Pre-season quick recaps – September 24th

Here’s your recap of tonight’s pre-season action. Get the foil on because thizetterberg4.jpgngs got a bit rambunctious tonight, especially in San Jose.

Detroit 3 – Chicago 2

Plus: Detroit’s stars took care of business. Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist while Tomas Holmstrom added a goal and Jimmy Howard played well in a quiet effort over 40 minuts. Jeremy Morin and Brandon Pirri each had a goal and an assist for Chicago.

Minus: Hawks left wing Brandon Bollig managed to get a -2 rating while playing just 6:54 of the game. The trip back to Rockford will be a stinging one.

Nashville 2 – Carolina 1

Plus: Jordin Tootoo scored the eventual game-winning goal in this game. Tootoo scoring at all is reason enough to be a plus. Patrick O’Sullivan scored for Carolina and impressed onlookers overall with his play. That’s a good sign for Carolina. Canes rookie Jeff Skinner had an assist.

Minus: Mark Dekanich allowed the only goal the Preds gave up in this one. One of his competitors for the backup job in Nashville, Anders Lindback, stopped all 10 shots he faced in 30 minutes of work.

Philadelphia 4 – Toronto 3 (F/SO)

Plus: Nikolai Zherdev had two goals for Philadelphia, a welcome sign for the Flyers. Kris Versteeg had a goal and an assist for the Leafs while Dion Phaneuf and Phil Kessel also scored. Kessel should’ve had two goals on the night, but…

Minus: On-ice officials wrongly waived off what would’ve been a game-winning goal in overtime by Kessel. Since it’s pre-season there was no instant replay to overturn the call. Hey, it’s preseason for everyone.

comrie-letetsu.jpgPittsburgh 5 – Columbus 4

Plus: Lots of goals from Penguins regulars in this one, including another from Mike Comrie. Tomas Kubalik had a hat trick for Columbus.

Minus: Mathieu Garon stopping 24 out of 29 shots isn’t encouraging. Garon is slated to be Steve Mason’s backup goalie this year. Brent Johnson stopped just 18 out of 21 in 40 minutes of work.

Montreal 4 – Ottawa 2

Plus: Andrei Kostitsyn getting on the board for Montreal is encouraging. Without his brother around, some are worried he’ll struggle. P.K. Subban also scored for the Habs. Mike Fisher had a goal for Ottawa. Montreal fans managed to not boo Scott Gomez for wearing Saku Koivu’s old number 11 or any goalies tonight. Well done, fans.

Minus: Pascal Leclaire went the full 60 minutes and stopped 24 out of 28 shots. Meh.

St. Louis 5 – Minnesota 0

Plus: Ty Conklin was stellar stopping 21 in the shutout while David Perron and Alex Steen had two goals a piece.

Minus: Josh Harding left the game with an apparent knee injury. Minnesota again looked rough in defeat, something fans in St. Paul hope isn’t a sign of things to come.

Dallas 2 – Colorado 1

Plus: Kari Lehtonen looked good in his first action of the pre-season stopping 34 shots in the win. James Neal and Steve Ott had the goals for the Stars.Colorado only gave up 21 shots on goal in this game. Baby steps.

Minus: The Avs managed to turn the shot totals around in this game only to run into a ready-to-play Lehtonen. Them’s the breaks I suppose.

Anaheim 5 – San Jose 4

aaronvoros2.jpgPlus: Corey Perry had a power play hat trick for the Ducks while Ryan Getzlaf added four assists. San Jose threw a Finnish duo at Anaheim in this one. Antti Niemi started while newest favorite name candidate Harri Sateri closed it out. The goals served to be a secondary treat as the teams combined for 144 penalty minutes in a fracas-filled affair.

Minus: Neither Niemi nor Sateri were very inspiring in their efforts for San Jose. Curtis McElhinney and Timo Pielmeier were just as offensive in net for Anaheim. Despite scoring a hat trick, Corey Perry managed to be a -3 in the game. You don’t get a + rating when scoring on the power play.

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    Video: Game 4 overtime between Sharks and Predators has been utter chaos

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    Overtime between the Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks in Game 4 has been, simply put, crazy.

    Take, for instance, this goal-mouth scramble around the Predators crease in which Joel Ward couldn’t convert on the wrap-around and the sequence turned into a full-on scrum as players for both teams fought desperately to either score or somehow keep the puck out of the net. Somehow, the puck stays out.

    The Predators need a win to even the series. The Sharks can put the Predators on the brink of elimination with a win.

    Oh, and the controversial video review as the Sharks thought they had the winner, as Joe Pavelski swept the puck into the net after a collision with Pekka Rinne.

    Here’s an explanation from the NHL Situation Room:

    At 7:34 of overtime in the Sharks/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach’s Challenge to review the “Interference on the Goalkeeper” decision that resulted in a “no goal” call.

    After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed that San Jose’s Joe Pavelski made incidental contact with Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne before the puck crossed the goal line, preventing Rinne from doing his job in the crease.

    Therefore the original call stands – no goal San Jose Sharks.

    Cody Eakin plays unlikely hero as Stars even series with Blues thanks to OT win

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    Needing a win to even the series with the St. Louis Blues, the Dallas Stars didn’t get off to the greatest start Thursday.

    On a rather embarrassing play in the first period of a crucial Game 4, the Stars were caught on the television feed clearly with six skaters on the ice, but still surrendered a breakaway goal on a stretch pass to a wide open Vladimir Tarasenko — 1-0 Blues. Again, not a great start for the Stars.

    Sometimes in hockey, it’s apparently not always about how you start but how you finish. The Stars gained strength during the second period on goals from Radek Faksa and Patrick Sharp just 1:09 apart. Early in overtime, Cody Eakin scored his first goal of these playoffs to give the Stars a 3-2 win.

    This series is now tied heading back to Dallas for Game 5. For the Blues, it’s a missed opportunity to put the high-flying Stars on the brink of elimination.

    Eakin snapped a 17-game scoring drought that stretched into late-March of the regular season by going top shelf, short side of Blues goalie Brian Elliott just 2:58 into the extra period.

    Jamie Benn and Patrick Sharp each had two-point nights for Dallas, assisting on the game winning goal.

     

    In a series billed as Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin, the supporting cast is taking over for Penguins, Capitals

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    PITTSBURGH — The well-traveled defenseman filling in for his team’s most indispensable player scored the first goal. The seemingly ageless center closing in on his 40th birthday scored the second. And the winger who makes a living trying to create space for Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby delivered the overtime winner that brought the Penguins within one victory of a spot in the Eastern Conference finals.

    Sure, the stars might be out in the NHL’s marquee playoff matchup. They’re just not the ones shining.

    Pittsburgh’s 3-2 thriller over top-seeded Washington in Game 4 on Wednesday night did more than give the Penguins a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. It also highlighted the depth the club has spent months cultivating around Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang.

    Trevor Daley skated more than 28 minutes and picked up his first postseason goal in more than two years while serving the ironman role typically filled by Letang, serving a one-game suspension for an illegal hit in Game 3. Matt Cullen, who at 39 has openly wondered if he wants to return in the fall, slipped behind the Washington defense to give the Penguins a 2-1 lead. Patric Hornqvist, who spends most of time suction-cupped to a spot in front of the opposing goaltender, pounced on a loose puck 2:34 into overtime and slammed it by Braden Holtby to end Pittsburgh’s eight-game playoff losing streak in games pushed beyond regulation.

    Related: Trevor Daley  is ‘in a good place’ now 

    Heady territory for guys considered mere supporting players when the second-ever playoff showdown between Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin began last week.

    “I think there’s a great chemistry amongst the team that we have right now,” Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said. “To see these guys play as hard as they do for one another as their coaches, it’s a thrill.”

    Washington coach Barry Trotz tried to downplay the hype between two of the NHL’s most dynamic players in the run-up to Game 1, stressing there were much more to the longtime rivals than their franchise cornerstones.

    Trotz was more right than he knew, only it’s Pittsburgh’s role players who have pushed the Presidents’ Trophy winners to the brink of elimination. Cullen’s two points during the series equal Malkin’s output. Hornqvist has three points through four games, two more than Crosby, though the two-time MVP occupied Holtby’s attention just long enough that the goaltender couldn’t get in proper position to stop the Game 4 winner.

    “(Hornqvist) does a lot of the thankless things that help this team be successful,” Sullivan said. “To see him get rewarded in overtime for us is a thrill.”

    The Capitals powered their way to the NHL’s best record behind spectacular goaltending from Holtby, a league-leading 50 goals from Ovechkin and a potent power play. All three have taken a significant step back against Pittsburgh. Penguins rookie Matt Murray has been every bit Holtby’s equal, Ovechkin’s 21 shots have produced a single goal and Washington is just 1 for 12 with the man advantage.

    Though John Carlson, Jay Beagle and Marcus Johansson have tried to pick up the slack, the Capitals are now on the verge of succumbing to an all too familiar result in the spring.

    Trotz pointed to Letang’s absence in Game 4 as an opportunity Washington needed to exploit. Instead, Daley patrolled the blue line and quarterbacked the power play in Letang’s stead while Justin Schultz – playing for the first time in more than two weeks – was solid in his return.

    “The other guys were good, too,” Backstrom said. “I feel like they’re a good team. It’s not going to be easy.”

    Especially playing a club getting contributions from all over, a far cry from the top-heavy roster that relied so heavily – usually too heavily – on Crosby and Malkin for production during recent postseason swoons.

    It’s symbolic of the way Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford rebuilt Pittsburgh since taking over in the summer of 2014 that neither Daley nor Schultz were around when the season began. Then again, they’re hardly alone. Only a handful of players remain from the group that skated off the ice following a Game 7 loss to New York in the second round two years ago, a series the Penguins had led 3-1.

    That setback is still fresh in the mind of Crosby and the others who remain. At the same time, most of the guys who surround Crosby in the dressing room won’t carry that baggage into Game 5 on Saturday night in Washington. This is, in many ways, feels like a fresh start filled with fresh faces, even if some are less well-known than others.

    “We’ve always found ways to get the job done,” Daley said. “That’s what this team’s been all about. We always found ways to get it done. We started it awhile ago and it’s continuing on.”

     

    Report: Ducks interested in Travis Green for vacant head coaching job

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    Travis Green seems to be gaining increased attention for available head coaching jobs in the NHL, and the Anaheim Ducks, who fired Bruce Boudreau after a first-round playoff loss, are reportedly interested.

    That’s according to a report from Elliotte Friedman during Thursday’s broadcast of Game 4 between the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars.

    Green helped guide the Utica Comets, AHL affiliate of the Vancouver Canucks, to an appearance in the Calder Cup final a year ago. The Comets were, however, eliminated in the opening round of the post-season this year.

    “I think I’m ready,” Green, who has spent the last three seasons in Utica, said recently. “Every job in the NHL is worth its weight in gold, and I would have 100 per cent interest at options with every team in the league. You hope all your qualities are enticing for one of them.”

    Related: With four vacancies, the NHL  coaching carousel is ‘spinning out of control’