* The Tampa Bay Lightning played their first game without Steven Stamkos, and managed to make it a win over the Canadiens in Montreal. The one man who you can’t fault is Carey Price – he made 44 saves on 45 shots (in front of Team Canada’s GM Steve Yzerman, the rumour-makers point out).
* Ellen Degeneres’ long-lost twin Steve Mason stopped all 24 shots the Ottawa Senators threw at him.
* Ryan Carter scored two goals for the Devils in a close win over the Rangers, meaning they’ve now won three of their last four.
* Scottie Upshall had a goal and an assist to help the Panthers kill their nine-game losing streak.
* Another two goal performance: Jakub Voracek of the Philadelphia Flyers, who almost look less-than-bad lately.
* Ryan Miller winning in the shootout is not a new thing:
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 13, 2013
*Buffalo beat the Los Angeles Kings
The Sabres overcame a 28-shot deficit in tonight’s win. According to @EliasSports, this tied the 2nd-largest deficit in a Sabres victory.
— Sabres PR (@SabresPR) November 13, 2013
Ahem. So, yeah, it’s not like they out-played the Kings or anything, but they got the job done. It was also their first home win of the season. And it’s not even December yet!
* The Winnipeg Jets beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2, despite Pavel Datsyuk scoring two powerplay goals for the Wings.
* The Florida Panthers beat the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 3-2 as well. Brad Boyes got the winner in regulation. I can’t decide if the best part of this is Scottie Upshall saying “Good teams don’t lose 10 in a row,” which he legitimately did say, or the Panthers tweeting this:
WE WIN, YOU WIN! With tonight’s victory, purchasers of single game tickets can redeem for another game. #FlaPanthers
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) November 13, 2013
Later today I’ll be posting a compilation of great quotes from yesterday’s PrimeTime Sports Management Conference, in which Brian Burke explains how dumb giving away free tickets is.
Pining for Stamkos
Even though the Tampa Bay Lightning got the job done in a shootout last night, it never should’ve gotten that far for them. They had three powerplays between the final minutes and overtime of their 2-1 win over Montreal, where they repeatedly teed up a guy for a bomb from the left side.
Only, that guy on the left side wasn’t Steven Stamkos, it was Teddy Purcell. A good player and all, sure, but y’know…not Steven Stamkos.
Late push gets the job done
The Washington Capitals were trailing 3-2 with under two minutes to play when Mikhail Grabovski buried one to tie the game up. That set the stage for Alex Ovechkin’s game winner.
Speaking of OT winners…
Oliver Ekman-Larsson got one for the Phoenix Coyotes to push them past the St. Louis Blues…
It sure is nice when games end in overtime instead of a shootout. More on that in “Other News.”
Claude Giroux was named one of the games three stars thanks to his two assists in the Flyers 5-0 rout of the Ottawa Senators, but I feel like he’d trade in those points for some goals right now. Last night he had one taken away in the dying seconds of the second period when he faded back to the goal line (as so many goal scorers are doing these days) and fired one on net. Craig Anderson made an amazing desperation save.
This is not exactly a banner year for parity in the NHL. We’re not yet at the 20 game mark and 21 points separates first from last in the Pacific Division alone. The Flames and Oilers aren’t making playoffs, that’s already established. The Sabres and Panthers are done. It’s just awfully early to be able to make declarations like that, given that we’re not halfway through the second month of the season.
On the other hand, there’s going to be one division that’s going to be awfully interesting to watch: the oh-so-terrible Metropolitan Division, that might not end up so terrible after all. To standings-watch, I mean. It might still be terrible hockey-wise.
The Penguins recent slide make things look closer than they are, but here’s how the standings sit:
Early in the season you heard a lot of people saying “The Rangers are awful,” but they played their first 1009 games on the road (roughly) because of renovations to Madison Square Garden. You heard people saying the Flyers were terrible, but their shooting percentage was remarkably low, which could point to some bad luck in the early going. You heard people saying the Devils were terrible, but two shutout wins in the last week make you wonder if their not finding their stride.
Pretty much every team in this division started the year with a roster that looked better than the previous season (Columbus, check. Islanders, check. Hurricanes, check.), yet they all got off to slow starts.
So, my point is this: the Metropolitan Division, like all divisions, has to send at least three teams to playoffs. Not a single team in that Conference is more than five points from grabbing one of those, so there’s plenty of time to get the ship righted and sneak into playoffs. We all know it’s a new season from there, so this should be sort of fun for fans who may have thought their Metro team was hopeless. They’ve all got a legit shot at getting in, and nothings been decided for any of them yet. As bad as the division has been, that’s allowed them all to stay hopeful. And that’s a lot more fun than being, say, the Sabres or Oilers right now.
* The GMs meetings took place earlier this week, with a few key topics:
Additional video review, Hybrid Icing and possibility of extending overtime to 10 minutes, among a number of items discussed by GM’s today.
— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) November 12, 2013
I’ve been looking into hybrid icing after hearing a lot of rumours about it, and I’m not so sure the NHL is entirely pleased with how it’s gone. More on that later.
As for extending overtime, I’m all aboard. 10 minutes is a bit much, but as I’ve made clear for years, I’d looove to see the league go to four minutes of 4-on-4, four minutes of 3-on-3. Apparently something like that is gaining traction.
Oh, and they aren’t going to do a thing about goalie fights because goalie fights are awesome and fans love them and the league can always hide behind goalies skating the length of the ice to “even out the numbers” in a line brawl.
* Jonathan Quick left the Kings game with an injury, so that’s something to keep an eye on.
* Ryan Carter made a nice effort to beat Carl Hagelin to the puck (which should never happen), but Vigneault was more upset that the save wasn’t made.
* Nice facial hair, Ryan Miller:
— Kevin Snow (@kwsnow) November 13, 2013
* Bob McKenzie’s insider trading is up, and there’s always lots to be learned in there.
* And finally, here’s Alex Stalock winning an Academy Award: