Riding the Zamboni – Friday, January 14th

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Vancouver 4 – Washington 2

In what some were calling a potential Stanley Cup finals showdown, the Canucks showed the Caps what they’re all about. Daniel Sedin scored two goals while Christian Ehrhoff and Alex Edler each had a goal and an assist to lead the Canucks to victory. Roberto Luongo stopped 25 shots in the win. For Washington, they were still without Alex Semin and Alex Ovechkin was held without a point. Matt Hendricks and Marcus Johansson scored for Washington who continue their recent struggles dropping their third in a row. Semyon Varlamov stopped 31 shots in the loss.

Philadelphia 5 – Atlanta 2

The Flyers rebounded nicely after a brutal loss against Boston last night pouring five goals on Ondrej Pavelec and the Thrashers. Claude Giroux and Jeff Carter each had a goal and an assist and Sergei Bobrovsky got back on the winning side stopping 27 shots. Pavelec had a tough night dealing with the Flyers in the third period as they scored three goals late (including an empty netter) to ice the game. Pavelec made 31 saves in the loss. Daniel Briere scored his 24th goal of the season for Philly. Flyer fans are still wondering if his All-Star invitation got lost in the mail.

New Jersey 5 – Tampa Bay 2

Right when we get all excited about the Lightning and Dwayne Roloson they go and lose to the basement dwelling Devils in ugly fashion. Roloson started but didn’t finish the game after giving up four goals in the first period. Ilya Kovalchuk scored twice for New Jersey giving him 12 on the season. Brian Rolston and Travis Zajac each had a goal and an assist for the Devils who won their first road game since November 3rd snapping a streak of 11 straight road losses. At least Tampa Bay got a goal and an assist each from Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis with St. Louis’ goal being of the highlight variety. Still, a frustrating outcome for Tampa Bay in that they could’ve put some distance between themselves and their Southeast Division foes who lost tonight.

Columbus 3 – Detroit 2 (F/SO)

It was a heart-warming win for the Blue Jackets as their home win over Detroit was able to snap a string of five losses in a row and was able to make money for charity. Blue Jackets fans put up over $5000 for their “Money on the Board” fundraiser and with the win, the Jackets team is matching their output to give money to the Blue Jackets Foundation. The Jackets got the win in the shootout after Antoine Vermette was able to beat Joey MacDonald. MacDonald got into the game because Jimmy Howard left in the first period with a bruised knee.

It was a rough game for Detroit as they found out after it was over that Tomas Holmstrom broke his hand and will be out indefinitely. Detroit will have to bounce back fast as they’ll play the Jackets again tomorrow night.  Grant Clitsome and Jakub Voracek scored for Columbus while Drew Miller and Jiri Hudler scored for Detroit. Steve Mason stopped 26 shots in the win.

Colorado 4 – Minnesota 1

With the Wild having health issues with their goalies, Anton Khudobin was called up and tasked with the job of having to stop one of the league’s top offenses. After two periods, it was clear that wouldn’t happen as the Avalanche jumped out to a 3-0 lead and the Wild left the ice to a chorus of boos. The Avalanche got stellar goaltending out of Craig Anderson for the first time in a long time as Anderson stopped 32 shots in the win. Khudobin, on the other hand, stopped just 14 shots and gave up an embarrassing goal in the second period to Tomas Fleischmann on an innocent dump in.

The game was marred by an ugly incident involving Ryan O’Reilly as he lost an edge and crashed head first into the boards. He was taken from the ice on a stretcher and taken to the hospital for observation. Good news for him, however, as he flew home with the team to Denver.

Calgary 3 – Ottawa 2

Don’t let the score fool you, this game wasn’t exactly close. The Flames got two goals from David Moss and a third goal from Ales Kotalik to ice the Senators in the second period. Henrik Karlsson made it stand up with 33 saves on the night. The Senators made it close in the third with goals from Nick Foligno and Milan Michalek, but Michalek’s goal came with under a minute to go and the Senators already skating uphill to get back in it.

For Ottawa it’s an especially poor effort coming off their win over the Islanders to snap their losing streak. It’s apparently a poor enough effort to get the Ottawa Sun to call for coach Cory Clouston to be fired for starting Brian Elliott tonight instead of 19 year-old rookie Robin Lehner.

Obscure penalty call against Tarasenko continued Blues’ weird rules week

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Thanks to Ryan O'Reilly‘s shorthanded goal in overtime on Friday night the St. Louis Blues were able to win consecutive games for just the third time this season. A shorthanded goal in overtime is always noteworthy just because of the circumstances, especially when it lifts a team that has been struggling all season.

What made this one so fascinating for the Blues is why they were shorthanded in the first place.

Just 1:31 into the overtime period Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko was whistled for using an illegal stick when he picked up a stick that originally belonged to defenseman Colton Parayko. There is nothing in the rule book against using a teammates stick (it is actually quite common when a defender loses or breaks their stick during the flow of the game) with one large exception — when your teammate is so tall that they have been given an exception by the league to use an oversized stick.

That is the case for the 6’6″ Parayko.

Via NHL rule 10.1

No stick shall exceed sixty-three inches (63″) in length from the heel to the end of the shaft nor more than twelve and one-half inches (121/2″) from the heel to the end of the blade.

Requests for an exception to the length of the shaft (only) may be submitted in writing to and must be approved by the League’s Hockey Operations Department prior to any such stick being approved for use.

Only players 6’6” tall or more will be considered for exception. Maximum length of a stick granted an exception under this rule is sixty-five inches (65”).

It is then illegal for any other player on the ice to use a stick belonging to him. As soon as Tarasenko picked it up and used it in the game, he was guilty of the rules violation. O’Reilly said after the game, via the Associated Press, that he and the rest of the Blues’ bench had no idea of the rule. It is also some stellar eagle-eyed officiating by referees Kendrick Nicholson and Dan O’Halloran to spot the infraction and make the call.

Fortunately for the Blues it did not end up hurting them as O’Reilly scored the winning just 35 seconds later.

Parayko also scored two goals during the game.

This is the second obscure rule the Blues have been involved with in as many games this week.

In their previous game, a 4-3 come-from-behind win against the Florida Panthers, they had a goal disallowed on a weird play when a Robert Bortuzzo dump-in from center ice deflected off of referee Tim Peel and bounced into the net behind Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo. NHL 78.5 rule state that any apparent goal will be disallowed when it has been deflected directly into the net off of an official.

The Blues are back in action on Sunday afternoon against the Calgary Flames and it might be worth watching just to see what obscure rule has to be pulled out of the rule book.

(H/T Scouting The Refs)

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Sabres suspend Patrik Berglund indefinitely for failing to report to team

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The Buffalo Sabres announced on Saturday morning that the organization has suspended forward Patrik Berglund indefinitely for failure to report to the team. The Sabres said they will have no further comment on the suspension at this time.

This announcement comes after the 30-year-old forward missed the previous two games due what coach Phil Housley had called an illness. The Sabres are set to play the defending Stanley Cup champion Washington Capitals on Saturday evening and are looking to win their third game in a row.

Berglund was one of the players acquired by the Sabres over the summer in the blockbuster Ryan O'Reilly trade with the St. Louis Blues.

In 23 games with the Sabres this season he has two goals, two assists, is a minus-five, and had been averaging around 14 minutes of ice-time per game. Before he missed the previous two games he had been stuck in a 10-game point drought. The last time he found the scoresheet was the Sabres’ win over the Ottawa Senators back on November 3 when he scored a goal and recorded an assist.

He scored 17 goals and nine assists in 57 games for the Blues a season ago.

Berglund is in the second year of a five-year, $19.250 million contract that carries a salary cap hit of $3.85 million per season and includes a modified no-trade clause.

The Sabres have been one of the NHL’s biggest surprise teams this season with a 19-9-4 record entering play on Saturday, good enough for third place in the Atlantic Division and a 10-point cushion over the non-playoff teams in the Eastern Conference. This is all happening after they finished the 2017-18 season with the worst record in the league for the third time in five seasons. Along with Berglund, the Sabres also acquired Tage Thompson and Vladimir Sobotka in the O’Reilly trade, while also adding Jeff Skinner, Conor Sheary, and Carter Hutton and selecting defenseman Rasmus Dahlin with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Their 42 points on the season are currently tied for the fourth most in the league.

MORE: Your 2018-19 NHL on NBC TV schedule

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

The Buzzer: Ovechkin, Aho dazzle in duel; Scheifele on fire

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Three stars

1. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

More on this can be found here.

The tl;dr version?

Ovechkin scored his second hat trick in as many nights, extended a point streak to 13 games, a goal-scoring streak to five games and inspired an epic comeback for the Caps.

Yeah, nothing to see here.

2. Sebastian Aho, Carolina Hurricanes

He was playing in the same game as Ovechkin, and had a night that will get lost in Ovechkin’s theatre.

Aho had two goals and two assists and was the orchestrator as the Hurricanes built up their 4-1 lead. It ended up being all for nothing, but Aho now has 11 goals and 33 points in 31 games this season. He’s a special player.

3. Mark Scheifele, Winnipeg Jets

Scheifele scored a howitzer on the power play in the first period, assisted on Mathieu Perreault‘s goal to give the Jets a 3-2 lead and then scored the overtime winner to cap off the three-point night.

It was the third time in 16 days that the Jets have beaten the Chicago Blackhawks. The Jets are now the top team in the Western Conference with 44 points.

Scheifele has had much to do with that. He’s on a four-game multipoint streak and has 20 points in his past 11 games.

Highlights of the night

Ovi’s hatty:

He makes this look so easy:

Laine release alert:

Factoids

Scores

Devils 5, Golden Knights 4 (OT)

Coyotes 4, Rangers 3 (OT)

Penguins 5, Bruins 3

Senators 4, Red Wings 2

Capitals 6, Hurricanes 5 (SO)

Blues 4, Avalanche 3 (OT)

Jets 4, Blackhawks 3 (OT)

Oilers 4, Flyers 1


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck

Another Ovechkin hat trick inspires epic Capitals’ comeback

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Alex Ovechkin entered God Mode on Friday night to lead the Washington Capitals back from a 4-1 deficit in a 6-5 shootout win.

The only thing that Ovechkin didn’t do on the night was score the shootout winner, which he had a chance.

Still, Ovechkin recorded his second hat trick in as many games and helped spark an epic comeback from the Capitals who, at one point, didn’t look like they showed up in Raleigh.

Instead, Ovechkin continued his assault on the NHL with goals No. 26, 27 and 28 in 31 games this season to extend his point streak to 13 games.

Get this: the last time The Great Eight had a point in 13 straight was in his sophomore season in 2006-07.

Get this, too: he’s scored now in five straight games (nine goals during that span), the first time he’s done that since his rookie season in 2005-06, where he scored in seven in a row. At the rate Ovechkin is going, he might eclipse that record.

He’s on pace for 72 goals, too.

He’s 33.

PHT’s Adam Gretz wrote that Ovechkin isn’t slowing down earlier this week, and that remains true as the weekend begins.

All of this scoring from Ovi has meant a four-game winning streak and first place in the Metropolitan Division after a not-so-great start to the season.

Carolina probably deserved better in the game, or at least Sebastian Aho certainly did.

Hidden amongst Ovechkin’s heroics was a four-point night from the young Finn. The Hurricanes built up that 4-1 lead with the work of Aho its focal point. Then they gave up four straight before tying it in the last half of the third.

Carolina couldn’t convert on an overtime penalty and then couldn’t score more than a goal in the shootout to lose in its sixth round.

But enough about the losing team. The night belonged to Ovechkin in the end.

He’s pretty good, we hear.


Scott Billeck is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @scottbilleck