Rangers-Pens tonight


God, I miss the Igloo. NOT.

Big test for the Rangers in the Pens’ new house tonight. Pittsburgh starting to get it together, but the Rangers have been pretty good (5-2) on the road.

If you missed Oilers-Rangers in review this morning, scroll down to the previous thread.

Here are the pre-game notes from the Rangers. Click “more” to read more.

Monday, Nov. 15, 7:00 p.m.
CONSOL Energy Center • Pittsburgh, PA
Rangers: 9-7-1 (19 pts)
Penguins: 9-8-1 (19 pts)
* All information through NHL games on Nov. 14

The Rangers will face-off against the Pittsburgh Penguins at the CONSOL Energy Center (7:00 p.m.), to close out their back-to-back set. The Blueshirts currently rank second in the Atlantic Division standings, and fourth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 9-7-1 (19 pts). The Rangers enter the contest having defeated the Edmonton Oilers, 8-2, Sunday at Madison Square Garden to close out their four-game homestand with a 2-2-0 record. The Penguins enter the contest with a 9-8-1 (19 pts) record to rank sixth in the Eastern Conference, and have won each of their last two contests. Following the game, the Rangers will face-off against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday, Nov. 17, at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in an Original Six match-up. The Blueshirts will wear their new heritage jersey, unveiled on Friday to celebrate the franchise’s 85th anniversary, for the first time during Wednesday’s game.

* TV: MSG Network
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game Show with Bill Pidto and Ron Duguay
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Penguins
Broadcasters: Sam Rosen (Play-By-Play), Joe Micheletti (Analyst), John Giannone (In-Game Reporter)
* Radio: 1050 ESPN Radio
6:30 p.m. – Rangers Pre-Game with Don LaGreca
7:00 p.m. – Rangers at Penguins
Broadcasters: Kenny Albert (Play-By-Play), Dave Maloney (Analyst)

* All-Time: The Rangers are 111-96-23-7 all-time against the Penguins: 63-45-9-2 at home and 48-51-14-5 on the road
* 2010-11: Today’s contest marks the first of six meetings between the Rangers and Penguins this season, and the first of three games at the CONSOL Energy Center.
* Last Season: New York was 1-4-1 against the Penguins in 2009-10, including a 1-2-0 mark at Pittsburgh.
* New York ranks sixth in the NHL on the road with a record of 5-2-0 (10 pts) in seven games; Pittsburgh has posted a record of 3-5-0 (6 pts) in eight home games to rank 25th in the league
* The Rangers have posted a record of 2-2-0 vs. Atlantic Division opponents; the Penguins are 3-2-0 vs. the Atlantic Division
* Henrik Lundqvist posted a record of 1-3-1 with a 3.38 goals against average and .901 save percentage in five games against the Penguins last season, and is 16-12-4 with a 2.43 goals against average and two shutouts in 32 career regular season games vs. Pittsburgh;
* Martin Biron is 13-15-3-2 with a 2.98 goals against average and two shutouts in 33 career contests vs. the Penguins
* Marian Gaborik tallied three goals and five points in five games against Pittsburgh last season; Artem Anisimov also notched three goals in six games vs. the Penguins
* Ruslan Fedotenko has recorded 13 assists for 21 points in 32 career regular season appearances vs. the Penguins; Marian Gaborik has registered 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 12 career regular season contests vs. Pittsburgh
* New York lists three former Penguins on their roster: Ruslan Fedotenko (2008-09 – 2009-10); Erik Christensen (2005-06 – 2007-08); Michal Rozsival (1999-00 – 2002-03)
* Pittsburgh lists one former Ranger on their roster: Pascal Dupuis (2006-07)

* Power Play: The Rangers did not convert on two power play opportunities (4:00) yesterday vs. Edmonton. New York ranks 18th in the NHL with a 15.4% (10-65) success rate, and ranks eighth on the road with a 20.8% (5-24) success rate. The Rangers did not convert on one, five-on-three chance (0:39) on Thursday vs. the Sabres, and are now 0-3 on five-on-three attempts (2:47). New York is 0-1 (1:05) with a four-on-three advantage this season. Shorthanded goals allowed (0).
* Penalty Killing: The Blueshirts held the Oilers scoreless in three shorthanded situations (6:00) yesterday at MSG, and are now 14-15 (93.3%) over the last five games. New York is tied for 22nd in the NHL with a 79.4% (54-68) success rate, and are 18th in the league on the road with a 80.6% (25-31) success rate. The Rangers held the Maple Leafs scoreless in one, three-on-five situation (0:31) on Oct. 30 at Toronto, and are 4-6 on three-on-fives (5:08) this season. The Blueshirts yielded one goal in two, three-on-four situations on Tuesday vs. Washington, and are now 3-5 (2:34) in those situations this season. Shorthanded goals for (2): 10/9 at BUF (Dubinsky); 11/5 at NJD (Dubinsky).
* Four-on-Four: New York did not skate in a four-on-four situation in yesterday’s 8-2 win vs. Edmonton, and are now plus-one in 14, four-on-four situations (15:21) this season. Four-on-four goals for (2): 10/18 vs. COL (Frolov); 11/11 vs. BUF (Anisimov). Four-on-four goals allowed (1): 10/15 vs. TOR (Kessel).

Tonight’s contest will close out the Rangers’ fourth of 18 back-to-back sets this season. The Blueshirts are currently 3-0-0 in the second game of back-to-backs, and are 2-0-0 when the second game is on the road, following a 3-0 win at New Jersey on Nov. 5. Last season, New York posted a record of 9-2-2 in the second game of back-to-backs, including a 5-1-1 mark when the second game of the set was on the road.

Marian Gaborik posted his second hat trick as a Ranger, and 11th of his career, with three goals yesterday vs. Edmonton in just his second game back from injury. Gaborik, who played for the Minnesota Wild from 2000-01 to 2008-09, has registered both of his hat tricks with New York against Northwest Division opponents, having posted his first last season at Colorado on Jan. 31, 2010. In his second season as a Blueshirt, Gaborik also recorded an assist in yesterday’s contest to finish with four points, tying his single game high for points as a Ranger (Jan. 19, 2010 vs. TBL – four assists; Nov. 23, 2009 vs. CBJ – two goals, two assists).

The Rangers have had seven different players credited with at least one game winning goal this season, which is tied for fifth most in the league. Washington has nine different players with at least one game winning goal, while Detroit, Los Angeles and Montreal each have eight different players with a game winner. Anaheim, Boston, Ottawa, Phoenix, and Vancouver are tied with New York entering tonight’s action.

The Blueshirts currently lead the NHL with 306 blocked shots on the season, averaging a league-high, 18.0 blocked shots per contest. Dan Girardi ranks first in the NHL with 55 blocked shots, and Ryan Callahan leads all NHL forwards with 26 blocked shots.

The Rangers currently rank second in the NHL with 495 hits on the season, and lead the league with an average of 29.1 hits per contest. Ryan Callahan leads the team and ranks second in the NHL with 65 hits, and Brian Boyle is tied for 22nd in the league with 43 hits on the season.

* The Blueshirts’ penalty kill has surrendered just one goal in their last five contests, registering a 93.3% success rate (14-15) over the span
* Martin Biron has held opponents to two or fewer goals in each of his last three starts, posting a record of 2-1-0 with a 1.67 goals against average and .932 save percentage during the stretch
* Artem Anisimov has registered seven points (three goals, four assists) in the last seven games
* Ruslan Fedotenko has posted multi-point performances in each of the last two games (two goals, two assists over the span)
* Brian Boyle has tallied four goals in the last five games
* Dan Girardi has recorded an assist in three of the last five games
* Brandon Dubinsky has notched five goals and six points in the last seven games
* Ryan Callahan has registered 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in his last 12 games
* Henrik Lundqvist is 5-3-0 in his last eight starts, registering a 2.15 goals against average, .923 save percentage and two shutouts over the span

Based on opening day rosters, the Rangers have the ninth youngest team in the NHL with an average age of 27 years and 44 days, and the second youngest defensive corp in the league, trailing only Los Angeles with an average age of 25 years and 51 days.

* John Tortorella: 2 wins from 300 NHL career
* Michael Del Zotto: 3 games from 100 NHL career
* Dan Girardi: 3 games from 300 NHL career

* Sean Avery: 500th career NHL game (11/1 vs. CHI)
* Artem Anisimov: 100th career NHL game (11/14 vs. EDM)

* Vinny Prospal (IR on Sept. 24/knee surgery on Oct. 18, 6-8 weeks) – 17
* Chris Drury (IR – fractured finger on Oct. 15, 6 weeks) – 14
* Michal Rozsival (shoulder strain, 7-10 days) – 2
Total Man-Games Lost: 51

* Nov. 8: Assigned forward Evgeny Grachev to Hartford

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  1. True Fans Bleed RW&B on

    According to TSN, Dubinsky fined (as expected) for reaching into the brawl from the Ranger’s bench.

  2. I *guarantee* I get those gibbering fecal dispensers Steigerwald and Errey instead of the MSG feed over here tonight. Put me on suicide watch now…

  3. Hitchcock today on nhl live said that the Avery hit on Fraser was perfectly clean, and that it is ridiculous that now every clean hard hit has to mean that the hitter must then fight a teammate. Smid stuck his nose in where it did not belong, and now he’s got the Smid-marks to prove it.

  4. I think it would be warranted for Dubinsky and Peckham to at least be fined for their involvement on Sunday. Dubinsky did reach out from the bench without being grabbed first, and Peckham clearly came off from the bench area to find Avery.

  5. Kudos to Burrows and Hitchcock. Oil fans are showing just how miserable they are by attacking an
    easy target in Avery to let there frustrations out on. I have watched the fight 2 dozen times now
    and Smid was looking at Avery the whole time. He began to turn away from avery when he got
    grabbed and then clocked. Avery’s reaction was just so much quicker, that doesn’t mean it is a
    cheap shot.

  6. Gift of GAB-orik on

    So let me get this straight…

    You now have to fight after cleanly hitting somebody… and then fight another guy if you win? What is this an endurance match for the WWE?

    Good thing he saved that goat. He’s gonna need back-up for all the fights he’ll have coming up.

  7. Gift of GAB-orik on

    reminds me of the adam sandler goat skit…. “He said put up your dukes… i said i *bleepin* got no dukes old man”

  8. Gift of GAB-orik on

    thank goodness Gaborik is back playing with -EC- and Frolov. Nice to see those guys on the scoresheet. Artie too…. paging Stepan…. chime in anytime now kid!

  9. More important than the latest Avery hoopla are the release of emails from Colin Campbell questioning calls made against his son, and calling other players (Savard) fakers. Campbell has said he is just acting like a “hockey dad” and those comments don’t affect his ability to be impartial. Really? Time to go — there’s enough old boy network in hockey already without the head of discipline “venting” about his son to the referees who work for him. Outrageous.

  10. Gift of GAB-orik on

    Agreed KC. That’s a conflict of interest if i’ve ever seen it. Suppose hypothetically that Gregory Campbell pulls a Briere and sticks someone’s face. What then? Fine? Suspension? Nothing?

  11. That doesn’t surprise me from Campbell. All of his fines and suspentions for the most part seem baised and not consistent.

  12. cannot wait for the game tonight!

    LOL @ that punk challenging Avery at the end of his shift after a clean hit. I’m glad he got popped!


  13. wow… entire NHL is talking about Avery’s “sucker-punch from behind” as Canadian press calls it. I guess Carcillo’s hit on Fedotenko was within everyone’s tolerance level then cause nobody seemed to mind it.

  14. Doodie Machetto on

    First time he used fists. You know, usually, he hits me with the stick, and just Byfuglien whacks away. This time he drops the stick and you know, he fought me like Byfuglien ’30s-style boxing, you know, puttin’ the dukes up. He’s like “put your dukes up!” I’m like “I got Byfuglien no dukes old man, relax.”


    at 2 minutes.

  15. Gift of GAB-orik on

    Interesting to see different views of the Avery scenario….

    John Mackinnon, the Edmonton Journal: “Smid tried to provoke the provocateur, who was happy to oblige. The ensuing brawling is on Smid’s misguided head, nobody else’s.

    “The brawl was merely the logical conclusion of one team overreacting to a normal body check. Avery is an easy and convenient target, owing to his long rap sheet. But, in this case, I blame Smid for the whole brawling mess.”

    Rangers Blogger Jim Schmiedeberg: of Blueshirt Banter, an SB Nation blog: “I had no problem with how things went down. Smid dropped his gloves almost immediately after Avery did, and took one in the mush. The Oilers can complain all they want, but it looks to me like sour grapes from a guy who let a player a head shorter than he is get the best of him. … I have a problem with Erik Christensen speaking out against Avery, to the media. Erik, you have a problem with what Avery did? Fine, tell Avery, not the Edmonton Journal, and certainly not Larry Brooks. You don’t hang a teammate out to dry in the media, no matter who it is.”

    LOL @certainly not Larry Brooks!

  16. lol @ Smiddy how’s that jaw feel, visor wearing tuff guy?! i am SO SICK of players having to defend themselves after a clean body check–if you’re going to enforce the instigator penalty, use it correctly please.

    his teammate wasn’t even hurt and the game was already out of hand. Avery is an easy culprit so the brawl goes on Smiddy.


  17. So Campbell said all the refs who made calls against his son “still are working”, as if that makes his emails ok. How many refs think twice before they make a call against Gregory? Who else doesn’t Campbell like? Hmmm. Avery perhaps? Which team had to pay a fine from yesterday? Not the guys from Edmonton who left their bench, did they? Just wondering. Who else is he sending emails about, and why isn’t the hockey media making them public, since they are part of the record in a court case?
    Not to mention that Campbell sending those emails vividly displays a huge lack of smarts on his part, both in how they were written and the fact that he had the nerve to send them in the first place. Calling Brendan Shanahan please. Or maybe Hitchcock.

  18. Gift of GAB-orik on

    i’ve been thinking about it… then that just sinks Avery to EC’s level. I think it would show MORE class from Avery if he defended EC. Hopefully then EC would feel like a chump, and feel shame.

  19. EC said something stupid but I doubt it’ll spur any animosity in the lockerroom. It’s not like he called Avery “gutless” like the crybabies @ the Toronto Sun.

    This is a tight team. Teams with mates who care for one another will let a trivial thing like this slide (especially after a win). EC just needs to keep his mouth shut from now on and play hard. Be that #1 center! HAHA

  20. >>I think it would show MORE class from Avery if he defended EC.

    I was thinking the same thing. If I’m Avery, I’d defend Christensen during a game, then beat him up during practice.

  21. what do you mean “paging Stepan”? he is playing very well , considering that he is not getting much ice time with decent players. he got 2 assists yesterday, the second one was the whole key to the goal, as his ranger teammate whiffed on the perfect pass, and got lucky on the bounce in off the skate.

    and most importantly, Stepan is playing very solidly on the defensive side of the puck, playing plus hockey, and not in any way being anything but a big plus to the team.

  22. Gift of GAB-orik on

    i wish i could find that pic that is in newsday online. It shows Smid and Avery face to face, right after Avery checks his chin… you can see Smid’s bare right hand.

    I was reading some idiots blog where he said you can’t say the gloves were off and the video shows it. Well i watched the same video where Smid’s left glove is on the ice before the punch lands. It all happened so fast… people see what they want to see.

  23. Doodie Machetto on

    Gab, look at Smid’s right hand. Still has the glove on and is even still holding the stick. Avery’s left has a handful of jersey already.

    If anything, that picture convinces me the other way.

  24. Great shot of the fight and basically proves Avery didn’t cheap shot Smid. I have seen so many K.O.’s with a player getting a quick punch in. Smid underestimated Avery’s quickness big time, and learned his lesson.

  25. Stepan has more goals than last season’s MVP winner, Henrik Sedin, who has 2 so far, and Sedin has scored less with far more ice time than Stepan.

  26. I guess nobody thought Avery was trying to get Smid to drop his gloves to draw a penalty. We have seen Avery do that many times in the past and perhaps he was waiting for Smid to drop em, but when he didn’t Avery decided to fight.

  27. Gift of GAB-orik on

    I don’t care that his right hand still had a glove on. Gloves don’t always come off together at the same time. It all happened fast, Smid got his left off first, and was trying to set himself when Avery came with the thunder.

    The whole thing was over in 3 seconds. If Avery doesn’t connect hard with that first shot, who knows what happens. Fact is… he DID connect, and Smid went down.

  28. Gift of GAB-orik on

    Doodie… what you can’t tell from that pic, is if Avery still has his left glove on… cuz i don’t see it in the pic. Hard to say he had a handfull of jersey.

  29. Booger still had a glove on when MacIntyre dropped the gloves with him in their second fight. It happens.

    That’s how Colton Orr fought too. Granted the situations were different. The fact is, Smid never left Aves’ side, so that tells me that he wasn’t going to stop until the officials broke it up. It’s not Aves fault that Smid wasn’t paying full attention when Aves dropped the gloves.

    Screw Smid, fugg EC! New game tonight. Forget the last game.

  30. Gift of GAB-orik on

    Ok his left was off also… looked at a pic from a different angle. Regardless…. oh whatever we all know my position.

  31. Doodie Machetto on

    Oh, I’m not saying he sucker punched him, just that the picture Gab posted is proof of a sucker punch, if anything.

  32. Doodie Machetto on

    Let me rephrase. The picture Gab posted is supportive of the sucker punch hypothesis, if anything.

  33. You can call the Avery thing anyway you like, pro or con. It really isn’t going to make any differance. It’s over. The Rangers are all ready thinking about the Pens, and if Matt Cook is going to blindside anyone tonight. That is one player I have no use for. Cook trys to injure, and he has succeeded to many times. He is a hard working player, but he is as dirty as he is a worker. Prust and the Boogieman hopefully will keep him in line.

  34. I just watched the game for the first time at lunch today. I was laughing out loud. they showed that fight three times. Smid had it coming, no way can you call that a sucker punch.

  35. >>Prust and the Boogieman hopefully will keep him in line.

    I really worry about Prust fighting so much, especially against much bigger fighters. It’s only a matter of time until he catches one on the chin and gets concussed.

  36. Czechthemout!!!! on

    So Benedict Eric wasn’t man enough to publicly say that he miss spoke. Instead he hides behind the” it was settled in the room” thing. Of course that is something that he should have done yesterday .

    This is now someone who should be shunned by the fans. He is a cancer in the room and out. I for one would love to see him taken by a cheap hit and have no one stick up for.

  37. Joekuh - EC Fan Club President on

    lol Blogmama. Iz ok, I noticed at the last minute.

    ok so EC made a dumb quote. Now he’s a cancer? Overreaction, maybe?

  38. Oy, as C3P said, leave the poor dead horse alone and move on!

    ORR, if you didn’t see in last thread. my deep deep condolences. RIP DP, I’m glad he went in peace, and hope you’re OK.

    Fire Campbell!!!!

  39. Joekuh..ha!

    No, not a cancer, and perhaps a fan overreaction. But it was still a dopey thing to say. I think, hope, Torts took care of it today. But for those who don’t like EC already, his FIMness didn’t help.

    Gotta take a break for a bit, and will likely miss go time, but see you all soon. LGR!!!!!!!!!!

  40. OK – my last two cents (I hope), but I just saw the NHL On The Fly “angle” on the Avery/Smid incident.

    Again, very difficult to not come across as an Avery-apologist, but playing the reactions of five or six Oilers alongside Torts saying nothing and Christensen’s unfortunate take is hardly a balanced viewpoint, for a start.

    Second, the Oilers each had different accounts of what Avery was saying. The difference between saying “next shift” and just “wait” is a subtle, but fairly important distinction. Each could be expected to lead to a different reaction from Smid.

