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Say what you will about the Coyotes, they refuse to go away silently. Sunday night, the hero was Martin Hanzal, who helped lead them past the Ducks. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Martin Hanzal, Phoenix Coyotes – Hanzal tallied two goals in the first period, and five shots in the game, to help lead the team past the Ducks. Hanzal, who has never scored more than 35 points in a season, now has five in his first seven games. 2  Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks – Getzlaf finally broke through, tallying his first two goals of the season while finishing a plus-three on the night. Kurtis Foster and Lubomir Visnovsky scored the other goals for Anaheim in a 5-4 loss. 3  Keith Yandle, Phoenix Coyotes – After publicly stating that he wasn’t living up to his expectations, Yandle tallied an assist and the game-winning goal. Apart from he and Hanzal, the other goal-scorers for Phoenix were Boyd Gordon and Lauri Korpikoski. Play of the Night Mikkel Boedker made these beautiful moves before setting up a goal by Martin Hanzal: Save of the Night Mike Smith made this gorgeous save in the third period to keep the Coyotes up by two: Fight of the Night Raffi Torres and Luca Sbisa got together for this energetic tilt on Sunday:   Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Sunday, 23 October 2011 23:43 | Print | PDF
So far it’s no Marty, no problem for the Devils. Johan Hedberg got his first shutout of the season while another netminder got his first win of the season on Tuesday night. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Johan Hedberg, New Jersey Devils – Hedberg stopped all 31 shots sent his way on Tuesday, including 13 in the third period, for his first shutout and third win of the season. Dainius Zubrus had two goals for New Jersey; linemates Patrik Elias (goal, assist) and Petr Sykora (two assists) helped account for all the offense in the game. 2  Steve Mason, Columbus Blue Jackets – What? You want something more than he helped Columbus win its first game of the season? Fiiiiiiiine. In all seriousness, Mason had a terrific game, stopping 30 of 31 shots. R.J. Umberger, John Moore and Derek MacKenzie each scored for Columbus, and Ryan Johansen got his first career goal for the Jackets in a 4-1 win over Detroit. 3  Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers – Eberle started the five-minute run that chased Roberto Luongo from the game by scoring his first goal of the season, and ending the run with the primary assist on Taylor Hall’s goal. Hall also had an assist on Eberle’s goal and Shawn Horcoff tallied Edmonton’s other goal in their 3-2 win over the Canucks. Play of the Night Patrick Kane made this gorgeous pass to set up Marian Hossa for Chicago’s first goal of the night: Save of the Night Some good fortune is always important in ending a losing streak the likes of the Blue Jackets'. Steve Mason definitely had some on his side with this save: Fight of the Night In a game that involves both Steve Downie and Patrick Kaleta, the odds of something like this happening are pretty good: Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Wednesday, 26 October 2011 01:22 | Print | PDF
The Florida Panthers signed Jose Theodore to bridge the gap between Tomas Vokoun and Jacob Markstrom. Little did he know that the bridge might not even last a full season. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Jacob Markstrom, Florida Panthers – Markstrom stopped 40 of 41 shots in his third NHL start to stone the Montreal Canadiens. He was a perfect 14 for 14 in the third period to help the Panthers win their second game in a row. Tomas Fleischmann and Scottie Upshall had the goals for the Panthers. 2  Jaromir Jagr, Philadelphia Flyers – Jagr scored twice and added an assist to lead the Flyers past the Toronto Maple Leafs. Scott Hartnell also scored two goals and assisted on one of Jagr’s for the Flyers’ other two goals. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24 of 26 shots in the Flyers’ 4-2 win. 3  Ruslan Fedotenko, New York Rangers – Fedotenko tallied a power-play goal and assisted on Ryan Callahan’s power-play marker to lead the Rangers to a 2-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets. Martin Biron stopped 27 of 28 shots for New York. Play of the Night Jaromir Jagr may have lost a step or ten, but his shot certainly hasn’t: Save of the Night Florida’s search for a replacement for Tomas Vokoun might be over: Hit of the Night Andrew Ladd introduces Ryan McDonagh to the rest of the Jets the hard way: Fight of the Night: Tanner Glass and Brandon Prust get together for the fight of the year so far in this one:   Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Monday, 24 October 2011 23:50 | Print | PDF
Photo by Getty Images Goalies are a fickle breed. Sometimes what works one season doesn’t work the next. Sometimes a simple change in scenery will work. Then sometimes there's Brian Elliott, formerly of Ottawa (above), who seems to be taking to St. Louis quite nicely, thank you very much. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Brian Elliott, St. Louis Blues – Playing for his third team in two seasons, Elliott may have finally found himself a home for a while. the 26-year-old vagabond posted his fourth straight win of the season, shutting out the Vancouver Canucks 3-0. Elliott stopped all 32 shots he faced and has now given up just seven goals in four starts and five appearances. 2  Max Pacioretty, Montreal Canadiens – If Pacioretty is experiencing any ill after effects from The Zdeno Chara Hit, his play isn’t showing it. He tallied two goals and an assist on Wednesday to lead the Habs past the Flyers 5-1. Yannick Weber, Mike Cammalleri and Andrei Kostitsyn had the other goals for Montreal and Carey Price stopped 21 of 22 shots. 3  Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues – Steen scored twice in the Blues’ shutout of the Canucks for his fourth and fifth goals of the season. Also scoring for St. Louis was Patrik Berglund. Play of the Night Kevin Shattenkirk sets up Patrik Berglund with this beautiful passing play that resulted in the Blues’ third goal of the night: Save of the Night Price makes this beautiful pad save on Claude Giroux to preserve Montreal’s one-goal lead in the second: Minus of the Night Methinks Mike Modano has a little TOO much spare time in his retirement:
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Thursday, 27 October 2011 02:08 | Print | PDF
Words just can’t express how crazy of a night it was in the NHL, especially in Winnipeg. The Jets blocked a late punt to set up the game-winning field goal in their 9-8 win over the Flyers, while in Edmonton, the Capitals couldn’t keep their undefeated season alive. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Slava Voynov, Los Angeles Kings – It was a red letter night for Voynov, who tallied his first three NHL points for the Kings in a 5-3 win in Dallas. Voynov assisted on Justin Williams’ second-period tally before adding a power-play goal later in the period, then breaking a 3-3 tie halfway through the third. Scott Parse had a goal for Los Angeles and Dustin Brown sealed the deal with an empty-net goal. 2  Nikolai Khabibulin, Edmonton Oilers – The ‘Bulin Wall lived up to his nickname, stopping 34 of 35 shots including all 19 he saw in the third period to lead the Oilers to a 2-1 win over the Washinton Capitals. Khabibulin has now appeared in six contests this season, giving up more than one goal just once – a two-goal outing against the Vancouver Canucks. Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle each provided a power-play goal for the Oilers. 3  Jason Pominville, Buffalo Sabres – Pommer continued his blistering start on Thursday, tallying two goals and an assist in Buffalo’s 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Pominville assisted on Brad Boyes’ first-period goal before adding one of his own and rounding out the game’s scoring with a power-play goal. Patrick Kaleta added the other goal for Buffalo and Jhonas Enroth stopped 41 of 43 shots. Play of the Night So many goals were scored on Thursday night, here's one big highlight of all 17 scored in Winnipeg’s victory. Enjoy: Fight of the Night It’s always a great premise for fighting when the Habs and Bruins get together, and Thursday was no exception. Here’s Brad Marchand and P.K. Subban going at it in one of the better fights of this young season:   Minus of the Night I’ll preface this by saying that the minus of the night is a goaltending gaffe and is made even better by the fact that it didn’t come from the Jets/Flyers tilt. Here’s Carey Price, completely whiffing on a faceoff and allowing Tomas Plekanec to score on his own net:   Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Friday, 28 October 2011 00:49 | Print | PDF
