* Ben Bishop carried the Lightning to a dominating performance over the New York Rangers, stopping 37 of 37 shots to help his boys win 5-0. One of those saves was particularly ridonkulous. It was a good night.
* The Panthers beat the streaking Philadelphia Flyers, thanks in no small part to Sean Bergenheim’s two goals. Tim Thomas’ 38 saves on 39 shots didn’t hurt either.
* Alexander Steen can’t stop won’t stop. He scored two more goals to move within one of Ovechkin for the league lead, while Jaro Halak stopped all 22 shots he faced.
* How James Neal wasn’t one of the NHL’s “stars of the night” blows my mind. He scored two beauties and assisted on another in a game the Pens only scored three.
* The Blue Jackets shellacked the Leafs 6-0 in Toronto, which is serious hang-your-head-in-shame territory for the Leafs. Ryan Johansen was a big reason for that, as he scored two and added an assist. Bobrovsky! made saves on all of the meager 18 shots he saw.
* Throw Martin St. Louis onto the pile of players who had two-and-one last night (more on this below). That feels so, so good on the drive home after the game. (Actually, while we’re here let’s throw Andrew Shaw of the Blackhawks on too.)
Pittsburgh and Boston played a Hockey Game
While it felt like Boston had the better end of the play, Pittsburgh actually outshot them 31-24. That vibe might have something to do with the fact that the Bruins led for the majority of the contest, so the Pens were always chasing. Regardless, it was one hell of a hockey game, that resulted in two legitimate “moments.”
One was Sidney Crosby scoring with 0.3 seconds left to tie the game and push it to overtime…
And the other was Torey Krug’s absolute missile that won the game for the Bruins in OT.
Now that’s some hockey right there (kind of feels like a Conference Final rematch could be on the horizon), and I didn’t even get to show you James Neal’s preposterous two bombs. Too many games last night to focus on just one!
Jonathan Toews on a breakaway: kind of a threat
The Oilers are giving a five-forward PP unit a try, and last night it bite them on the bum. Yakupov lost the handle near the blueline and Jonathan Toews had a three-zone breakaway, which he made look like the game was set on easy.
Hawks cruised to a 5-1 win.
Another capital H Hockey capital G Game
The Los Angeles Kings scored late in regulation to tie the Vancouver Canucks, and won the game less than a minute into overtime thanks to this Anze Kopitar shot:
Wait, this is only a minor?
In general, when you’re cut with a high stick the guy gets a double minor (which is why guys often bite the inside of their cheek/lip to draw blood to show the ref “damage”). I was aware “blood” was a key component here, but I thought “damage” was the general idea. So when Daniel was physically holding his tooth to show the ref, I thought for sure it’d be a four. Nope. No blood. Just a two.
Last night was the 1,000 game of Martin St. Louis’s career, and he showed the legs of a rookie, scoring two breakaway goals. I quite like the second one because of the quick release and cross-body difficulty factor:
I was watching a Pittsburgh Penguins game the other day and remember watching a forward who wasn’t anyone crazy special – I don’t remember who, sorry this is sort of anecdotal off the top – draped all over Sidney Crosby. This dude was patently aware that, like covering Randy Moss in his prime, if he took his eyes off him for a second he could get burned and cost his team in a situation that would inevitably end in “It’s Sidney Crosby, man – you didn’t think he’d require a little extra attention?” Hell, Crosby scored with one second left last night – which Bruin didn’t think he needed to be wearing a Boston sweater as an apron at that point?
My point is, I think the “advanced” stat “quality of competition” probably understates the difficulty top players face (it’s also possible it overstates the “quality of competition” of bad players), simply because it’s not just that Crosby, Ovechkin, Stamkos and a few others are facing tougher competition, it’s that when they get out there against lesser players they’re still facing more traffic, more interference, and more attention from them than your average player would.
So, it’s a pretty simple opinion: I think it’s good to keep in mind that while QualComp definitely tells the story with most players better than my eyes ever could, there still some “human element” context (as with all stats) that keep ‘em from being black and white. Bergeron probably makes life tougher on Crosby than he does Bozak.
* Well, holy hell, there’s huge “other news” today:
It’s been announced that Rogers has bought NHL rights for the next twelve years for a whopping 5.232 BILLION dollars. The owners get half, and the players get half (remember the whole lockout thing? Yeah, everyone saw this coming.) This is going to change how Canadians view hockey. TSN is OUT, my friend. They have some Jets and Canadiens rights, but beyond that, nada. Rogers sub-contracted a deal with CBC, who will maintain a Saturday night game (and a Saturday night game only), but it will no longer be exclusive, as Rogers will be showing other games on other channels at the same time. There’s layers upon layers here, so I suggest you start with this story stack that we have started, and check back later, as I intend to write something more comprehensive/opinion-based.
Here’s what you’re getting, in the meantime:
Rogers/NHL deal adds value to fans with more games, more content, more choice and more flexibility. Sample Saturday: pic.twitter.com/LD5rhPO52w
— NHL (@NHL) November 26, 2013
And oh yeah:
— Justin Bourne (@jtbourne) November 26, 2013
* 10 former NHL players have filed a class action lawsuit against the NHL, much in the same way ex-NFLers did, about the intentional neglect given to the harmful effects of concussions. The NFL recently settled their case. With the NHL’s, there are many, many more players who will be piling into this class action suit. I’ve been aware that it was coming for awhile, and I fear it might get ugly eventually.
* Bryzgalov got into a game for the Oilers! He made saves on 12 of 13 shots:
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) November 26, 2013
* And finally, here’s the goal that went in – thanks for your help, Potter: