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From the Branches: Back to last place

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After a rare Saturday night without a Leafs game the team has been bumped way down the league rankings.

"Last place in hockey, but first place in Species' heart. And many of his other body parts."
"Last place in hockey, but first place in Species' heart. And many of his other body parts."
Paul Bereswill/Getty Images

Wins by the Avalanche, Sabres, and Hurricanes vaulted all three teams above the Leafs in the standings. The Blue Jackets lost last night and remain tied with The Leafs at 25 points, though with 3 (!) games in hand they are technically in second last place.

Marlies 4, Crunch 3 (OT) - Pension Plan Puppets
In the absence of a Leafs' game recap, why not read about the baby Leafs?

Jonathan Bernier's probably still a good goalie - Pension Plan Puppets
Lots of good goalies have a bad season at some point in their career. They usually bounce back.

Don't forget to vote! Leo Komarov is holding at 9th in the Atlantic Division, and is the 6th ranked forward. James Reimer is 12th overall in the Atlantic, and is the 2nd ranked goalie. Let's send Leo and James to the all-star game!

PPP to hold Reddit AMA with /r/Leafs - Pension Plan Puppets
We're partnering with /r/Leafs to run a PPP AMA this week. Here's the details.

Last Night's Games

How not to call the game winning goal

DAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW

Is Kuznetsov Ovi's successor in Washington?

Someone broke their stick crosschecking Remaldo. I'm OK with this

Those goal hugs can be dangerous!

Zibanejad has an even worse haircut than Bernier.

I am guessing AO3 has at least 10 fanfics involving this kiss since it happened 12 hours ago.

The Blues honoured their ex-Captains last night. 11 of the 20 made it to the ceremony.

Game Recaps

Spooner's Two Goals Carry Bruins over Panthers - Stanley Cup of Chowder
The Bruins played a 60-minute, 200-ft game of hockey, and Ryan Spooner added two goals for a divisional win at home on Saturday.

Canadiens vs Senators: The losing streak is over - Eyes On The Prize
The Canadiens came out blazing and the Senators came out historically flat. The losing streak is over.

Beagle and Kuznetsov More Than Enough - Japers' Rink
Early goals from Jay Beagle and Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Capitals ahead and in control of the contest as they beat their hosts 2-1 in Tampa.

Sabres oust Kings in OT 2-1 - Die By The Blade
The Sabres win in an overtime thriller against one of the NHL's top teams.

O Captain, Our Captain - St. Louis Game Time
On Captain's Night, David Backes Shows Why He Is Our Leader

Halak, video review, Okposo's pair saves Islanders - Lighthouse Hockey
The New York Islanders extended their point streak to nine games with yet another tight match that required extra time, but this time they finished the job -- and extended their run to 7-0-2 -- in overtime.

Avalanche Defeat Predators - Mile High Hockey
The Norwegian Legion aka The Lord of Fjörcheck aka Andreas Martinsen

With T.J. Brodie OT Goal, Calgary Flames Win 9 In A Row At Home - Matchsticks and Gasoline
Despite the defensive breakdown late in the game, the Flames came through to win 9 consecutive games at home.

Kuemper shuts out Sharks in 2-0 Wild win in San Jose - Hockey Wilderness
In the end of the goalie duel it was Darcy Kuemper raising his arms in victory.

Hurricanes 5, Coyotes 4 - OT - Canes Country
Canes blow three goal lead in third period but survive on Rask goal in overtime

World Juniors

Canada's World Junior selection camp wraps up today and some camp coverage has already started to trickle out.

Team Canada invitee Jakob Chychrun could break through the age barrier and crack the roster | National Post
Scouts consider the 6-foot-2 Chychrun, who has 22 points in 28 games for the Sarnia Sting, the best defenceman in his age group

Draft eligible Canadian juniors have plenty to prove | Toronto Star
For defenceman Jakob Chychrun and forwards Julien Gauthier and Pierre-Luc Dubois, there is more than a gold medal on the line when the tournament begins Dec. 26.

Team Canada World Junior squad upset by CIS all-star team in exhibition game | National Post
Canada's world junior team may have been upset in an exhibition game, but they still see a lot of positives

Other News and Links

New NHL-NHLPA war brewing over expansion draft rules | New York Post
There likely are to be myriad issues, but specifically, the PA will insist players with no-move clauses be exempt from exposure to the draft.

Dylan Larkin makes early impact, could be Red Wings' next star - Detroit Free Press
Just a year ago, he was watching the Wings from the stands. Now the 19-year-old leads them in goals, the NHL in plus-minus.

Bob Crocker to receive Lester Patrick Trophy for career as scout - NHL.com
Crocker, affectionately called "The Dean of New England scouting," will be recognized with the Lester Patrick Trophy for outstanding service to hockey in the United States.

Bard Marchand: To shoot, or not to shoot? - Stanley Cup of Chowder
Brad Marchand is an accomplished bard. We have uncovered some of his works.

Penguins coaching change: Jim Rutherford loses his cool - PensBurgh
The Pittsburgh Penguins fired coach Mike Johnston, but it reflects more on GM Jim Rutherford than Johnston himself.