Just A Thought
@ESPN_Burnside: Well, so far so good for the John Tortorella-less Vancouver Canucks, who edged Edmonton 2-1 on Tuesday night in the first of the half-dozen games they'll be without their head coach, who was suspended for going bonkers during Saturday's game against Calgary and trying to invade the Flames' locker room area between periods. The fiery Tortorella was suspended from the team for 15 days, which includes six Canucks games, during which he is to have no contact with the team. It's worth noting that the first goal in Tuesday's win was scored by rookie Kellan Lain, who happened to be in the starting lineup Saturday during the line brawl that sparked the Tortorella meltdown. Next up for the Canucks: Nashville, Phoenix, Edmonton again and then Chicago, all of those at home before a visit to Winnipeg which will bring to a close Tortorella's banishment.
@CraigCustance: Last season, they just ran out of time. The shortened season meant the Columbus Blue Jackets got hot a little too late to complete an improbable run into the playoffs. That's not a problem this season. Another win Tuesday night gave Columbus a franchise-record seven consecutive victories, with R.J. Umberger taking his turn as the star of their sum-of-the-parts offense. In beating the Kings, their Western Conference roots showed in a heavy, physical, blue-collar game that looked nothing like the wide-open style of their new conference. Ryan Johansen has made the leap to the player Columbus hoped he would be when the Jackets picked him No. 4 overall. Nathan Horton is validating the faith the Columbus front office showed in him by spending big on Horton despite an injury. Ryan Murray's calm presence and steady improvement gives them another piece to be excited about in Columbus. There's a lot to like right now with the Blue Jackets.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun: Make it a franchise-record seven wins in a row for the Columbus Blue Jackets, who occupy the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of Ottawa and New Jersey, two ahead of Detroit and Washington. Just two weeks ago the Jackets were looking up at the whole group of teams in the conference, but their impressive run has them back in the thick of it. Perhaps most impressive is that they're now eighth in the NHL with a 2.84 goals-per-game average, the kind of offense few people would have expected from the Jackets, especially given that star winger Marian Gaborik has been in the lineup for only 18 games this season. Johansen sure has been special to watch, and he potted his 19th goal Tuesday night with a perfect wrist shot upstairs. Folks, don't sleep on the Jackets!
@KatieStrangESPN: Well, we knew it had to happen eventually. The Winnipeg Jets became the first team to hand the Anaheim Ducks a regulation loss at home this season, snapping the Ducks' 22-game streak at the Honda Center with a 3-2 victory Tuesday night. A large chunk of the credit goes to Jets goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who stymied the high-octane Ducks with 40 saves. In the opposing goal, Jonas Hiller did not have a great night, getting yanked after surrendering three goals on 11 shots, replaced by Frederik Andersen. I'll admit Winnipeg is not who I'd have picked to end the Ducks' dazzling streak, but with a 4-0-0 start under new coach Paul Maurice, the Jets may continue to surprise people.
Quote Me On That
"We were poor right across the board. Poor with our discipline. Our top players took poor penalties. Poor in every aspect of our game."
-- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock
"We're on a roll, but we're not where we want to be. We want to get back in the playoffs and stay there. We needed a winning streak; now we need to keep the thing going."
-- Jackets winger Nathan Horton
• Islanders: won nine of past 11 road games.
• John Tavares (NYI): three assists; has 24 points in past 14 games.
• Devils: won three straight home games for first time this season.
• More from ESPN Stats & Information