Off The Draw: GMs see the light; Rangers-Flyers renew rivalry; more
The dry scrape is gone. Hallelujah.
Give the NHL credit. It took six weeks, but the league finally recognized that five minutes of Zamboni time ahead of overtime, the most intense point of a game, was a failed bit and decided to put an end to it.
"It was not good for the fans, it hasn't been good for the players," NHL executive Colin Campbell told ESPN. "We were trying to come up with good ice, and we were trying to have more completions in overtime. Results aren't great at more completions in overtime, and more than anything it was a killer for everybody at the end of the game."
Starting Saturday, the league will go back to using shovel crews after regulation, the way they currently do during TV time outs. The ice won't be perfect—not that it was after a dry scrape—but at least those crews will be off the ice in about 90 seconds, quickly enough to keep tensions at a high boil between the two teams.
League officials and team general managers discussed several other topics in their meetings on Tuesday, including the AHL's three-on-three OT experiment ("It's coming," an NHL team exec told SI.com last week) and expanded video review (punted, again, until the next round of meetings in March). The only other action of note was an immediate commitment to allow the War Room in Toronto to call a rink and stop play when it sees a goal that was missed by the on-ice officials. It's not an event that happens often but as with many recent decisions this is about getting the call made correctly and as quickly as possible. Good move.
What to watch tonight
Flyers at Rangers (8 p.m. EST; NBCSN, TVA, SN1)
It's always fun when these long-time rivals get together, but add in the hard feelings that linger after the Rangers knocked off the Flyers in Game 7 of the first round last spring and you have the potential for a really entertaining meeting. Philly will have to find a way to win without star center Claude Giroux, who'll miss this one after sustaining a lower-body injury during a spirited practice on Monday. His absence creates a big opportunity for Brayden Schenn, who slides into the middle between R.J. Umberger and the NHL's leading scorer, Jakub Voracek, on the top line. Schenn is playing some of his best hockey of late, notching three goals and seven points during a career-best five-game point streak, so he should be up to the challenge.
The Rangers come into this one looking to rebound from a no-compete performance at home on Monday against Tampa and turn around what's been a lousy November (2-3-4). Cam Talbot, who gave up five goals on 31 shots to the Maple Leafs in his last start on Nov 8, leads the charge toward redemption.
Canucks at Oilers (8 p.m. EST; SN)
Pucks have been flying past Ryan Miller at an alarming rate of late—12 in his past three games alone—so he should be thrilled to see the Oilers at the other end of the rink. The Canucks keeper has owned Edmonton this season, going 3-0 with a 1.95 GAA and a .929 save percentage. The Oilers meanwhile need to find a way to win a game against a Western Conference foe. After losing to Arizona, 2-1, on Sunday Edmonton is 0-8-1 against the West—not exactly a recipe for success. The Oilers have done a decent job tightening things up in their own end, allowing just 11 regulation goals in their past five games, but timely offense is eluding them. Taylor Hall, with three goals and five points during a five-game scoring streak, could be the answer.
What you missed last night
• Dallas was buried by a blizzard of unanswered goals by the Hurricanes.
• The Islanders rode a second period explosion to a statement win over the Lightning.
• Beau Bennett had himself a night for the Penguins as they blanked the streaking Canadiens.
• The Bruins got the superb performance they needed from Tuukka Rask to halt the red hot Blues.
• Detroit also received some excellent goaltending in the form of 28 saves from Jimmy Howard to shut out the stumbling Blue Jackets.
• Calgary's Jonas Hiller took revenge against his old team by beating the Ducks in a shootout. Sean Monahan potted the winner.
• New Jersey continued to be bedeviled by shaky goaltending in a loss to the Jets.
• Washington knocked off the Coyotes in OT, with a little help from Eric Fehr.
• College hockey in the desert? Arizona State announced its club team will play Division I starting in 2015-16.
The numbers game
• The Penguins' win over Montreal upped their record against the Canadiens to 8-1-2 in their last 11 meetings.
• Nashville's nine goals against Toronto equaled its franchise record set in 2004 against the Penguins and tied against Calgary in 2006. The 15 different Predators who were credited with at least one point, and the nine who had a multi-point game, set a team mark.
• The Sabres may be sad sacks, but the own the Sharks. Tuesday night's win was their eighth in a row over San Jose. Buffalo is also 16-1-0 all time on home ice against the fish.
• It's been a while since the Islanders (12-6-0) have won 12 of their first 18 games to start a season: 1987-88, to be exact, when they went 13-4-1.
Today's must reads
• Maybe Sharks analyst Kevin Kurz might want to think twice before labeling an opponent as "AHL competition."
• The Sabres dug deep into the history books for an emergency backup last night.
• The NHL and its players' union aren't always on the same page, but they've found one issue where they see eye to eye.