Washington was in control of the game but still, a stellar effort out of the young goalie to get it done. Alex Steen had the lone goal for St. Louis.

Phoenix 4 – Minnesota 2

The Wild drop another one but it wasn’t without trying. Coyotes goalie Jason LaBarbera made life on the Wild difficult stopping 33 shots in the win. Scottie Upshall scored twice for Phoenix to lead the way. For Minnesota, it seems like piling on because any mistake the team makes ends up in the back of the net and now it’s the team leaders that are making the mistakes. For Phoenix, the win snaps a two game skid while the Wild have now lost three in a row. Pierre-Marc Bouchard played 14:05 in his first game back in over a year and had no points and finished a -2 on the night.

Vancouver 7 – Calgary 2

Things got out of hand fast in Calgary for the Flames and by the time it was over, Mason Raymond finished with a hat trick and an assist while Jeff Tambellini had a goal and an assist. Daniel Sedin scored his 14th goal of the year while Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin each added two assists. For Calgary, the inconsistency continues while Vancouver looks like they’re starting to figure things out.

Anaheim 5 – Florida 3

This game was one of miracles. Ducks enforcer George Parros finished the game with more goals than fights (two goals, one fight). Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry each had a goal and an assist as well for Anaheim who stays hot. Meanwhile the Florida Panthers snapped their horrendous power play inefficiency streak and piled on by scoring twice with the man advantage, each time by Steve Bernier. Bernier finished the game with three points earning an assist on Mike Santorelli’s goal in the second period.

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    Maple Leafs’ Matthews out at least 3 weeks with knee injury

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    Nick Turchiaro/USA TODAY Sports
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    Toronto Maple Leafs center Auston Matthews will miss at least three weeks with a sprained knee.

    The team announced the reigning MVP’s anticipated absence Friday, two days after Matthews was injured in Toronto’s victory against the New York Rangers.

    Matthews is expected to miss at least six games and could be out for a few more. The timing of the injury coinciding with the NHL All-Star break and the Maple Leafs bye week prevents this from costing Matthews more time out of the lineup.

    After being voted an All-Star by fans, Matthews is now out of the event scheduled for Feb. 3-4 in Sunrise, Florida. The league announced Aleskander Barkov from the host Florida Panthers will take Matthews’ place on the Atlantic Division All-Star roster.

    Matthews, who won the Hart Trophy last season after leading the NHL with 60 goals, has 53 points in 47 games this season.

    Caufield opted for surgery with Habs out of playoff race

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    David Kirouac/USA TODAY Sports
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    MONTREAL — Montreal Canadiens winger Cole Caufield said Friday he wouldn’t be having season-ending surgery on his right shoulder if the team were in playoff contention.

    But with the Canadiens near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the 22-year-old Caufield said he decided to have the surgery to protect his long-term health. The procedure is scheduled to be performed by Dr. Peter Millett on Wednesday.

    “I didn’t want to stop playing,” Caufield said. “I had a couple tests done to look at it more clearly but, in the end, like it could’ve been one more fall and it could have been even worse.”

    Caufield, who leads the Canadiens with 26 goals in 46 games, had three different medical opinions on his shoulder before concluding that his season was over.

    “I think they’ve seen a lot more than I have and they know the differences and what they like or don’t like about it,” he said about the medical opinions. “Long term, I think this is what’s best but for sure it was tough to sit out that game against Toronto on Saturday night.”

    Caufield initially felt the injury in an awkward fall during Montreal’s 4-2 loss at Dallas on Dec. 23. He said his right shoulder popped, and he replaced it himself.

    Caufield felt it again in the Habs’ 4-3 loss at Nashville on Jan. 12. The club announced on Jan. 21 that Caufield would miss the rest of the season.

    Caufield is nearing the end of his three-year, entry-level contract and will be a restricted free agent this summer.

    All-Star Matty Beniers to miss next 2 games for Kraken

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    Joe Nicholson/USA TODAY Sports
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    SEATTLE — Seattle Kraken rookie All-Star Matty Beniers will miss the team’s final two games before the All-Star break after taking a big hit from Vancouver’s Tyler Myers earlier this week.

    Seattle coach Dave Hakstol said after morning skate Friday that Beniers would not play Friday night against Calgary or Saturday against Columbus. Hakstol did not speculate on Beniers’ availability for next weekend’s All-Star Game in Florida.

    The team has not specified what kind of injury Beniers sustained from the hit. He was barreled over by Myers away from the play early in the second period in Wednesday’s 6-1 victory over Vancouver. Myers was penalized for interference on the play. Beniers returned briefly for one shift later in the period but did not play in the third period.

    Beniers is Seattle’s lone All-Star selection this season. He leads all rookies in goals (17) and points (36), and is fifth in total ice time for rookies.

    Seattle also placed defenseman Justin Schultz on injured reserve and recalled forward Max McCormick from Coachella Valley of the AHL. Hakstol said Schultz is improving but there’s no timeline on his return.

    Kuzmenko signs 2-year extension with Canucks

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    Bob Frid/USA TODAY Sports
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    VANCOUVER, British Columbia — Forward Andrei Kuzmenko signed a two-year contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday.

    The deal has an average annual value of $5.5 million.

    The 26-year-old Kuzmenko has played in 47 games for the Canucks this season with 21 goals and 22 assists, four penalty minutes and a plus-4 defensive ranking.

    Kuzmenko ranks second on the team in goals and power-play goals (nine) this season.

    His 43 points are also tied for third on the team in overall scoring, while his 32 even-strength points (12 goals, 20 assists) are second on the Canucks.

    Kuzmenko leads all Vancouver skaters in shooting rate (24.7%) and ranks third in the NHL in that category (minimum of 20 games).

    He leads all first-year NHLers in almost every offensive category, including goals, assists, points, points per game (0.91), power-play goals, and power-play points.

    He has also had 14 multi-point games so far this season (second most on the Canucks), highlighted by his first-career NHL hat trick and season-high four-point game against Anaheim on Nov. 3.

    A native of Yakutsk, Russia, Kuzmenko spent his first eight professional seasons in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg, getting 200 points (85-115-200) in 315 regular-season games. He set career highs in goals (20), assists (33), and points (53) last season, ranking second in the league in scoring.

    Kuzmenko has also represented his country on the international stage on multiple occasions, totaling 16 points (10-6-16) and six penalty minutes in 37 games played. He was originally signed by Vancouver to a one-year, entry-level contract on July 13, 2022.