Penguins use power play to take early 3-1 lead

The Washington Capitals scored just one power play goal in 33 chances in the first round against the Canadiens, a puzzling part of the big reason why the top ranked team is no longer in the playoffs. There was doubt as to whether Jaroslav Halak and the Habs’ defense could stay that hot in the second round against Pittsburgh. Through 30 minutes of Game 1 between the Canadiens and Penguins, it’s beginning to look like either the Habs caught lightning in a bottle or the Penguins are just really, really good.

The Penguins have taken advantage of three power play goals to overcome an early 1-0 deficit, doing what the Capitals never could: solve the penalty kill of the Canadiens. The Penguins have used crisp and sure passing and some laser shots to overcome the shot blocking finesse of the Habs, and it’s paid off early.

Some other quick notes:

Marc-Andre Fleury has made a number of nice saves, but once again has found himself out of position on a number of occasions. The Canadiens should feel good about their chances for at least staying in the game if they can just put some pressure on the Penguins.

Sidney Crosby left the ice with a nasty cut on his chin after being high-sticked. He returned a bit later with stitches, never missing a beat on the ice.

Bettman to players: Don’t screw up ‘once-in-a-lifetime opportunity’ with drugs

Gary Bettman
Leave a comment

The NHL wants to take an educational approach — not a punitive one — to deter its players from using illicit drugs like cocaine.

“My interest is not to go around punishing people,” Bettman told Sportsnet today.

“My interest is getting players to understand the consequences of doing something that could jeopardize this great, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they’ve been given, to play in the NHL.”

While some players have expressed surprise at hearing that cocaine use is growing, the anecdotal evidence of substance abuse has been very much in the news, from Jarret Stoll‘s arrest to Mike Richards’ arrest to, more recently, Zack Kassian‘s placement in the NHL/NHLPA’s treatment program.

“We don’t have the unilateral right to do things here. We need the consent of the Players’ Association,” Bettman said. “It’s not about punishment. It’s about making sure we get it to stop.”

Related: Cocaine in the NHL: A concern, but not a crisis?

Goalie nods: Jones makes Sharks debut against ex-Kings mates

Martin Jones
1 Comment

News and notes from around the crease…

Jones goes for San Jose

Martin Jones, acquired by the Sharks this summer, will make his first regular-season start for the club tonight against his old team — the Los Angeles Kings.

Jones, 25, spent the last two years in L.A. as Jonathan Quick‘s understudy. He was flipped to Boston at the NHL Entry Draft, then shipped to San Jose. Sharks GM Doug Wilson wasted little time locking Jones in — signing him to a three-year, $9 million extension — and Jones wasted little time locking up the No. 1 gig, putting together a stellar preseason.

For the Kings, Quick will get the start in goal.

Markstrom out for Vancouver

Jacob Markstrom wasn’t scheduled to start for the Canucks tonight — No. 1 Ryan Miller is getting the call — but the Swedish ‘tender won’t even dress when his club takes on the Flames in Calgary.

Markstrom suffered a lower-body injury at practice this week and is being held out of tonight’s action. In his place, the Canucks called up AHL netminder Richard Bachman, who’ll serve as Miller’s backup.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo is the opening-night starter.


Habs at Leafs: Carey Price vs. Jonathan Bernier

Rangers at ‘Hawks: Henrik Lundqvist vs. Corey Crawford