* Zdeno Chara’s two goals are all the Bruins would need to get past the Flames thanks to Tuukka Rask stopping all 21 shots the Flames threw at him.
* Valtteri Filppula scored with 2:53 left in the third to pull the Lightning within one of the Islanders. Then he scored with four seconds left to tie the game up. Then he scored in a shootout to clinch the win. Not bad.
* Kings rookie goalie Martin Jones won again, becoming the first Kings goalie to ever win his first six starts. It was also a 24 save shutout, already his third.
* Andrew Cogliano had three assists in the Ducks 5-2 win over the Red Wings.
* Jakub Voracek scored twice in 15 minutes of ice time, which helped the Flyers get revenge on the Caps after their meltdown against them last week.
Patrick Kane’s backhand isn’t quiiiite in the elite-echelon of Crosby/Datsyuk, but he’s knocking at the door. It’s amazing how often goalie look completely baffled by it.
Tomas Jurco, he of the ridiculous puck-handling videos you can find on YouTube, got his first NHL goal last night. No surprise, he showed nice hands in getting it.
I’ve been waiting for Mark Schiefele to become the player I think he can be, and last night he showed flashes of it. He scored two goals in 40 seconds on Ryan Miller, and the first was a beauty.
Some love for the masked men
I’m not sure how Alex Galchenyuk is able to just park in the slot and get this one-timer off, but when he does, Mike Smith is up to the task.
The “scary hit” talk from last night centered around Tom Wilson’s destruction of Brayden Schenn, which you can watch below:
I’m not even really going to entertain the “from behind” aspect of it, because Schenn clearly sees the hit coming late and is trying to turn to avoid being directly on the train tracks, so that’s why he goes in head first. The problem with this is, what’s he supposed to do? If he doesn’t turn and the contact is more direct maybe it’s worse. The point is that an opposing player clearly charging (hell, he’s taking strides into the guy to finish him with all the oomph he can muster) put him in a situation where he very nearly got seriously hurt. You can’t say the fact that he turned makes the hit his own fault. He’s being put in a dangerous situation.
As Thomas Drance pointed out on Twitter last night, it’s tough – Wilson is a 19-year-old who sits on the bench 53 minutes of night and is dying to get out there and show what he can do (a big part of which is play physical). It’s easy to see how we got to where we are here. But this is a guy who takes a lot of runs at players (he was suspended five games in junior for a hit from behind just last year) who had no regard for an opponent and hurt him on an illegal hit. I’d like to see him sit out a couple games for his untethered behaviour.
(If you’d like to discuss more rough looking hits, here’s Quincey on Getzlaf. I feel like Quincey expected him to take a little back pressure without launching into the boards, but hey, that’s the risk you run when you put your stick on a guy four feet from the boards.)
* Las Vegas could get a hockey team? Here’s Bob McKenzie:
The NHL party line hasn’t changed. There are no formal plans for expansion but if they expand and everyone assumes at some point, they’re going to, the common knowledge is that Seattle is the primary target in the Pacific Northwest. The strong sense I’m getting now is that Las Vegas is second on that list behind Seattle and the NHL wants to be the first major professional sports league to put a franchise in Las Vegas. People in Quebec City may be saying, ‘Hey, what about us?’ Well, keep in mind, there’s no rule that says if they expand, that they only expand by two teams. The possibility of expanding by three teams, with Quebec City being one of them, is at least something that will be considered. There’s lots of money in expansion; over $300 million per franchise, close to a $1 billion winfall that isn’t shared with the players or anyone else, just the owners.
* I can’t help but think of 24/7 when watching the Leafs and Wings put together just terrible stretches. Should be fun. Carlyle is calling the Leafs current state a crisis.
* And finally…HAPPY HOLIDAYS! On The Regroup will continue every weekday until Christmas, only I won’t be penning it. I’m heading to see the family in Kelowna. Have a great holiday season!