    Third, the Oilers (though not just the Oilers, NHL players under the mythical “code” generally) have so much disdain for supposed sucker punches, but publicly declaring that a player is essentially going to “get his” next time is more honourable?

    Finally, I was faintly amused by the perfectly timed juxtaposition of Craig Button’s indignation at Avery attacking someone who wasn’t prepared alongside shots of Stortini jumping Prust.

  41. here’s what i was thinking on the Avery-Smid thing.

    If Smid was so mad over the check and defending his teammate, then you just jump on the guy and start wailing on him. So if it wasn’t retaliation, what was it?

    It was a badly miscalculated attempt to get himself on the highlight reels of a game his team was getting blown out in.

    After the Avery hit on Fraser, Smid thought, “ok, now I have a reason to beat up that little guy everyone hates. I’ll be a hero on HNIC! Don Cherry will love me!”

    Yeah, not so much. I wish Avery landed 10 punches.

  42. and…

    so Peckham gets no fine or anything for “going a little wonky”? Someone check if he’s related to Colon Cancer

  43. Joekuh - EC Fan Club President on

    lol @ 1 on EC. Yeah I’m not feeling that Peckham fine escape either. He initiated the whole thing by trying to charge down the runway.

  44. Mama, before you go, can you tell me what LW3H said? I can’t understand his British accent even when he writes? Not to mention his spelling is iffy. What’s with “honourable”? Is that even an English word? :-)

  45. Sunday afternoon at Madison Square Garden a very feisty affair. The Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers were playing a pretty quiet game (there were just three minor penalties whistled in the first 40 minutes) before all hell broke loose in the third period. There were two super-heavyweight bouts between the Rangers’ Derek Boogaard and the Oilers’ Steve MacIntyre — and that was just the start of things.

    The first half of my Monday 10 will deal with some aspects of the Oilers-Rangers tilt. I’ll devote the second half to some of the other events of the weekend and beyond.

    1. For me, after being unnecessarily challenged to a fight by Oilers D Ladislav Smid after delivering a clean hit on Oilers forward Colin Fraser (see No. 2), Rangers pest Sean Avery had two choices: Accept the invitation or skate away.

    Instead, Avery opted for a third choice: Decline the challenge repeatedly, then quickly attack your opponent. I mean, what goes through this guy’s head?

    ESPN colleague Matthew Barnaby, who was in a few of these situations during a long NHL career, was quick to agree with me that Avery violated the unwritten rules of such circumstances. Barnaby felt it was clear that Avery wanted to get the jump on Smid. He couldn’t understand the need for that, though. Smid isn’t exactly a menacing fighter.

    Avery’s decision set off several members of the Oilers, some of whom must have left the bench (I haven’t seen any video of them actually leaving the bench, but there were a few extra white shirts on the ice when things went nutty). While I figure most fans in the building or watching on TV probably enjoyed the throwback chaos, Avery did put his team in a tough and potentially dangerous spot. They had a three-goal lead with less than 10 minutes left in the third period. They should have been able to close it out and get ready for tonight’s tilt in Pittsburgh.

    Because Avery decided to light the fuse, many of his teammates had to risk injury in the wild brawl. And, with tempers on edge, they had to play the last few minutes of the game looking over their shoulders. Is it out of the realm of possibility that an irritated Oiler might have taken a run at Broadway star Marian Gaborik or another Ranger?

    Of course, I doubt Avery was thinking all that much about his teammates. He doesn’t seem to do that too often.

    2. In my view, Smid had no business challenging Avery. Too often in the NHL, players feel the need to seek out a fight with a player who has delivered a legal body check. It happens way too often. Colin Fraser is a big boy who can take care of himself. He wasn’t injured on the play. If he wanted to chase Avery down, he’s more than capable of doing so. I’m pretty sure Fraser and Avery had a few unpleasant meetings with one another throughout the afternoon. They should be left to deal with one another. While it is admirable to defend a teammate, I just didn’t see the need for it in this situation.

