Here’s a bit of scattered injury news from around the NHL. I didn’t come across much for Detroit and San Jose, but you will be informed if anything particularly noteworthy surfaces.
Updates on Andrei Markov, Jaroslav Spacek
There was some scuttlebutt about Andrei Markov possibly playing in the playoffs again despite “an unspecified knee injury,” but Habs Inside/Out flags down that rumor. The same entry also touches on the other Jaroslav (Spacek) in Montreal.
First, to toss a little cold water on those expecting an imminent return of Canadiens defenceman Andrei Markov, who left Game 1 with an unspecified (knee) injury:
Habs head coach Jacques Martin says that Markov is on this trip simply because the team’s entire medical staff is here, and it’s easier for him to continue to undergo treatment here than in Montreal.
Defenceman Jaro Spacek is getting closer to a return, but he’s not there yet.
Jordan Staal building confidence, the Penguins’ possible lineup for tonight
Earlier I mentioned that Bill Guerin will most likely be in Pittsburgh’s lineup. Pensburgh’s game preview post points out that Jordan Staal grew more and more comfortable as Game 4 went along and may be able to play more minutes in tonight’s games. These two factors, plus a few probable shuffles when it comes to healthy scratches, could make for an altered Penguins lineup. Here’s the forward lines from the day’s morning skate, which could very well be who the team puts on the ice for tonight’s game (also from Pensburgh).
I’ve been impressed with Letestu from the limited amount I’ve seen him play (and not just because I enjoy calling him “Letestube Baby”). It’s a big game for both the Penguins and the Canadiens so we’ll see if Dan Bylsma’s adjustments pay off.
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.
Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:
Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).
If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.
You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.
The pain goes beyond that … literally so.
For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.
(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)
The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.
Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.