“So how’s your playoff beard doing?”
You can file that one away under “questions a hockey fan asks” and not get a funny look for doing so. Every April it’s the playoffs rite of passage and it’s something that’s solely unique to hockey. Seeing the beards grow in as the playoffs wear on is always a point of interest and sometimes mockery if you’re a certain captain of the defending Cup champions. Even playoff stalwarts like Martin Brodeur, who have previously gone sans coif in the playoffs, are growing one out this year. The beard is all the rage now and you don’t even need to be an annoying hipster to do it either.
Thankfully, Pittsburgh’s Seth Rorabaugh has all fans in mind when he crafted his Playoff Beard Preview for Empty Netters and some of the sights are truly incredible. If you’re looking for a reason to root for Buffalo, might I suggest Raffi Torres’ beard potential. If we can get something like what Torres had for Edmonton back in 2006, and have him go up against, say, Kris Draper and his beard for Detroit, we could have the ultimate shockingly red beard-off in the Finals.
With all that aside, the beard phenomenon is something teams have rushed to embrace. Pittsburgh, Washington, San Jose, Colorado and others are all doing their part to raise money for charity by having fans let their facial hair fly for the playoffs and if there’s anything anyone can get behind, it’s helping out for charity. Then again, you could just pull a nutty and make like Patrick Kane and opt to go for dirty hair in a different way by letting his inner Joe Dirt out and growing the all-time king of hockey hair: the mullet.
Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.
Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.
Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:
“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”
To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.
This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.
The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks will face-off in Game 2 on Sunday night. You can catch the game on NBCSN (8:00 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports Live Extra app.
The Sharks used a five-goal third period to squash the Predators in the opening game of the best-of-seven series. Game 2 at the Sharks Tank should be a whole lot of fun.
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Here’s some reading material to get you ready for the game:
—Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1
—Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1
—Are there similarities between the ’14 Sharks and ’16 Ducks?
The St. Louis Blues won’t be thrilled with the way they played in the third period, but in the end, they did just enough to come away with a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2. The Blues’ win means that the series will head to St. Louis tied 1-1.
The Stars opened the scoring in the first period, but the Blues responded by scoring three unanswered goals (Patrik Berglund, Joel Edmundson, Troy Brouwer) on five shots. Stars coach Lindy Ruff had seen enough from starter Kari Lehtonen at that point. He yanked Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi at the start of the second period.
Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period, but things got crazy in the third.
With his team still trailing 3-1, Mattias Janmark split Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko before scoring a great goal.
Moments after Janmark’s goal, Brian Elliott took a Jason Spezza blast off the mask. Elliott was shaken up on the play (he even lost one of his contact lenses), but he did stay in the game.
Stars captain Jamie Benn (surprise, surprise) leveled the score by burying a goal by Brian Elliott with under three minutes in regulation.
Like they did during their first round series against Chicago, the Blues took some time to regroup before finding a way to get the job done.
The Blues’ power play went back to work after Antoine Roussel took his third penalty of the game. That’s when the birthday boy, David Backes, came through.
That’s a nice way to celebrate your 32nd birthday.
Game 3 goes Tuesday night in St. Louis.
This definitely wasn’t the way the St. Louis Blues drew it up.
The Blues entered the third period of Game 2 with a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to shut the game down on the road.
St. Louis jumped ahead 3-1 after 20 minutes before Dallas decided to pull Kari Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi. The move didn’t provide any results in the middle frame, but something certainly sparked the Stars in the third period.
Mattias Janmark cut the deficit to 3-2 with this beauty (notice how he split Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo).
With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Stars captain Jamie Benn tied it up (top).
It’s safe to say this wasn’t a memorable third period for the Blues.