Sport NHL Weekender: Bruins, Flames, Jets are taking flight

20:20  12 january  2018
20:20  12 january  2018 Source:   Yardbarker

NHL schedule, Jan. 1-7: A viewer's guide to the week ahead

  NHL schedule, Jan. 1-7: A viewer's guide to the week ahead The New Year's Day tradition of taking hockey outside continues Monday with the 2018 Winter Classic between the Sabres and Rangers to begin the week.The New Year's Day tradition of taking hockey outside continues Monday with the 2018 Winter Classic between the Sabres and Rangers (1 p.m. ET) to begin the week.

Winnipeg Jets . Fantasy Hockey News. NHL Injuries. On the Boston Bruins … Joe Haggerty of NBC Sports: Brad Marchand and Anders Bjork were ruled out for the first two games of their road trip, so they could be ready for this weekend .

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At the end of every work week, Yardbarker takes a look at what the NHL has in store for the weekend. We'll see whose stock is soaring, who needs to get their acts together and what tilts promise to keep you on the edge of your seat.

In this week's edition, newcomers enter the race for playoff contention, everybody catches trade deadline fever and we check in on how the bench bosses are doing.

Who's on fire

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Through a touch-and-go start to the season, the Boston Bruins have officially wiggled their way into the discussion in the Eastern Conference. They've gone 8-0-2 in their last 10 tilts, including a narrow 6-5 overtime defeat at the hands of the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins — who, in all honesty, aren't their mighty selves this season. The Bruins should be set to put more tallies in the win column with two of their next three games against the floundering Montreal Canadiens.

Patrice Bergeron scores four as Boston Bruins crush Carolina Hurricanes

  Patrice Bergeron scores four as Boston Bruins crush Carolina Hurricanes Patrice Bergeron scored four goals to power the Boston Bruins to a 7-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes. His third goal marked the second hat-trick of his NHL career, while his final one made him the 16th Bruins player on record to net four goals in a game. Riley Nash, David Pastrnak and Jake DeBrusk scored the other three goals for their third straight victory.There were also seven goals for the Colorado Avalanche, who surged to their fifth consecutive win by beating the Minnesota Wild.The game finished 7-3, with Carl Soderberg scoring two powerplay goals for the Avalanche.

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Yet, somehow, Sidney Crosby has taken over the NHL 's scoring lead into the final nine games of the season. He scored 51 goals and 92 points as a rookie in 1987-88. That's 35 more than Gaudreau's league -leading 57. 18. Boston Bruins (Last Week: 12).

The scenario is even more interesting out in the Western Conference, where the Winnipeg Jets have won three straight bouts and six out of their last seven to take over the Central Division. They can really create distance on Friday with a victory over the helter-skelter Chicago Blackhawks. In the Pacific Division, the Calgary Flames knocked the San Jose Sharks out of a playoff spot with five straight victories, including a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night. The Sharks, meanwhile, spent this past week idle. They return from their bye week with a home tilt against the Arizona Coyotes in San Jose on Saturday night.

Who's on a skid

Perhaps it's silly to get too worried about the New Jersey Devils since they're still sitting pretty in the Metropolitan Division. That being said, they've dropped five straight games, including a 5-4 shootout loss to the faltering New York Islanders. If this young team wants to keep competing with the veterans in the league, it needs to kick the losing streak to the curb — and fast.

Claude Julien returns to Boston: 'There was a bond that was built here'

  Claude Julien returns to Boston: 'There was a bond that was built here' Claude Julien leads the Canadiens into Boston on Wednesday, nearly a year to the day the Bruins fired him.While Julien admitted to a flood of emotions when meeting with reporters following the morning skate at TD Garden, several times he circled back to the true task at hand when his Canadiens face off with the Bruins Wednesday night.

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NHL odds on regular season, playoffs and Stanley Cup. Get ice hockey moneyline and spread betting match odds, and bet live in-play. Boston Bruins . 6. View all odds. Winnipeg Jets . Calgary Flames .

