Kukla's Korner Hockey
A little over three minutes long.
from Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times,
Tampa Bay was a preseason Stanley Cup favorite, but it's a shell of that now, one reason general manager Steve Yzerman needs to make a move. It has the lowest points-per-game percentage in the Eastern Conference and would need 49 points in its final 34 games to reach 96, typically a bench mark for a playoff team. That's hard to imagine from a Tampa Bay team (21-22-5) that has won back-to-back games just once in the past two months and has three points in the first four games of this make-or-break trip.
Regardless of injuries, the Lightning — 11-16-4 without Stamkos since his Nov. 10 knee injury — isn't getting enough from its top players, its leaders. Coach Jon Cooper said earlier this season that some players were hesitant to speak up. And though some have stepped up, such as Boyle, it's not always about talking the talk, it's about walking the walk. Show the way. Tampa Bay's best line Saturday was Cedric Paquette, Gabriel Dumont and Michael Bournival. And that's telling.
Goalie Ben Bishop, a two-time Vezina Trophy finalist, needs to play like one. He can't give up goals like the first two Saturday, even if he was screened on the second one. Tyler Johnson has too often been a nonfactor in games. Nikita Kucherov, arguably the most talented player on the team, can be too pass-happy. Even Hedman, a first-time All-Star this season, hasn't had his best year.
from Eric Duhatschek of the Globe and Mail,
“He’s bold, but he’s not cocky,” Flames’ coach Glen Gulutzan said. “If you spend any time around the kid, you realize he’s very humble. But he’s a competitor and confident in his game.”
Tkachuk was the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NHL entry draft. The third and fifth players, Pierre-Luc Dubois and Olli Juolevi, were immediately returned to junior. The fourth, Jesse Puljujarvi, was sent by Edmonton to the minors for further development.
But Tkachuk found a home in Calgary on a line with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik – and that trio has been the one constant in an up-and-down season for the Flames.
Two Saturdays ago against the Edmonton Oilers, Tkachuk had a nine-game point-scoring streak end.
No other NHL rookie – not Auston Matthews, not Patrik Laine, not Zach Werenski – had scored points in nine consecutive games.
And while those three, along with two other Leaf rookies, Mitch Marner and William Nylander, have been all the talk in the Calder Trophy conversation this season, Tkachuk is second in rookie assists, second in rookie plus-minus and fourth in overall rookie scoring, with 30 points, eight back of Matthews. The Flames play the Maple Leafs in Toronto on Monday night, the start of a three-game Eastern Canadian road trip.
from Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,
To be fair, it seemed like a decent gamble to trade away veteran goaltender Brian Elliott so that Allen could become the undisputed starting goaltender.
Nonetheless, there’s no denying that there’s a big difference between sharing the load and being asked to carry most of it. On the ice, the young Blues have shown some great signs at times. There’s no doubt that Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo, Robby Fabbri and Colton Parayko and Jaden Schwartz give the Blues a good, young core to build on.
Unfortunately for the Blues, they are paying dearly for what is clearly a lack of confidence in the crucial goaltending position. You cannot underestimate the pressure that falls on the entire team when they know the final line of defense is struggling badly.
“I think it’s only natural to have that in your head that you don’t want to let up one shot in the whole game,” Kevin Shattenkirk said. “That’s the easiest way to keep goals out of your net. I think that becomes a dangerous game when we try to be perfect, when we’re trying to make sure that every pass is made the right way out of our zone, every shot is blocked.”
Hitchcock notes that the Blues don’t have the needed balance because too many players are overworking from the red line in and not working enough from the red line back.
The Blue Jackets went on to win 7-6 in OT.
Home Team in Caps
NY Rangers 1, DETROIT 0 (OT)
PITTSBURGH 5, Boston 1
Columbus 7, OTTAWA 6 (OT)
Philadelphia 3, NY ISLANDERS 2 (OT)
CHICAGO 4, Vancouver 2
Nashville 4, MINNESOTA 2
PENGUINS CONTINUE HOME DOMINANCE
The line of Sidney Crosby (1-2—3), Bryan Rust (1-2—3) and Conor Sheary (2-1—3) combined for 4-5—9 as the Penguins extended their home winning streak to a season-high seven games, improving to 13-0-1 in their last 14 home contests and 20-2-2 overall at PPG Paints Arena.
* Evgeni Malkin (0-2—2) posted his 16th multi-point game of the season to extend his point streak to a season-high seven games (6-5—11). With 22-32—54 this season, Malkin sits tied with Crosby (28-26—54) for second place in NHL scoring behind only Connor McDavid (16-40—56).
* Matt Murray made a career-high 44 saves, surpassing his previous mark of 41 set earlier this season (Dec. 14, 2016 vs. BOS). Murray has won four straight games and improved to 17-4-1 overall this season.
from Terry Frei of the Denver Post,
Here’s what I think is going to happen: As the March 1 trading deadline approaches, whether that means in the final weeks or the final minutes, the Avalanche will have decent — not great — offers on the table for Duchene and Landeskog.
By “not great,” I mean a package that doesn’t qualify as a mouth-dropping difference maker. A great “offer” is: Did they really offer that? To qualify as great, it would have include an eventual long-term, standout defenseman for the franchise. And more.
I’ve brought this up before, but I feel stronger about it than ever.
Then will come the acid test for Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic.
Does he make an inadequate deal for the sake of making a deal, for the appearance of doing something major to avoid leaving the impression he is fiddling while Rome burns … to the ground?
Topics of discussion on Saturday Headlines include the future of Sam Bennett in Calgary, Brad Treliving on the last year of his contract, Patrick Laine is now cleared for practice and the decision to shut down Clarke MacArthur for the season.
Also discussed were the St.Louis Blues including Kevin Shattenkirk and their goaltending issues and other topics including the size of goalies.
Watch at Sportsnet.
On Coach's Corner, Ron MacLean and Don Cherry talked about "The Russian" on the Leafs, Jeff Carter, don't shoot the puck too hard on a dump in along the boards, and small pucks for youth hockey.
Cherry then pointed out the play of a few players and talked about Henrik Sedin.
The segment can be watched here.
Home Team in Caps
WINNIPEG 5, St. Louis 3
COLUMBUS 3, Carolina 2
Ottawa 3, TORONTO 2 (SO)
Buffalo 3, MONTREAL 2 (OT)
NY ISLANDERS 4, Los Angeles 2
New Jersey 4, PHILADELPHIA 1
ARIZONA 5, Tampa Bay 3
Washington 4, DALLAS 3 (OT)
MINNESOTA 5, Anaheim 3
Edmonton 7, CALGARY 3
SAN JOSE 3, Colorado 2 (OT)
LEAGUE-LEADING CAPITALS RALLY TO EXTEND POINT STREAK
Washington overcame a 3-1 deficit and Jay Beagle scored 19 seconds into overtime as the League-leading Capitals (31-9-6, 68 points) extended their point streak to 13 games (11-0-2).
* Philipp Grubauer turned aside 32 shots – including an incredible blocker save on Stars forward Tyler Seguin in the third period – to extend his personal point streak to nine games (7-0-2). Grubauer improved to 9-1-2 overall (2.05 GAA, .925 SV%, 2 SO).
* Nicklas Backstrom (4-12—16 in 9 GP), Alex Ovechkin (4-8—12 in 7 GP) and Andre Burakovsky (4-3—7 in 5 GP) each extended point streaks.
* Washington earned their first win vs. DAL since Oct. 25, 2008 (6-5 OT W), snapping a nine-game slide (0-8-1).
Possibly the save of the year too. The save was in OT and the video also contains the game winning OT goal by Buffalo.
Below, Carey Price made two key saves near the end of regulation to force OT.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at email@example.com