Tomas Hertl left the hockey world buzzing with a between-the-legs goal that will probably be played for years, if not more. So it’s probably not an egregious spoiler to say that his memorable (and divisive) tally made it on the list of this past week’s top 10 goals.
Thomas Vanek’s Hertl impression even made it, too.
After Monday’s 2-1 loss to Minnesota, the Buffalo Sabres are now 0-6-1 in seven games. They’ve scored at a league-low rate of just one goal per contest. Their top goalie Ryan Miller and most dangerous forward Thomas Vanek will see their contracts expire next summer. Despite all of this doom and gloom, the Sabres insist they’re not quitting.
Publicly, at least.
Outspoken and controversial pest Steve Ott said all the right things to the team’s Web site.
“You have to continue to push forward,” Ott said. “There’s no give up.”
Brian Flynn – Buffalo’s lone goal scorer from Monday – echoed such thoughts.
“We can’t get down,” Flynn said. “It’s a long season.”
That might be the key phrase: a long season. It could mean that Buffalo has plenty of time to bounce back – one point and all – or it could mean that the Sabres and their fans are in for months of suffering.
It wasn’t exactly a bombastic homecoming for Jason Pominville on Monday – the lights were out in more way than one in Buffalo – but he still left a winner.
His Minnesota Wild squeezed out the Sabres as his second-period power-play goal ended up being the game-winner:
Chances were low tonight, as the Sabres took three more shots on goal (23-20) than the Wild – the first time Minnesota’s lost that battle this season, according to NBC SN’s Liam McHugh – which obviously isn’t much of a victory for Buffalo.
The Wild are now on a three-game winning streak while the Sabres remain without a win (0-6-1) in seven disheartening games.
The NHL’s free agent market includes goalies such as Ilya Bryzgalov and Jose Theodore. That might seem like a random thing to mention, but after Monday’s game, Edmonton Oilers fans might want to note that fact.
The Oilers suffered another unsettling loss today, this time falling to the struggling Washington Capitals 4-2.
Four ugly minutes
Really, one could argue that the game was largely over in the second period, as the Capitals transformed a 1-1 tie to a 4-1 lead in less than four minutes.
The aggressors shouldn’t be surprising. Washington’s lethal power play supplied two of those goals. Alex Ovechkin scored a goal and an assist while Nicklas Backstrom collected a trio of helpers.
The troubling part is that the Oilers weren’t wildly out-shot. In fact, Edmonton’s 30-20 shot advantage wasn’t a mere result of coming from behind; the Oil carried a 19-11 shot advantage through 40 minutes.
Oilers management spoke of making some bold moves this summer, and while there were some nice tweaks, they rolled the dice with Devan Dubnyk in net.
The big goalie could still work out, but perhaps they made a mistake by adding a career backup in Jason LaBarbera instead of someone who could battle more realistically for the starting role. The Oilers came into Monday’s action with a league-worst 86.4 save percentage and that will only dip after “The Barber” allowed four goals on those 20 shots.
Regardless of your target of blame, the 2013-14 season is at least beginning the same way far too many Oilers campaigns kicked off before.
With Canadian Thanksgiving in mind, much of the hockey world is full-bellied and relaxed (even the Buffalo Sabres’ lights are taking it easy). It’s still another day in the NHL, however, and there’s at least one questionable hit to consider, as Jason Chimera boarded Justin Schultz in the first period of Monday’s Edmonton Oilers-Washington Capitals game.
Here’s video footage from CSNWashington.com:
Schultz, 23, returned to action in the first period, decreasing Chimera’s chances of receiving supplemental discipline (he received a two-minute boarding minor for the hit).
Chimera, 34, was angry that hybrid icing was ratified in part because he’s such a hard hitter and can skate well enough to negate the occasional icing. Some might argue he’s being protected from himself, though.
(Not saying that the hit was illegal or legal, mind you; feel free to debate its merits in the comments.)