    3. I have to give a little shout-out to linesman Jonny Murray, who physically moved Avery away from the center ice doorway and well into the hallway towards the Rangers dressing room. If Murray hadn’t taken immediate action, we might have seen a bench-clearing brawl. While I personally don’t mind such things, the league would have had quite a mess on its hands — not to mention the possibility of unnecessary injury. Good job, Mr. Murray.

    4. Gaborik’s three-goal performance — in just his second game back in the lineup after missing time with a shoulder injury — got lost in the chaos. The goals were his first three of the new season (he’s played only five games). Brandon Dubinsky and Brian Boyle have done a terrific job filling some of the scoring void during Gaborik’s absence. If the Rangers are going to be a factor in the East, those guys (as well as several others) will have to take some of the scoring load off of their superstar Slovak teammate. Can they do it?

    5. After a promising start to their five-game road swing with a 2-1 win in Chicago on Nov. 7, the Oilers went 0-3-1 in their last four stops — and it wasn’t pretty. They have surrendered a whopping 25 goals in that span. That’s more than six goals against per game. They’ve got to be happy to be getting back to Rexall Place. They’ll host the Hawks on Wednesday night. Interestingly, in the past few weeks, the Oilers have beaten the Hawks twice at the United Center. I get the sense that the defending champs might be looking for a little payback in Edmonton.

    6. On Friday, the Devils finally won a home game. They rallied from a 2-0 deficit to gain a 4-3 OT win over the Oilers. Ilya Kovalchuk netted the game winner, burying a power-play one-timer from the left-wing circle to ice the baby-faced Oilers. It was just Kovalchuk’s fourth goal of the season. The struggling Devils take their act on the road tonight in Boston.

    Getty ImagesNiklas Lidstrom is still getting after it — and quite effectively, to boot.

    7. The following night, the Buffalo Sabres became the last team in the league to record a home win. Like the Devils, the Sabres needed OT to get it done, stopping the visiting Washington Capitals 3-2. Thomas Vanek was the hero, scoring on a terrific individual effort. He totally undressed Caps rookie D John Carlson on a rush to the net. Lindy Ruff’s team will try to give the home folks something to cheer about again tonight when it hosts the dangerous Canucks.

    8. Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom quietly has been putting up some serious numbers. On Sunday, the Finnish stopper turned back 37 of 38 shots en route to a 4-1 victory over the Lightning in Tampa. On the season, Backstrom has a 7-4-2 record with a 1.98 goals-against average and a sweet .937 save percentage. He’s the biggest reason the Wild currently sit second in the Northwest Division. They’ll host the Ducks on Wednesday night.

    9. Future Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom just keeps on keeping on. During the Wings’ 3-1 victory over the visiting Avalanche on Saturday night, Lidstrom had an assist to run his current point-scoring streak to 11 games. Detroit’s captain has scored at least one point in 13 of the team’s 15 games this season. The 40-year-old Lidstrom and Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang are tied for the scoring lead among defenseman, both with 17 points. Lidstrom has played three fewer games, though. The Swedish star will look to push his streak to a dozen games when the solid St. Louis Blues come to Hockeytown on Wednesday night.

    10. Finally, I’m looking forward to tonight’s California tilt between the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in San Jose. It’s the first meeting of the season between the two Pacific Division rivals. I think it’s an interesting test for both teams. The red-hot Kings would love to make a statement by getting a win at the Shark Tank, while Joe Thornton and his teal posse want to send a message to their pals from down the coast that the division still runs through San Jose. It should be a good one.

    The above is the Hradek ESPN article requested.

  46. If I keep them point-down, will that make them leak too much? If I keep them point-up, will they dry out too fast? Should my decision be based partly on whether or not I have lost the cap?. I’m talking about cheap ballpoint pens, not top-of-the line. I go through probably a few dozen a month. Sometimes a capless face-down one will leak into the pen holder and then ink ends up spreading onto other pens and gets on people’s hands, etc. I am thinking maybe capless ones would be point-up, and perhaps capped ones point (and cap) down… i don’t know..

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