Tomas Plekanec backs up big words with OT winner

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“Tomas who? Jagr?” [Jose] Theodore said, referring to five-time scoring champion Jaromir Jagr, Plekanec’s Olympic teammate with the Czech Republic. “Oh, Plekanec, okay. I thought you meant Jagr.” (from the Washington Post)

Journalism professors discourage you from using “quote leads” but being that I’m writing this in my underwear, I think that I’ve broken most of the rules anyway.

Tomas Plekanec lives by one rule, it seems, though: “If you’re going to talk the talk, walk the walk.” The soon-to-be-unrestricted free agent put his money where his mouth is, scoring a beautiful overtime game winning goal thanks in part to some loose defense by the Washington Capitals. You may remember that Plekanec talked some trash about Jose Theodore (at least in relation to Canadiens goalie Jaroslav Halak), so I obviously said that the player better produce. And, obviously, he did … big time.

As much credit as Plekanec deserves, the gold star belongs to the goalie he pumped up, Halak. The restricted-free-agent-to-be took his first steps toward a huge payday by making 45 saves to help Montreal upset Washington 3-2 in overtime.

People are going to slam the Capitals for the loss, but it’s only one game and the Habs really put together a scrappy effort. Sure, Mike Green had some low moments, but he also blocked 8 shots. Obviously going down 1-0 isn’t good, but Capitals fans can be heartened by the fact that their supporting cast nearly won them the game despite the fact that the team’s stars struggled. For instance: both Eric Fehr and Mike Knuble put up 7 shots and role players came up with plenty of chances. 

So, yes, the Capitals can do better, but it’s not all bad news. Again, it’s just one game. One very surprising game, but still, it’s just 1-0. 

More on Alex Ovechkin and the Canadiens-Capitals series tomorrow …

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    Things might be turning around for Lundqvist (not so much for the Kings)

    LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13:  Marian Gaborik #12 of the Los Angeles Kings shakes hands with Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers after the Kings 3-2 double-overtime victory during Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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    As you likely know, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles this weekend. If the Kings don’t get it together, that might be the biggest hockey event for some time, as they’re currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

    Monday presented what felt like a story of one cold streak continuing to fade away while the other only seems to get icier.

    The positive side: Henrik Lundqvist might just be working through that slump.

    The New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday, and it wasn’t a walk in the park for Lundqvist. He made 36 out of 38 stops, giving him a personal three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed just four total goals.

    Some of those stops were pretty impressive, too:

    (He also shut down a Jeff Carter breakaway, which is obviously no easy task.)

    While Lundqvist is getting it together, the Kings might just be a little worried after dropping their fourth straight loss.

    They’re at 48 points in 47 games, leaving them three points behind the West’s two wild card teams and two behind the Canucks.

    The Kings have experience fighting through challenges like these, but they’ve also fallen short of getting into the West’s top eight, and their schedule is awfully road-heavy:

    Tuesday: at Devils
    Thursday: at Hurricanes
    Tuesday, Jan. 31: at Coyotes
    Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Avalanche
    Saturday, Feb. 4: at Flyers
    Sunday, Feb. 5: at Capitals
    Tuesday, Feb. 7: at Lightning
    Thursday, Feb. 9: at Panthers

    Some of those opponents are struggling and the All-Star break might allow for a breather, but that could still be a problematic stretch, especially if the Kings are in a fragile state.

    Then again, if they look at Lundqvist’s upward trend, they can note that fortunes can change pretty quickly in 2016-17.

    Nick Jonas, Carly Rae Jepsen add legit star power to 2017 NHL All-Star Game

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 03:  Carly Rae Jepsen performs at the the Human Rights Campaign National Dinner at Walter E. Washington Convention Center on October 3, 2015 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Leigh Vogel/Getty Images)
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    If you had to describe the non-hockey celebrities who will be on hand for the weekend’s festivities for the 2017 NHL All-Star Game, you’d probably throw around terms like “young” and “surprisingly famous.”

