I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Playoffs look increasingly possible for Lightning after another big win


When the Tampa Bay Lightning started to string some wins together, it felt like “too little, too late.” Some trade deadline selling only solidified such thoughts.

A team with high expectations refused to throw the season away, however, and now a playoff run goes from a lofty dream to a pretty reasonable thought.

Now, it’s worth noting that the Lightning will finish the night outside of the East’s top eight. Still, they’re now a breath away, trailing the current second East wild card Toronto by one standings point.

(The Islanders got crushed by Carolina in an 8-4 stunner on Monday. Read more about that here.)

In the case of Monday, Brayden Point earned himself quite the 21st birthday gift with two goals. That included the 3-2 game-winner as the Lightning beat the Rangers despite New York’s 28-16 shots on goal advantage.

This marks three straight wins for the Lightning, who’ve been on quite the tear from multiple perspectives.

Now, does this mean they’ll be able to grind their way to the finish line? Not necessarily, but the gap is small enough that they have an almost-even chance to make it.

Who would have thought as much even a couple weeks ago?

Now, it wasn’t all good news for the Lightning, as Vladislav Namestnikov aggravated a previous injury:

Berube gets hook in a rough Hurricanes – Islanders game for goalies


The New York Islanders let out a sigh of relief after ending a nine-game road trip. Some questionable goaltending made for some dead silence midway through their return to Brooklyn on Monday.

After a busy 2-2 first period, Calvin de Haan scored an especially questionable goal against Cam Ward, giving the Islanders an early 3-2 lead in the middle frame. Ward would be far from the netminder who was most exposed in the second period, however.

Justin Faulk and Jeff Skinner scored goals to chase Jean-Francois Berube and give the Hurricanes a 4-3 lead. Berube got the hook after that Skinner tally, but Thomas Greiss hasn’t been able to stop the bleeding.

Faulk scored his second goal of the night (and period) on the first shot Greiss faced, then Jaccob Slavin made it 6-3 moments later. The Hurricanes ended up scoring four goals in less than five minutes.

To underscore how odd this game has been so far, Joshua Ho-Sang made a nice deflection for another goal to slim Carolina’s lead down to 6-4. It’s the second NHL goal for Ho-Sang and his first at home.

Video: Should Capitals be worried about slump? Roenick weighs in


The Washington Capitals have been a machine this season, to the point that a four-game losing streak is raising plenty of eyebrows.

Sometimes a slump is just a blip on the radar, but in other instances, these low moments can be a sign of disappointments to come.

So, what might it be for the Capitals? Jeremy Roenick weighed in on that subject on NBCSN on Monday night. You can see that discussion in the video above this post’s headline.

As a bonus, check out what the NBCSN crew had to say about the Islanders heading into tonight’s in-progress (and so-far frenetic) game against the Hurricanes:

More on Washington’s struggles

Things have “changed quickly” for them.

The goals have been drying up.

Canucks add ‘good two-way defenseman’ Chatfield to prospect pool


After adding a nice set of assets at the trade deadline, the Vancouver Canucks continued to look to the future by signing defensive prospect Jalen Chatfield to a three-year entry-level contract on Monday.

The 20-year-old hasn’t generated eye-popping scoring numbers with the Windsor Spitfires, but it sounds like his versatility swayed the Canucks.

“Jalen is a good two-way defenseman that sees the ice well and makes good decisions in all three zones,” GM Jim Benning said. “He moves the puck well and can join the rush. Jalen is another addition to our young prospect pool and we look forward to his continued development playing in Windsor.”

You can never have too many quality puck-movers, so if it’s true that Chatfield can help Vancouver’s transition game, then that could be a nice get (however long he might take to actually develop).

As an undrafted free agent, Chatfield seems to realize that he might not enjoy the most “direct” path to actually making an NHL impact. He noted as much to the Windsor Star back in 2016 before he attended the Buffalo Sabres’ prospect camp.

“You try to make the league any way you can, whether it’s the first round, the second round or as a free agent,” Chatfield said. “Everybody gets there some way.”

In other prospect news, the Chicago Blackhawks signed 2013 sixth-rounder (181st overall) Anthony Louis to a two-year deal that begins in 2017-18.

WATCH LIVE: Carolina Hurricanes at New York Islanders


Instead of crushing their playoff hopes, a nine-game road trip served as a useful test for the New York Islanders.

While they probably deserve a B more than an A+ (5-3-1 during that span), it’s another example of this team really excelling under Doug Weight. Now they get to host a team Weight won a Stanley Cup with in the Carolina Hurricanes on NBCSN tonight.

This begins a back-to-back set between the two teams. While the Hurricanes aren’t quite where they want to be, there are signs of a possible breakthrough coming in the future, so look out for young talents like Sebastian Aho as they face John Tavares & Co.

Lucas Wallmark also looks to debut for Carolina tonight:

You can watch online and also via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream.