Tag:evgeni Nabokov
Posted on: February 28, 2012 10:48 pm
Edited on: February 28, 2012 10:57 pm
 

Winners & Losers: Senators, Capitals, Kings



By: Adam Gretz

There's always a winner and a loser in the NHL, and this is a new nightly look at some of the winners and losers in the biggest games and biggest situations across the league.

Winners

Ottawa Senators: Heading into Tuesday's game in Boston there was an expectation that the Bruins would try to get some sort of "revenge" on Ottawa for Kyle Turris' hit on Joe Corvo during their last meeting over the weekend.

Nothing out of the ordinary happened (it was a physical game, but that's about it), and in the end, the Senators came away with an important 1-0 win led by the rookie goalie Robin Lehner recording his first career shutout, stopping all 32 shots he faced. It was a pretty impressive performance by the Senators in a big situation, and the only goal of the night came from defenseman Erik Karlsson as he extended his league lead for scoring among defenseman.

With the win, Ottawa now finds itself just one point behind Boston for the top spot in the Northeast Division, and the two teams still have one more meeting remaining this season. Not only do the Senators look like a guaranteed playoff team at this point, they have a real shot to win the division.

It can't be said enough times: Nobody saw this coming.

[Related: Senators 1, Bruins 0]

Washington Capitals: Down 2-0 with three minutes to play, and their season potentially on the line, the Capitals found a way to dig deep and come all the way back to win, 3-2, in overtime thanks to a vintage Alex Ovechkin goal as he came into the offensive zone, flying down the wing and fired a shot through a defenseman, beating Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov for the winner.

For the time being, the Capitals are back into the No. 8 spot in the East.

Perhaps a game that can save a season?

[Related: Capitals 3, Islanders 2]

Los Angeles Kings: The Kings barely average two goals per game this season. They matched that total in the first 12 minutes on Tuesday night in a 4-0 win over the Wild, a game that brought them into a three-way tie with Colorado and Dallas with 70 points.

It also might have been the least-convincing four-goal win any team has had this season.

The Kings generated just 15 shots on goal, with only six of them being quality scoring chances. Fortunately they were able to take advantage of them, scoring on four of them.

You're not going to get that sort of success rate every night, and they need to do way more to generate consistent offense, but they're also not going to turn down the two points at this point.

[Related: Kings 4, Wild 0]

Losers

Toronto Maple Leafs: Oh, Toronto. This is how the Maple Leafs started their game on Tuesday, a 5-3 loss, against the Florida Panthers. It might just be the perfect way to describe the past 10 games and a season that is quickly starting to slip away.



I have nothing else to add, other than to point out a "Fire Wilson" chant started in the third period.

[Related: Panthers 5, Maple Leafs 3]

New York Islanders: If the Capitals win helped to save their season, then the Islanders loss had to all but crush their season.

Not that their playoff chances were great to begin with, but a win in regulation would have brought the Islanders to within five points of the Capitals in the standings. After letting a two-goal lead slip away with less than three minutes to play, losing in overtime, they're now eight points behind the Capitals. That's one heck of a swing.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 15, 2012 12:08 pm
Edited on: February 15, 2012 12:20 pm
 

A look at the NHL playoff bubble

Can the Islanders pull off a miracle run? (Getty Images)

Pucks and Numbers:
a weekly statistical look at what's happening around the NHL. This week: A look at the playoff bubble and what the teams on it need to do to make the postseason


By: Adam Gretz

Recent hot streaks by the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks, New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning have sparked some playoff hope for their respective fan bases. On the other side, a recent slump that's come in the form of a 9-game losing streak has left some wondering if the Chicago Blackhawks could, amazingly, find themselves on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture when the regular season comes to a close.

Anything is possible, but even though there appears to be a large number of teams that are still "in" the playoff race, the harsh reality is that even a two or three-game deficit (four or six points in the standings) is a lot to overcome. It doesn't seem like it should be, but it is.

A couple of months ago I looked at how a slow start is extremely damaging to a teams playoff chances sooner than you might realize, and as the days of the regular season start to fall away those deficits become even more daunting. I mentioned on Twitter earlier this week that since the start of the '05-06 season there have only been two teams that managed to overcome a 5-point deficit this late in the season (the '06-07 Rangers and the '08-09 Blues) to qualify for the playoffs.

Ninety-five points is usually a safe bet to get your team into the playoffs, so with that in mind, let's take one more look at what each of the bubble teams will need to do over their remaining games to reach that level. Of course, it is possible for a team to make the playoffs with fewer than 95 points, and that may in fact happen this season, especially in the East, but I'm simply going with the number that tends to be a near automatic playoff berth.

Let's start with the Eastern Conference...

Eastern Conference Playoff Race
Seed Team Games Remaining Pts Needed Record Needed
7 Ottawa Senators 23 29 13-7-3
8 Toronto Maple Leafs 25 33 15-7-3
9 Washington Capitals 26 34 15-7-4
10 Winnipeg Jets 25 37 17-5-3
11 New York Islanders 26 39 17-4-5
12 Montreal Canadiens 25 40 18-3-4
13 Tampa Bay Lightning 26 41 18-3-5
14 Buffalo Sabres 26 41 18-3-5

Incredibly, Washington and Winnipeg still have an outside shot (at this point, a very outside shot) at winning the Southeast Division, which speaks more to the quality (or lack of it) of the division than anything else, but that hope of a Division title gets smaller with each loss. Once you get past Washington in the No. 9 spot the remaining teams have almost no margin for error.

The Canadiens? Better start praying. The Islanders, for example, have been playing some pretty great hockey recently, especially veteran goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, but does anybody believe they have a 17-4-5 finish in them?

Even if it only took 90 points to reach the playoffs, they would still need a 15-7-4 finish.

Now, a look at the Western Conference...

Western Conference Playoff Race
Seed Team Games Remaining Pts Needed Record Needed
6 Chicago Blackhawks 25 30 15-10-0
7 Los Angeles Kings 25 30 15-10-0
8 Phoenix Coyotes 25 32 15-8-2
9 Calgary Flames 25 33 15-7-3
10 Colorado Avalanche 25 35 16-6-3
11 Dallas Stars 26 36 17-7-2
12 Minnesota Wild 26 37 17-6-3
13 Anaheim Ducks 26 40 20-6-0

When you look at in terms of how many games these teams need to win the rest of the way, the playoff races may not be as deep as they appear to be. When you get right down to it, there might only be four teams (Chicago, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Calgary) in the West fighting for three playoff spots.

Minnesota would need to play almost as well as it did in October through December to get back into the top-eight, which shows just how far that team fell over the past month-and-a-half. After 30 games the Wild had the best record in the league. Just 26 games later they're going to need to play like the best team in hockey for the remainder of the season just to have a chance to make the playoffs.

Bruce Boudreau has certainly helped get Anaheim going back in the right direction, but he's going to need to turn water into wine to get Anaheim, as well as its played in recent weeks, into the playofs this season.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 9:42 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 9:47 pm
 

Scott Gomez finally scores a goal

By: Adam Gretz

Finally, the Scott Gomez watch is over.

Riding the worst goal-scoring drought of his career, Gomez found the back of the net on Thursday night against the Islanders for the first time since February 5, 2011. That's more than a full calender year.

At the 9:50 mark of the third period, Gomez, on the power play, blasted a slap shot off of a rebound past Islanders goalie Evgeni Nabokov for what proved to be the game-winning goal in Montreal's 4-2 win (Max Pacioretty would add an empty-net goal to complete a hat trick later in the period).

It didn't long for didgomezscore.com to update.



We already highlighted the absurdity of his goal drought over the weekend, and when all was said and done he went 124 shots on goal and 1,311 shifts (including the playoffs) between goals, a pretty improbable run for a player that possesses a decent level of skill and has had the sort of career that Gomez has had.

Hopefully for Gomez and Montreal it's not another year until the next one comes.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:22 am
Edited on: February 9, 2012 1:28 am
 

Miikka Kiprusoff earns win No. 300 in style

By: Adam Gretz

On Wednesday night Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff became just the 27th goalie in NHL history to record his 300th win by stopping 34 of the 37 shots he faced in a 4-3 win against the San Jose Sharks, the team that originally draft him in the 5th round of the 1995 draft.

His best save of the night came with just under four minutes to play in the third period when he made what is being referred to as "the scorpion" save by somehow snatching a bouncing puck out of mid-air with his legs, behind his back, and keeping it from heading into the net for what would have been a game-tying goal.

Observe:



No idea how he did that, and as amazing as that save is, he managed to pull off a similar move back in 2009, also against the Sharks (click here to watch).

Along with being a milestone win for Kiprusoff, it was also a huge win for the Flames in their quest to reach the Western Conference playoffs and it pulls them to within just one point of the No. 8 seed Minnesota Wild. While Kiprusoff was making big saves in net, Olli Jokinen picked up a hat trick to lead the charge offensively.

Kiprusoff, as he has been since joining the Flames during the 2003-04 season, has been a workhose this season, and even though there was talk before the season about limiting his starts, he's already started 45 of their 54 games. He's started at least 70 games in each of the past six seasons, a number that looks to be within reach once again.

As always needs to be pointed out with post-lockout goalies and win totals, Kiprusoff has had the benefit of picking up wins in the shootout (goalies prior to the '05-06 season would have had such games result in ties, of course) but it's also worth mentioning that he never had an opportunity to become a full-time starter in the NHL until 2005, when he was already 29 years old.

Pretty impressive career for a guy that came up through the Sharks system around the same time as Evgeni Nabokov, Vesa Toskala and Johan Hedberg.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 15, 2011 1:35 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2011 3:22 pm
 

Groin injury puts Rick DiPietro on IR, again

By Brian Stubits

The Islanders placed goaltender Rick DiPietro on injured reserve on Thursday because of an injured groin.

That's the news. I have run out of jokes for this. Heck, comedians by trade probably would have no more material on it. This guy has been hurt in seemingly every way a goalie can be and has very few parts of the body that haven't caused him to miss time in his career.

But the good news in it all is that the Islanders have Al Montoya to handle the goaltending duties. He's been the best of the Isles' three goalies this season (the other being Evgeni Nabokov), so on the ice the story doesn't impact the Islanders all that much.

I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that DiPietro is injury prone. He puts Samuel L. Jackson's character in the awful movie Unbreakable to shame. With this visit to the IR, it's the second trip there already this season for DiPietro. A concussion put him on the list for a couple weeks earlier this season.

DiPietro, the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Islanders in the 2000 draft, has only played more than 26 games in four of his 10 seasons in the NHL, but he's on the Isles payroll for another 10 seasons at $4.5 million per season. So he has a long time to try and put together another full schedule, but you really wonder if his body will ever allow that to happen again.

It's easy to want to laugh at DiPietro's injury misfortunes over the years, especially for Islanders fans. It's a lot better than crying for them. But I don't think even the Islanders haters want to see the guy continue to get injured.

It just always seems like a foregone conclusion.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: December 13, 2011 1:22 pm
Edited on: December 13, 2011 1:36 pm
 

Jets claim Miettinen on waivers

am1By: Adam Gretz

On Monday the Tampa Bay Lightning signed Antti Miettinen, a forward that had started the season playing for Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL, to a two-year, $3 million contract in an effort to add some forward depth to their struggling team that, after Monday's 5-4 loss to New Jersey, sits near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings.

According to league rules, because Miettinen had started the season playing overseas he was forced to pass through waivers before he could officially report to the Lightning. And he's not going to get the chance to do that, as the Winnipeg Jets claimed him on waivers on Tuesday morning.

The Lightning did all of the work, and the Jets end up getting the player.

We saw this exact scenario play out multiple times last season. The St. Louis Blues lost players they had signed on two seperate occassions, one involving Marek Svatos and the other time with Kyle Wellwood. The Detroit Red Wings ran into an issue when they attempted to sign veteran goalie Evgeni Nabokov after he was left go by his KHL team only to have the New York Islanders, desperate for a veteran goalie due to an in-season trade and multiple injuries, snag him on the waiver wire. Nabokov then refused to report the team, sat out the remainder of the season, and then finally joined the Islanders this season.

I still find it amazing that the same general managers who refuse to make offer sheets to restricted free agents because of some unwritten, gentlemens agreement have no issue taking part in waiver claims like this. There's nothing wrong with it, of course, as it's how the system works and if you can add a player that you think can help your team, you should absolutely go for it.

After the signing was announced on Monday Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman acknowledged there was a possibility that Miettinen could be claimed by another team, telling Damian Cristodero of the St. Petersburg Times, "There's a possibility. We sat around here waiting for a week to see if anyone would sign him. We'll see what happens."

The 30-year-old Miettinen spent the previous three seasons in the NHL with the Minnesota Wild after starting his career with the Dallas Stars. In 472 NHL games he's scored 89 goals, including at least 15 in each of the past four seasons.

During his brief stay with Ak Bars Kazan this season he scored two goals to go with six assists in 20 games before he was let out of his contract with the club.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:00 am
 

Kids' postgame handshake erupts into brawl

By Brian Stubits

Line brawls are always a hit in hockey, aren't they? Fans love fights, so how about five fights all at once? Maybe even 20 fights all at once after something like the postgame handshake?

If that's your sort of thing, consider this your lucky day. Because in Kazakhstan, two teams made up of 9-year-olds -- yes, only 9 years old -- decided to carry their hostilities to the postgame handshake.

For a little more context, here's the description of the video posted on YouTube.

This is my 9-year-old brother's team Kokshetau -- Burabay (green) fighting against the team from the capital city of Kazakhstan -- Astana (white). Even though team Astana won against Burabay 5:3, they started talking crap to their opponents during hand shakes; so the capitan of Burabay's team could not just let it go and started the fight.

Here's the result:

It's not exactly the brawl between two Turkish teams, but for a few fleeting moments it's pure chaos. Order is easily and quickly restored, however, when the adults threaten to take away the kids' postgame snacks.

Here's a quick geography tip on Kazakhstan: It's more than the home of Borat. Current NHLers Evgeni Nabokov and Nik Antropov call the country home, too.

H/t to Yardbarker

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 21, 2011 1:02 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Anders Nilsson expected to start for Islanders

By: Adam Gretz

With veteran goalies Evgeni Nabokov and Al Montoya sidelined with injuries at the present time, and Rick DiPietro coming off a bad performance against the Boston Bruins that saw him allow three goals in the first period on Saturday, Islanders head coach has decided to start rookie Anders Nilsson between the pipes when his team takes on Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins Monday night.

That's a tall task for the 21-year-old rookie in what will surely be a crazed atmosphere in Pittsburgh.

Nilsson has appeared in just one NHL game, and that was on Saturday in relief of DiPietro. He allowed three goals on 17 shots.

He was called up from the Islanders AHL team in Bridgeport over the weekend following the injuries to Nabokov and Montoya. In seven games in the minor leagues this season he posted a 5-2 record to go with a .908 save percentage. Nilsson was a third-round pick by the Islanders back in 2009, and prior to this season had spent the past four year playing professionally in Sweden for Lulea HF.

In 33 career games against the Islanders Crosby has recorded 62 points (18 goals, 44 assists). The only other team that he's recorded that many points against is the Philadelphia Flyers (62) in three more games.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.


 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com