    At least, that’s especially true with the artists who’ve been announced most recently: the league notes that Nick Jonas, Fifth Harmony and Carly Rae Jepsen will be in the mix.

    Apparently John Legend Robin Thicke and John Ondrasik (Five fo Fighting) will be involved in the events, which also include The NHL 100 (which is hosted by Jon Hamm). Goodness, most of us have heard of like, all of them.

    The league ran down how things will shake up:

    Carly Rae Jepsen will open the 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game pregame festivities at STAPLES Center on Sunday, Jan. 29 with a performance of the Canadian national anthem followed by Fifth Harmony’s rendition of the U.S. national anthem. Grammy nominated recording artist, Nick Jonas, will command the ice during the second intermission with a live performance. The NHL will honor the 100 Greatest NHL Players in a special pregame ceremony. The 2017 Honda NHL® All-Star Game and the performances will be broadcast live on Sunday, Jan. 29 at 12:30 p.m. PT / 3:30 p.m. ET on NBC in the U.S. and CBC, Sports and TVA Sports in Canada.

    As previously announced, Hamm will host THE NHL100™ presented by GEICO, a star-studded event in which the entire collection of the 100 Greatest NHL Players will be unveiled. Set for Friday, Jan. 27 at 6:30 p.m. PT and billed as the largest gathering ever of hockey legends, THE NHL100 presented by GEICO at Microsoft Theater also will feature appearances from 2017 NHL® All-Star players and famous hockey fans. Legend and Ondrasik will perform and Thicke will lead a special In Memoriam that pays tribute to the late members of the 100 Greatest NHL Players. Tickets to THE NHL100™ presented by GEICO are available at AXS.com.

    Being that those musicians generally fall under the “pop” category, some in the purest sense that it’s used right now, there were some making fun of that selection. This is the Internet, after all, where everything receives mockery. Is there a mockery-proof musician?

    (Radiohead certainly draws Kid Rock ire, for one.)

    These are some pretty good gets by the NHL for such an event, maybe aided by it taking place in Los Angeles.

    The burning question, really, is if this weekend will break the Twitter follower tie between Jepsen and Jonas:

    Maybe they’ll go to a shootout.

    Video: Giordano goes after Komarov following big hit on Gaudreau

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    Johnny Gaudreau returned very soon after all of this, so at the moment, it seems like the Calgary Flames dodged a big bullet on Monday night.

    That bullet came in the form of a big hit by Toronto Maple Leafs winger Leo Komarov, a check that did not prompt a penalty, but is inspiring plenty of debate on social media. The Athletic’s James Mirtle puts it well, at least for those of us on the fence: “as with a lot of Komarov hits, it’s in a grey area.”

    Again, the best news is that Gaudreau was able to return (though sometimes issues like these demand a “To be continued”), shocking quite a few.

    There’s some debate about the legality of the hit, but most seem perplexed that Mark Giordano‘s response didn’t prompt fighting majors. Instead, they were merely whistled for roughing.

    You can watch the full sequence in the video above. Here’s a GIF of the fight roughing specifically:

    At the moment, the Leafs hold a commanding 3-0 lead. Maybe the Flames will use that sequence to start a comeback?

    Leafs fall down on the job – in a good way – on Kadri’s 100th goal (Video)

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    You know how athletes – hockey players in particular – have a tendency to shrug off their own accomplishments and spread the praise to their teammates? Nazem Kadri would be justified in doing that “Aww shucks” routine regarding his 100th goal.

    Just bask in the effort exhibited by his teammates in setting up what was a very nice finish by Kadri for that milestone marker, which you can see in the video above.

    Leafs Nation’s Jeff Veillette did a nice job describing the efforts of Auston Matthews and William Nylander

    Pretty much.

    Now get your click’s worth with one other entertaining clip from the game, via Mitch Marner: