* Brian Campbell played 31:17 in the Panthers win over the Canadiens, who’ve now lost three of their last four, compiling only three goals over those four games.
* Claude Giroux had a goal and an assist for the Flyers, but it wasn’t enough to best Alex Ovechkin and his two goals. The Flyers also got three assists from Michael Raffl, who doubled his season assist total in the game.
* Ben Bishop made 28 saves in a shutout of the Detroit Red Wings, which just means we’re going to get more bleakness on 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic. By the way, I’ll be writing about that later, so c’mon back now, y’hear?
* Curtis Glencross (one and one) and Jiri Hudler (two assists) both had two point games, but it wasn’t enough to get two points as a team against the Rangers.
* Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa all registered five shots on goal against the Kings, managing half their teams 40 shots. Toews also picked up two assists along the way, while goaltender Antti Raanta stopped 21 of 22 Kings shots.
* Teemu Selanne snapped a 19 game goal-less drought(!), and Dustin Penner scored with 3:17 remaining in the third to help Anaheim squeak past the Oilers.
The Flyers got Leafed
Up 4-1 with under 10 minutes to go in the third period, the Flyers seemed to have the game iced, but we’ve seen that go wrong before (hence “getting Leafed”). They bled a couple even-strength goals so the Caps could get in an extra attacker situation, when Adam Oates made a cool decision – he chose to leave Alex Ovechkin on the bench so that when their goalie did in fact come off, he would be able to get lost in the weeds entering the zone, and hopefully find himself a soft spot for a shot. It worked out beyond perfectly well:
I like that there’s a d-man there who could take that pass, but there’s never a hesitation in Ovi’s mind about who would be better off taking that shot.
Yeah, what he said about Antti Raanta
UPDATE: ANTTI MAKES KINGS SAY ‘UNCLE’
— PumperNicholl (@PumperNicholl) December 16, 2013
How do you stop this?
The Rangers outshot the Flames by a dozen but still needed a goal with under eight minutes left in the third to take the Flames to a shootout, where Benoit Pouliot did the below. It’s a real question I have – if you execute this move well, how does a goalie stop it?
Here’s one from the AHL yesterday too, if you’re interested.
Joel Quenneville tied Pat Quinn for fourth all-time in regular season coaching wins
I feel fortunate to be where I’m at [now]. I’ve been in some real nice places with some real good players and real good organizations. I’ve had the privilege to coach and work with a lot of great players, when I look back to spots I’ve been at. I’m very happy with where I’m at and I like the group I get to work with every day.
Tomas Jurco almost beheaded Ben Bishop
I know exactly what happened here. Guy has your stick well tied up, you’re battling to bring it down while he’s trying to keep it up (so you can’t play the puck), and suddenly all that potential energy releases like an elastic band that’s been stretched to the extreme and WHAMMO. You killed the goalie:
Alex Ovechkin now has 28 goals in 31 games, and it’s not like this tear hasn’t been going on a silly amount of time:
@kcarrera That’s 50 goals for Ovechkin in his last 54 regular-season games. Not bad.
— Jeff Z. Klein (@jzedklein) December 15, 2013
He’s now six goals ahead of Alexander Steen who sits in second, and it feels like each goal he scores is bigger than the last. I don’t know what those stats translate to 1980′s dollars, but I think it’s safe to say he’s one of the greatest ever at biscuit-basket transactions.
What stands out to me the most – and I’ve been meaning to write about this forever – is that he goes about it by directly challenging goaltenders, not reinventing the wheel. He’s not like Patrick Kane or Pavel Datsyuk in his goal creation. He has a hard-ass shot and he simply directs that bomb to the high percentage areas. He has a great sense of where that’s going to be at the right moment with the way the goalie is moving, but if he’s set, he’ll just hammer it low blocker, high glove, or whatever the highest percentage place is and say “I did my job, yours is to stop it.” There’s a simplicity to it that makes you think “why does it always go in for him,” but he’s seems “lucky” in that regard because he’s on automatic and doesn’t over-think it. No fake, no hesitation, just “it’s comin’ in hot, good luck with that.”
He has 165 shots this season, which is the more than anyone by 26 (Phil Kessel), he puts them in trouble areas, and lets things work out from there. Simple but effective.
He is shooting 17% right now which is high, but with a bomb like his and smart placement, he’s always going to be a bit above average there.
* These are Petr Mràzek’s goalie pad for the Winter Classic with the Red Wings, and I proclaim them Earth’s Greatest Pads:
Absolutely love these! Petr Mràzek’s pads for his time in Detroit’s uni’s. Great winter classic idea! pic.twitter.com/OJvF0OHfLC
— Brent Johnson (@JohnnyGoalie12) December 14, 2013
* Dylan McIlrath’s first NHL fight came against Brian McGrattan, which sounds terrifying and probably was. As Jeff Marek put it, the tilt had a bit of a Rhea/Glatt vibe to it.
* Johan Franzen may be concussed, which leaves the Wings without him, Darren Helm, Stephen Weiss, Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. Rough.
* And finally, I don’t care if this is old I just saw it yesterday. Gotta love that Penner.
— Jenelyn Russo (@JenelynRusso) December 12, 2013