Around the Rink – Second Half Stretch

AROUND THE RINK is a new weekly hockey segment on the NHL and all of its teams. Every Wednesday we go over what’s new with your favorite teams, your favorite players, as well as the crazy things going on within the National Hockey League.

Eastern Conference

Boston Bruins: Defenseman Dennis Seidenberg scored the go ahead goal in a 4-3 comeback win against the Ottawa Senators last night. Seidenberg took a shot from half court, and manage to sneak the puck past goalie Craig Anderson for his third of the season. Boston was down 3-1 at one point in the game, but managed to come back and win with Seidenberg’s goal.

Buffalo Sabres: It’s becoming quite clear that the Buffalo Sabres will be shipping out most of their team come the Trade Deadline in three weeks. The question really isn’t who will go, it’s how many will go. Too bad they didn’t do this earlier or they might have been able to save the season.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes took a spanking from the Islanders last night, getting pushed around in a decisive 5-2 defeat. Looks like another team that will be shipping out the core. Good thing they signed Tim Gleason to a 4-year deal, though, that way we don’t have to speculate on where he is going to be traded. Thanks, Carolina.

Florida Panthers: People have underrated the Panthers all season. They made a serious overhaul last summer to make a good, competitive team. Now, they are only a point out of playoff contention and don’t ever seem to go away. With another win tonight, they could leapfrog the Capitals and retake third place.

Montreal Canadiens: Another day, another loss for the Montreal Canadians, who were defeated by the Sabres last night at home 3-1. I wonder if you can consider Montreal to be sellers by the Trade Deadline. I mean, the speculation has already started regarding P.K. Subban and his trade value, but if I was upper management for the Canadians, I would hold onto Subban like my life, or job, depended on it.

New Jersey Devils: Ilya Kovalchuk and the Devils played a rough and tough game against the Rangers last night at the Rock, which ended in a shootout and a Martin Brodeur victory. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. The Devils are 9-2 in shootouts this year. That might change next year, however, if Zach Parise isn’t playing in Newark.

New York Islanders: The Islanders played a pretty impressive game against the Hurricanes last night, defeating them 5-2 on the road. However, little wins like this don’t seem to be adding up for this team. They are tied for second to last in the East with 47 points, and remain 9 points out of a playoff spot.

New York Rangers: Even though they ended up losing in a shootout to the New Jersey Devils, the Rangers still played one hell of a game. They when toe to toe with an underrated opponent and, with Henrik Lundqvist on the bench, managed to almost win the game in regulation. Had it not been for a bad bounce, and David Clarkson, the Rangers might have won this one easy.

Ottawa Senators: I think Craig Anderson needs a hug. Seriously that goal was painful to watch against the Bruins, but it didn’t help that the team was up 3-1 at one point and they couldn’t hold onto the lead. But the All-Star Game was a success in Ottawa, so I suppose we can give you a pass for this week, Sens fans.

Philadelphia Flyers: Speaking of painful to watch, how about that shootout against the Winnipeg Jets last night? The Flyers had all the talent in the world, including Claude Giroux, and Jaromir Jagr out there to take the shots, and neither one of them could score. Good thing you don’t need shootouts in the playoffs, or the Flyers wouldn’t probably be out in the first round.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Who is Sidney Crosby? The Penguins are on an eight game winning streak, and are riding the back of the best player in hockey right now, Evgeni Malkin. I mean seriously look at this shootout move and tell me where he gets this stuff. I don’t know about you but if Crosby was on this team now, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were already running away on the standings board.

Tampa Bay Lightening: The Lightening were able to win out an overtime win against the division leading Washington Capitals. Tampa Bay made some glaring mistakes which allowed the Capitals to force overtime, but in the end Steven Stamkos came through with the overtime game-winner. We’ll see if the Lightening can make a late season push towards the playoffs here.

Toronto Maple Leafs: It’s almost not fair nowadays. When you’re playing the hottest team in the NHL right now and you allow them the time and space that Toronto allowed the Penguins to work with last night, it’s almost a certainty that you will end up losing the game. Props to the Leafs though, who forced the shootout and made it a very entertaining game to watch.

Washington Capitals: Do not underestimate the Capitals game tonight as they face the Florida Panthers, a team right on their heels in the Eastern Conference playoff race. If the Caps lose, they could fall all the way to 9th place in the East, and the Panthers could move all the way up to third.

Winnipeg Jets: The Jets are 4 points out of a playoff position, and played an impressive game against a top team last night in Philadelphia. The problem is, the Atlanta Thrashers were always in similar positions, and it seems that the trend has traveled with them to Winnipeg.

 

Western Conference

Anaheim Ducks- The Ducks picked up right where they left off before the All-Star break, continuing their winning ways with a 4-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes, during which Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano notched a natural hat trick…

Calgary Flames- They’ve scored only one goal and haven’t won since beating the Oilers 6-2 on January 21st. Before you panic, Flames fans, Calgary has only played two games since that beat down of the Oilers. Hey, I’m making what I can of what little hockey news there has been because of the All-Star Break…

Chicago Blackhawks- Patrick Kane won the Breakaway Challenge portion of the All-Star Skills competition with his “Superman” routine. Check it out:

Colorado Avalanche- Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson has attempted 101 shots on goal (as of January 31st), but has only scored one goal. That’s a 1% shooting percentage. Ouch….

Columbus Blue Jackets- The Blue Jackets have been selected to host the 2013 All-Star game. No word on whether or not the Blue Jackets will become a legitimate NHL team by then…

Dallas Stars- Jamie Benn returned from his appendectomy in time for the NHL All-Star game. Though he didn’t record a point, he did win the Accuracy Challenge in the skills competition. Check it out:

Detroit Red Wings- Continued their winning ways and stayed atop the Western Conference with an easy 3-1 win over the Flames, which was goaltender Jimmy Howard’s league-leading 31st  victory of the season….

Edmonton Oilers- Devan Dubnyk continues his push to reclaim the starting goaltender role, as he’s gone 3-1-1 in his last five starts following yesterday’s 3-2 win over the Avalanche. The job is still Nikolai Khabibulin’s for the time being, but if Dubnyk continues to play at a high level, the job may be his sooner rather than later…..

Los Angeles Kings- True to his name, goaltender Jonathan Quick won the fastest goalie competition during the NHL All-Star skills competition, beating out fellow American Jimmy Howard for the title…

Minnesota Wild- Dany Heatley has six goals in his last five games, but the Wild are only 2-3-0 during that streak, and 3-6-1 in their last ten games as they cling to the last playoff seed in the Western Conference…

Nashville Predators- Made a ridiculous comeback to beat the Wild on Tuesday night. Down 4-1 with just over ten minutes to go, Brandon Yip, Patric Hornqvist, and Mike Fisher all scored goals to tie the game. With 39 seconds to go, Fisher scored again to win the game, stunning the Wild…

Phoenix Coyotes- The ‘Yotes are in the middle of a six-game homestand that they probably want to get over with as soon as possible. Phoenix has played four straight home games, going only 1-2-1 in that stretch. They’ll finish up with games against the Pacific Division-leading Sharks and the Western Conference-leading Red Wings coming to town on the 4th and the 6th, respectively. Uh oh….

San Jose Sharks- Cemented their Pacific Division lead with a 6-0 drubbing of the Columbus Blue Jackets. San Jose is now four points ahead of the next closest team, the Los Angeles Kings, and have played two fewer games than the Kings….

St. Louis Blues- Blues top prospect Ben Bishop won AHL All-Star Game MVP honors for the 10-save third period performance he put in, and for stopping all four shooters in the game-deciding shootout…

Vancouver Canucks- Henrik Sedin broke a four-game pointless streak yesterday (January 31st) against the Chicago Blackhawks, setting up brother Daniel for the game-winning goal in overtime…





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