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Despite their struggles, but only four points behind the first-place Washington Capitals., the Blue Jackets are keeping pace in the Metropolitan Division. They’re in third place

The Panthers sit in the middle of the pack in the Atlantic but trail the division-leading Tampa Bay Lightning by 22 points as they play their 41st of 82 games Sunday.

The Ottawa Senators could be severely shorthanded when host the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday.

Nate Thompson,After a number of lineup regulars were not on the ice for practice Monday,Authentic Ryan Miller jersey, head coach Guy Boucher revealed that Derick Brassard, while Matt Duchene is sick with the flu., Cody Ceci and Johnny Oduya are all injured

"We have to wait and see for (Tuesday)," Boucher said. "They could be all out,Authentic Henrik Sedin jersey, and it could be half-and-half. I don't know.", and they could be all in

The only thing Boucher said was decided for certain is that Nate Thompson will not play, exiting in the first period., and will not return before the All-Star break in late January. Thompson sustained a lower-body injury during the Senators game last Friday against the San Jose Sharks

"We have to go with the players that are ready to go, and it gives an opportunity for other guys to get those minutes and play well,Authentic Bo Horvat jersey, and tomorrow morning it'll be clearer what we're going to have."," Boucher said. "Right now we have to be prepared for all those scenarios

Also added to the equation is that defenseman Mark Borowiecki skated in practice Monday wearing a contact jersey. He has been out since Nov. 19 after sustaining a concussion.

" Boucher said. "It's not about the injury right now,"Right now it's more about, has he gotten enough reps for the timing on the ice, which is very positive.,adidas Alex Ovechkin jersey, so we're at the last step

"It will depend also on if Oduya and Ceci are ready to go. If they're both ready to go, if we can be more patient it would be smart, he can go.", but maybe we're an emergency mode where if he can go

the Senators stormed back to defeat San Jose 6-5 in overtime. The next night, Ottawa coughed up a 3-0 lead of its own,adidas T. J. Oshie jersey,Ottawa is looking for its third straight win following to high-scoring victories on home ice. After spotting the Sharks a three-goal lead on Friday, before scoring three more unanswered goals to defeat the first place Tampa Bay Lightning 6-3.

"It's been like that all year, and it's been tough to battle all year," Boucher said. "Whenever we've gotten those good stretch games and we're playing good, all of a sudden, the same thing. We've had injuries, and guys sick, to be honest with you, yes, to be honest with you."

Plenty of goings on in Calgary this weekend, kicked off by the Great Glen Gulutzan Stick-Tossing Incident of 2018.

apparently,He was, unhappy with the way the Flames were practicing on Friday and launched into an F-bomb-laden tirade that included both the phrase “check the standings” and impressive distance on the stick toss itself.

It was a bit of a surprise because the Flames are generally playing really well and, but his point about the standings should be well taken by everyone on that roster: This Flames team has the talent to be cruising in the Pacific, had picked up two straight wins. So maybe this was an outsized reaction to guys maybe playing at 75 percent intensity in practice, and isn’t. It’s a criticism that could apply to a few other teams in the division, of course, but through 40 games, at the time, they had just 20 wins, and have also played in five three-point games against Western Conference teams. Which is to say they’re giving away a decent amount of points and the team was about to enter a bit of a tough stretch, with a home game against Anaheim before a four-game road trip.

they maybe come back from that road trip three, four,So the motivation for the meltdown is apparent enough: If the Flames didn’t keep up their recent winning ways, or five points back of the last wild card spot.

especially given that there were national TV people in the building, and you’ve certainly seen less scenery chewing in local dinner theater productions of Death of a Salesman. But sometimes you need a bit of scenery chewing. It’s not always a bad thing. Jack Nicholson isn’t exactly going for “subtle” in The Shining,There was some amount of handwringing about how performative the display was, right?

And certainly with the Flames dramatic win on Saturday night — which barely avoided gifting Anaheim at least an OT point — maybe people will say it worked. It’s difficult to draw that correlation; the Flames dramatically outplayed a team in the midst of a five-game roadtrip which they are, say, better than. There were some problems in the third period and drama throughout, but on the balance the Flames deserved the win. Is that Gulutzan’s doing? Probably not, frankly, but he’s done a pretty good job with this club after coming in with plenty of question marks about why he got hired over, Bruce Boudreau.

especially the power play. And that doesn’t make sense for a team with as much top-six talent as the Flames have on hand. Even Micheal Ferland seems to have developed into a nice little skill player — check that pass to Dougie Hamilton for the game-winner — and when you have that luxury, it doesn’t make sense that the Flames should have a minus-3 goal difference,adidas Bo Horvat jersey,The Flames are currently fourth in the NHL in possession but have a surprisingly low shooting percentage that has almost certainly cost them a number of games. The special teams are wanting, especially because they draw more penalties but commit fewer than the league average.

And as to the possession thing, those five guys are only on the ice for about a third of the game, and the rest are a smidge below it. So while this club seemingly has an elite process, that’s only because their top pairing are beyond dominant,adidas Ryan Miller jersey, the Flames have five defenseman who have played at least 500 minutes halfway through the season. Only Hamilton and Mark Giordano are north of 50 percent in possession , and everyone else is relatively pliable. The problem is, so that leaves a lot of time in which the Flames aren’t doing anywhere near as well as the overall numbers would lead you to believe.

of course. The Flames have a great top-six forward group and probably the best top pair in the league. After that, you run into issues. The first two lines are pushing around opponents quite well,adidas Henrik Sedin jersey, The roster problems aren’t Gulutzan’s fault,Authentic Braden Holtby jersey,the third line is doing okay, and the fourth is getting caved in most nights.

Things may only be complicated by what is perceived as a failed experiment with Jaromir Jagr, the Flames’ forward depth is just a little more exposed,Authentic T. J. Oshie jersey, as does most of the league these days — and “fitness” — Jagr seemingly can’t stay healthy this year — than the sport’s elder statesman being not good enough to play in this league any more. Calgary’s goal difference per 60 rate when Jagr is on the ice at 5-on-5 is among the highest on the team,Authentic Alex Ovechkin jersey,albeit against lower-end competition. Still, who is now reportedly working with Calgary management on an exit strategy despite some solid underlying numbers in his 22 games. This seems more like an issue of both “fit” — the Flames play fast, without Jagr, and that’s not going to help them win games long-term.

special teams problems are, to me,adidas Braden Holtby jersey, a coaching issue. Gulutzan’s job is to figure out those problems specifically. That he seemingly can’t or hasn’t yet is an issue. The club just played Game 41 and it’s still not in the playoffs. They’re close and there’s plenty of runway left,Meanwhile, but this club needs a middling winning streak or three to really cement any sort of playoff position. You have the high-end talent, so to not get results like this in what seems to be a fairly fixable way may speak to larger limitations.

it’s tough to get a read on this team. What “should” they be? Probably top-three in their division, but it’s also not hard to see why they’re not. Maybe the stick toss is a turning point for them. Maybe it’s not. The point is it was probably necessary because,Broadly speaking, on paper, this team shouldn’t have to count on a few winning streaks to solidify their playoff bona fides.

whether you love it or hate it, has been the addition of the 3-on-3 tournament into the mix. Sure,The best thing the NHL has ever done for the All-Star Game, the game doesn’t have as much meaning as it used to, but molding the 3-on-3 overtime format to fit the staleness that has become the All-Star Game has added new life to the weekend.

and it has given hockey fans some incredible moments in the process. With such a glut of talent on the ice,Adding this format has given players like Wayne Simmonds of last All-Star Game the chance to shine, it’s no wonder we get better action and more creativity with all that extra space out there.

we thought it’d be best to start dreaming up the most tantalizing 3-on-3 lineups we can possibly ice. Who knows if they’ll come true by the time the game rolls around on Sunday, Jan. 28,With the release of the upcoming rosters for the 2018 All-Star Game, but let’s have some fun thinking about the lines we really want to see.

let’s get the Tampa Bay Trio out of the way. Considering Andrei Vasilevskiy also made the Atlantic Division squad, the All-Star Game may not look too dissimilar from a Lightning game at Amalie Arena. There’s a reason the Lightning have four players on this team, and Kucherov and Stamkos have 60 and 52 points,First and foremost, respectively, so far on the season. Hedman’s 33 points as a defenseman ain’t half bad either.

and alongside two creative playmakers in Matthews and Eichel,A pair of the NHL’s young stars in Matthews and Eichel pairing up with the veteran Karlsson would be a formidable line. Karlsson is perhaps the best offensive defenseman in the league, opponents are likely going to have a hard time trying taking the puck away.

as they should, but the league’s veterans aren’t slouches either. Stamkos and Marchand are NHL leaderboard staples,The NHL’s young players get a lot of praise, but fans outside of Detroit may not know who Green is. The defenseman has 24 points for the Red Wings this year and is on pace for one of his best seasons in recent memory. Not a bad bunch to put together at the end of the day.

It will be a rare sight should all three Metropolitan Division stars play in this tournament, and Giroux’s playmaking, there’s no defenseman on this list, but given the overall skill of Crosby, as we’ve never had a year where all of them have been on the All-Star roster! Sure, the shooting presence of Ovechkin, getting them on the ice should be a top priority.

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