As far as the Western Conference is concerned, the Los Angeles Kings had better look alive. They don't have the cushy points lead they had to start the season and are starting to show some cracks in their game. They've lost three of their last five games, all by one goal. Sure, L.A. is rumored to be a buyer at the trade deadline, but the Kings would be smart to tally some wins before then. While we're on the subject...

Trade talk

The trade deadline — aka hockey Twitter's worst nightmare — is just around the bend, and there are more names out there than there has been in a while. We already discussed earlier this week that the Buffalo Sabres are looking to sell, and Evander Kane is probably the biggest fish in the pond. Another name to watch — and one that may come as a surprise — is forward James Neal.

It was reported back in November that the Las Vegas Golden Knights were already fielding calls about Neal, whose contract with the new team expires at the end of the season. The 30-year-old winger is on pace to eclipse the 41 points he notched last season so it begs the question: With Vegas being a playoff contender, would it want to part ways with the second-best goal scorer on the squad?

Barzal and Beauvillier star as New York Islanders beat city rivals Rangers

  Barzal and Beauvillier star as New York Islanders beat city rivals Rangers Mathew Barzal had two goals and three assists while Anthony Beauvillier also scored a brace as the Islanders won the battle of New York, seeing off the Rangers 7-2. Beauvillier struck first with his sixth of the season on 6:06, with Kevin Hayes drawing the sides level eight minutes later.The Islanders then hit four in a row - the Barzal brace coming in just under three second-period minutes as the Islanders put the game beyond doubt.Mika Zibanejad scored Rangers' second and his 14th of the season, but Thomas Hickey and Cal Clutterbuck grabbed two more in the last five minutes.

Empty Leg Charter Flights . Every time a private jet is booked for a one way flight , an empty leg becomes available for the return journey, because aircraft must fly empty to return to its previous destination and pick up its next set of passengers.

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Coaches on tilt

It may be more accurate to say there may not be any coaches on tilt. After all, the NHL is in slightly unfamiliar territory right now, reaching well into the new year with no coaches having lost their jobs. According to SportsNet, this is the first time since the 1966-67 season that coach hasn't been axed by the midway point of the season.

Of course, a bench boss's job security can change at the drop of a hat. Take Flames coach Glen Gulutzan, for example. He was feeling the heat at the start of the season, but with the Flames on a five-game winning streak following a playoff bid last season, he appears to be in good shape for the time being. The only coach whom everyone is really keeping eyes on is Todd McLellan, since the Oilers have turned out to be such a disappointment this season, but even T-Mac's job seems secure (for now, anyways).

What to watch this weekend

Friday, Washington at Carolina, 7:30 p.m. EST, FSCR, NSW+

These teams — one leading the division, the other making its way up the standings — face off for the third time in a week. Action kicked off right after the new year with Washington winning 5-4 in overtime. Then on Thursday, the Hurricanes broke up a 1-1 stalemate in the third frame to register a 3-1 victory. The tail end of a home-and-home, back-to-back continues Friday night in Raleigh.

Saturday, Anaheim at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. EST,  PRIT, FSW

The Kings are good this season. The Ducks are, well, not so good, but a lopsided matchup doesn't change the dynamic of this Southern California rivalry. L.A. has won the first two matchups of the season, all by just one goal. Expect the Ducks to be plenty angry when they enter Staples Center on Saturday night.

Johnny Gaudreau, Flames hope layoff won't cool them down .
It's not completely clear what has gotten into the Calgary Flames, but they are currently enjoying their bye week sitting in second place in the Pacific Division with a seven-game winning streak under their belts. This same team, just a week before, wasn't even a wild card contender. So what is it, exactly, that has caused this sudden surge of brilliance? There are a couple factors at work here. For starters, the Flames appear to have remedied a long-standing problem that they have had between the pipes, and believe it or not, the swag in the crease is coming from a backup goalie. Enter David Rittich, whom Yardbarker pointed out back in December.

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