There weren’t any 15-goal games Friday but the NHL still had some action worth watching with some hard-fought battles. Here were the best of the best. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers – Smyth tallied a goal and assisted on the others in Edmonton's 3-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche, the Oilers' fourth straight win. Cam Barker and Andy Sutton also scored goals for the Oilers. Now I’m no expert, but Sutton might be facing supplemental discipline for this hit on Avs uber-rookie Gabriel Landeskog: 2  Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes – Ward stopped all 30 shots he saw, half in the second period alone, to help the ‘Canes turn away the Blackhawks 3-0. Tim Brent, Brandon Sutter and Jiri Tlusty scored the goals. 3  Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks – Jumbo Joe scored twice in San Jose’s 4-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings. Ryane Clowe and Patrick Marleau had the other two goals for San Jose and Martin Havlat had two assists, while Antti Niemi stopped 30 of 32 shots. Play of the Night There were a few nice plays in Friday’s action, but this goal from Patrick Marleau was just pure hustle: Save of the Night Corey Crawford stones Eric Staal on the breakaway, but has to come up with an even more impressive save on the penalty shot:   Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Saturday, 29 October 2011 01:37 | Print | PDF
On a night that included an 11-goal game, the top performer Saturday was a goaltender. For the second straight start, Josh Harding kept the offensively-challenged Wild in a game against the Detroit Red Wings. The difference, this time, was that he won. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Josh Harding, Minnesota Wild – Harding stopped all 36 shots that he faced on Saturday, including 16 in the second period, to lead the Wild to a 1-0 regulation win over the Red Wings. Dany Heatley scored the lone goal for the Wild. 2  Claude Giroux, Philadelphia Flyers – Giroux tallied a goal in the third period and also tallied three assists in Philadelphia’s 5-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes for his fourth multi-point game of the season. Jaromir Jagr scored twice for the Flyers and Scott Hartnell and Max Talbot each had a goal. Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 24 of 25 shots to rebound after giving up three-plus goals in his last six games. 3  Brent Burns, San Jose Sharks – Burns assisted on Logan Couture’s game-tying goal in the second period before winning the game just over a minute into overtime with a power-play goal. Joe Pavelski scored San Jose’s other goal and Thomas Greiss stopped 35 of 37 shots. Play of the Night Loui Eriksson is the beneficiary of this beautiful passing play that put the Stars up 1-0 early against the New Jersey Devils: Save of the Night Jonathan Quick makes a beautiful, stretching pad save to preserve a 2-2 tie in overtime: Hit of the Night Cal Clutterbuck adds Todd Bertuzzi as another notch in his belt with this hit behind the net: Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Sunday, 30 October 2011 02:15 | Print | PDF
It was a wild week of hockey – suspensions, rumors of a front-office shakeup in Columbus, Chris Pronger's eye bringing visors back into fashion – but in the end one team rose to the top of the Power Rankings. It's only October, but it's been a long time coming for our new number one. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Toronto Maple Leafs (7-3-1) – James Reimer continues to struggle with a head injury he sustained in a collision with Brian Gionta, and there’s just nothing funny about that. Thankfully for the Leafs, Jonas Gustavsson has looked pretty darn good in his recent starts. 2  Pittsburgh Penguins (8-3-2) – The Penguins are hosting the 2012 NHL Draft and it’s looking like their fans will have to stick around for a while before getting to hear their first pick. Of course Sidney Crosby might never come back, Evgeni Malkin might get hurt again, Marc-Andre Fleury could lose his game and Dan Bylsma could get attacked by Lizard people on their upcoming road trip. But I wouldn’t count on it. 3  Dallas Stars (8-3-0) – After being traded from the Wild to the Stars, Eric Nystrom is taking nicely to the checking line, even scoring a goal on Oct. 27. Ironically, that’s the same number of goals the Wild have scored since the 27th. 4  San Jose Sharks (6-3-0) – The Sharks might be the hottest team in the NHL right now, but there’s concern that their top two lines are carrying their production. The Stones were worried that Keith Richards was playing louder than Ron Wood, too – at the end of the day, it’s still pretty darn good. 5  Los Angeles Kings (6-3-2) – The Kings have activated Drew Doughty from IR and everyone is pretty excited about it. Though there might be some concern about Jack Johnson and Slava Voynov standing alone in the corner, talking in hushed tones… 6  Washington Capitals (7-2-0) – The news this week for the Caps is that they’re not going to be undefeated this season. For some reason people are still talking about the fact that they’re not a 100 percent offense team anymore. 7  Edmonton Oilers (7-2-2) – Andy Sutton has been suspended pending a hearing on Monday for his hit on Gabriel Landeskog in Friday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche. It would be important for Sutton to remember that, yes, Brendan Shanahan IS an expert. 8  Chicago Blackhawks (6-2-2) – Many are questioning whether or not Dan Carcillo should have been suspended for his hit on Joni Pitkanen, with Carcillo even joking that he was going to have to change his last name. I hear "Cooke" is a popular choice … 9  Philadelphia Flyers (6-4-1) – I was wrong: Jaromir Jagr’s mullet clearly was not the source of his power and I’m willing to accept the fact that I might have been wrong and he might contribute this season. 10  Ottawa Senators (7-5-0) – Rather than burn the first year of his contract, the Sens have sent Mika Zibanejad back to Sweden. That sound you hear is every copy editor in Ottawa breathing a sigh of relief. 11  Florida Panthers (6-4-0) – So, is it possible that Jose Theodore might be Wally Pipped? 12   Phoenix Coyotes (5-3-2) – Kyle Turris has asked for a trade and GM Don Maloney said no. With no end in sight, Maloney has said that he’s willing to let Turris just sit in RFA purgatory for the time being. I guess that’s one perk to not having an owner breathing down your neck. 13   Buffalo Sabres (6-4-0) – Despite their high-priced additions this off-season, the Sabres’ power play has been struggling of late, especially late in games. One of the key components of their power play is rookie Marc-Andre Gragnani, but if the struggles continue it sounds like he might find himself in the press box in favor of Mike Weber. 14   Nashville Predators (5-4-1) – Cal O’Reilly became a casualty of numbers, getting traded to Phoenix to make room for Martin Erat on the Preds’ roster. Unfortunately, the trade came right before the Preds lost Mike Fisher to an “upper-body injury.” Oops. 15   Detroit Red Wings (5-4-0) – In the midst of Detroit’s four-game losing streak, Fabian Brunnstrom was reportedly placed on waivers. Because, really, nothing sparks a line up into responding like waiving a player who has played all of one game. 16   Tampa Bay Lightning (5-4-2) – The re-emergence of Vincent Lecavalier has a lot of people singing his praises again, and why not? He’s finally healthy and seems to have found his scoring touch again. Cue trade rumors to Montreal … nnnnnow. 17   Colorado Avalanche (7-4-0) – Surprising absolutely no one, the Avs have decided to keep Gabriel Landeskog on their roster for the remainder of the season. Landeskog, Nugent-Hopkins, Courturier. I thought this draft class wasn’t supposed to be any good? 18   Anaheim Ducks (5-5-1) – Francois Beauchemin avoided any supplemental discipline on a hit that injured Mike Fisher and involved contact to the head. Maybe if he changed his name to Carcillo … 19   Vancouver Canucks (5-5-1) – I still have no idea what Occupy Luongo means. 20   Minnesota Wild (4-3-3) – The Wild moved Guillaume Latendresse up to the top line to try to encourage some scoring. That’s the fourth new look that the top line has seen in as many games. The next step: Putting the drunk guy from Section 214 directly behind the Wild bench so he can shout “SHOOOOOOOOOOOOT!” 21   Montreal Canadiens (4-5-2) – Perry Pearn was the Habs’ scapegoat for their poor start. What’s worse, they’ve found success after the firing. Next? The false sense of validation. 22   Calgary Flames (4-4-1) – So, the Flames are struggling early on but, hey, they’re trying hard. It’s almost like they’re paid to. 23   New Jersey Devils (4-4-1) – The Devils are struggling, which means Pete DeBoer is already on Lou Lamoriello’s hot seat. 24   St. Louis Blues (5-6-0) – The Blues are looking for more production out of their top lines, which have accounted for just 45 percent of the Blues’ total offense. So Davis Payne is looking for an unbalanced scoring attack? 25   Carolina Hurricanes (4-4-3) – Just 11 games into the season, Eric Staal is a staggeringly bad minus-13. Plus/minus is a flawed statistic, but that’s just hard to come by. 26   New York Rangers (3-3-3) – Hey, look who’s on his way back to New York. Maybe Torts will want to try to explain away his harsh comments about Avery to autocorrect? 27   New York Islanders (3-4-2) – Apparently, the Islanders have a lot of organizational potential at the goalie position. Guess you'll just have to be patient, Isles fans – it's not like you don’t have three goalies on the NHL roster or one signed for the next 40 years. 28   Winnipeg Jets (3-6-1) – Blake Wheeler had an encouraging game, with two assists in the 15-goal debacle against the Flyers. I’m sure that makes Ilya Bryzgalov feel much better. 29   Boston Bruins (3-7-0) – Winger Benoit Pouliot told the Patriot-Ledger that he doesn’t miss life as a Montreal Canadien. Not that there was really any other answer to that question in Boston. 30   Columbus Blue Jackets (2-9-1) – Ken Hitchcock could be back behind the bench in Columbus. That worked so well the first time.   Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Sunday, 30 October 2011 20:14 | Print | PDF
Halloween is almost upon us, and there were most certainly some scary performances on Sunday night. The following were not among them. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Ryan Smyth, Edmonton Oilers – Smyth tallied two goals for the Oilers, both in the second period, to lead the Oil past the Blues 4-2. Shawn Horcoff and Jordan Eberle each had a goal for the Oilers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two assists. 2  Semyon Varlamov, Colorado Avalanche – Varlamov stopped 30 of 32 shots in Colorado’s 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings, including 14 in the second period. Matt Duchene, Chuck Kobasew and Milan Hejduk scored Colorado’s goals, and David Jones and Kyle Quincey each had two assists. 3  Clarke MacArthur, Toronto Maple Leafs – MacArthur scored both of Toronto’s goals in defeat as the Ottawa Senators picked up their sixth straight win, beating the Leafs 3-2. Play of the Night This David Runblad pass could be the best breakout pass you’ll ever see: Fights of the Night These fights come from the same – and the same two players – so just sit back and enjoy. Sheldon Brookbank v. Derek Dorsett Round 1: Sheldon Brookbank v. Derek Dorsett Round 2:   Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Monday, 31 October 2011 00:52 | Print | PDF
Monday’s action featured a couple stars who had been playing rather ordinary hockey. The Jets' Evander Kane and the Rangers' Ryan Callahan finally put their feet on the gas. p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter { font-size : 200%; font-weight : bold; float : left; color : #c00; } p.intro .firstletter 1  Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets – It looks like someone might have broken out of his slump. Kane tallied a power-play goal in the first period and tied the game with 49.9 seconds left in regulation. After going the first five games of the season without a point, Kane has six points in his last five games. Kyle Wellwood had Winnipeg’s other goal in regulation, as well as the winning shootout goal and Ondrej Pavelec stopped 39 of 42 shots for the win. 2  Ryan Callahan, New York Rangers – Callahan scored twice in the second period and assisted on Ryan McDonagh’s first-period goal to lead the Rangers in their 5-2 romp of the San Jose Sharks. Callahan has four goals in his last four games after starting the season with just one. Derek Stepan and Atrem Anisimov had New York’s other two goals and Martin Biron stopped 24 of 26 shots. 3  Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks – Kane scored twice and added an assist in a wild 5-4 overtime win over the Nashville Predators. Nick Leddy and Bryan Bickell had Chicago’s other two regulation goals and Viktor Stalberg won the game in overtime for the ‘Hawks. Play of the Night Martin Erat fed Craig Smith with this beautiful pass, right before Smith buried the puck on a beautiful wrister: Save of the Night Pekka Rinne robbed Marian Hossa after a beautiful set-up from Patrick Kane: Fight of the Night Brandon Prust and Ryane Clowe could hardly wait until the drop of the puck before dropping the mitts in this one: Photo by Getty Images
Blake Benzel | News/Features | Tuesday, 01 November 2011 00:47 | Print | PDF

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