Antti Niemi holds strong in first, Chicago up 2-0

If things keep going this way, Cinco de Mayo might become a holiday for Finnish goalies too. Tuukka Rask provided outstanding goaltending in the Bruins’ win against the Flyers while fellow countrymen Antti Niemi came up big for Chicago in the first period.

The Blackhawks hold a 2-0 lead largely because their goalie is outplaying Vancouver’s. Niemi’s 16 saves had a high degree of difficulty, particularly one he made when Daniel Sedin found himself alone in front of the Chicago net. Roberto Luongo, on the other hand, is clearly struggling so far. Both of the goals he allowed came because he’s having trouble controlling rebounds, with Dustin Byfuglien’s powerplay goal being an especially bad case.

The Canucks actually controlled much of the play in the period but still haven’t punctured Niemi. It might take a little while for things to pick up for Vancouver, though, as they will need to serve yet another Too Many Men on the Ice penalty to start the second period. There is one bit of good “news” though; apparently the Canucks are 3-0 so far in the playoffs when giving up the game’s first goal.

One other noteworthy moment came when Daniel Sedin and Dave Bolland got into a little skirmish during a Canucks powerplay. The two low-key forwards exchanged some fisticuffs and trash talk, with Sedin being agitated enough to keep flapping his jaws while in the penalty box. Something tells me the Blackhawks will take that Bolland-for-Sedin trade-off every single time, though.

Scroll Down For:

    WATCH LIVE: Wild at Blackhawks; Penguins at Sharks

    Scott Darling, Charlie Coyle
    Leave a comment

    Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?

    We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.

    Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.

    Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks


    Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks


    Bolland back in, Bjugstad out with injury for Panthers

    Evgeny Medvedev, Nick Bjugstad
    Leave a comment

    Message sent or not via healthy scratches or not, Dave Bolland returns to the Florida Panthers mix on Tuesday.

    Unfortunately for the Panthers, it’s maybe not under the most ideal circumstances, as part of the explanation for his return is Nick Bjugstad‘s absence.

    The Miami Herald’s George Richards reports that Bjugstad is out tonight against the St. Louis Blues with an upper-body injury that he suffered during a Monday practice.

    In fact, as you can see in the tweet above, the young forward was sent home because of the injury.

    This forces some shuffling, with Vincent Trocheck moving up to the second line while Bolland centers the third combo as usual.

    The Panthers are currently on a two-game winning streak and visit St. Louis as the second date in a five-game road trip.

    This is also the early part of a span in which they play nine of 10 games on the road (counting Sunday’s away win), so a prolonged absence from Bjugstad could sting that much more.


    Royal pain: Kings’ Greene to have shoulder surgery, out indefinitely

    Jiri Hudler, Matt Greene
    Leave a comment

    The Los Angeles Kings lost one of their most veteran defensemen on Tuesday, as the club announced Matt Greene would be out indefinitely following shoulder surgery.

    Greene, 32, had only appeared in three games this season, missing extensive time with the ailment. He had recently resumed skating with teammates and looked to be on the way back to a return, but never got to the point where he was participating in drills, or taking contact.

    With Greene out of the lineup, the Kings have primarily gone with a six-man defensive unit of Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin, Alec Martinez, Christian Ehrhoff, Jamie McBain and Brayden McNabb. Derek Forbort and Jeff Schultz have also been in the mix, but sparingly.

    If Greene misses extensive time, L.A. could be in the market for a defenseman come trade deadline day, like they were last year before acquiring Andrej Sekera from Carolina. Greene is one of the most playoff-tested players on the L.A. roster, with 79 games and two Stanley Cups on his resume (and another Stanley Cup Final, with Edmonton in 2006).

    Looks like the Canucks will have an interesting lineup tonight

    Leave a comment

    The Vancouver Canucks got banged up last night in Anaheim. As a result, it looks like they’ll have an interesting lineup tonight in Los Angeles.

    Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed this morning that wingers Chris Higgins and Jake Virtanen were hurt and wouldn’t dress against the Kings.

    In game-day line rushes, AHL callup Andrey Pedan, a defenseman, was skating on the wing with Jared McCann and Radim Vrbata.

    But hold on, that doesn’t necessarily mean Pedan will make his NHL debut tonight. This morning, the Canucks announced they’d called up d-man Alex Biega from AHL Utica. Theoretically, inserting Biega could allow the offensively inclined Yannick Weber to move up to forward. Biega and Weber both shoot right. Pedan shoots left.

    But wait, there exists another possibility — that both Pedan and Biega could play. That will depend on Chris Tanev‘s status. He got banged up yesterday as well, though he was able to skate this morning.

    Confused? It’s OK. So is everyone.

    As an aside, the Canucks not only got banged up last night, they also got pushed around and embarrassed in a 4-0 loss to the Ducks.

    On that note, here’s what Pedan did to Jarred Tinordi in a Utica-Hamilton game last season: