Preseason quick recaps – September 28th

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NHL.gifHere’s the recap of tonight’s preseason action. Soak it in.

Washington 3 – Boston 2

Plus: Alex Semin had a goal for Washington. Michael Neuvirth played well for the Caps in goal. Brad Marchand had a goal for Boston.

Minus: Alex Ovechkin got a bit grumpy in this one and exchanged some spirited words with Gregory Campbell. It also offered up this photo from Russian Machine Never Breaks that will surely get overanalyzed by everyone with access to a computer.

Buffalo 2 – Ottawa 1

Plus: Ryan Miller played the whole way and did well to earn the win. Jason Pominville scored the game-winner for the Sabres. Patrick Wiercioch scored Ottawa’s only goal.

Minus: Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner misplayed a puck on the small ice surface in Dundas, Ontario that lead to a Rob Niedermayer shorthanded goal. Oops. The rink was ten feet shorter in length and five feet lesser in width.

Pittsburgh 4 – Chicago 1

Plus: Evgeni Malkin played a strong game, adding a goal while Pens defenseman Paul Martin had two assists. Brent Johnson stopped 21 shots in the win. Kyle Beach continued his strong camp scoring Chicago’s lone goal.

Minus: Chicago goaltending was in rough shape tonight getting hung out to dry by their defense to the tune of 39 shots.

Columbus 3 – Minnesota 2 (F/SO)

Plus: Nikita Filatov had a strong game for the Jackets scoring in regulation and the shootout. Matt Cullen played well for the Wild scoring once.

Minus: Yes, another preseason shootout. Brutal. Just as brutal? The Wild. They rolled out what was essentially their opening night lineup against Columbus’ B/C team and still lost. Confidence is very low in Minnesota right now.

New Jersey 3 – Philadelphia 2

Plus: Ilya Kovalchuk played a great game and scored the eventual game-winning goal. Travis Zajac and Adam Mair also had goals for the Devils. Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist for Philly. Martin Brodeur stopped 26 in getting the win.

Minus: Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador left the game with an injury.

Colorado 2 – Dallas 1

Plus: Paul Stastny had both Colorado goals in the win. James Neal had Dallas’ lone goal. Peter Budaj stopped just 20 shots in the win.

Minus: Dallas’ offense for generating just 21 shots on goal against a Colorado team that’s been letting teams shoot at will in the preseason.

Calgary 3 – Phoenix 1

Plus: Jarome Iginla had a goal as did Niklas Hagman. Youngster T.J. Brodie had another goal for Calgary in the preseason. He’s doing well to impress coaches. Henrik Karlsson stopped 19 shots in the win.

Minus: Olli Jokinen left the game with an injury, but according to Coach Sutter, it’s a minor thing and he’ll be all right. Crisis averted.

Vancouver 3 – San Jose 1

Plus: Solid game all around for Vancouver getting scoring from all over the place. Cory Schneider bounced back well in goal stopping 23 shots for the win.

Minus: Antti Niemi looked a bit rough out there stopping just 19 shots in the loss. Canucks rookie wonder Cody Hodgson was buried on the fourth line by the end of this one, playing just 11:33 of this game. Can’t really get a good look at a player if he’s glued to the bench.

Los Angeles 8 – Anaheim 3

Plus: How about that Kings offense? Anze Kopitar had four assists, meanwhile Jack Johnson had two goals and an assist to lead the way for the Kings. Todd Marchant had two goals for Anaheim in a losing effort.

Minus: Everything the Ducks did tonight. Perhaps part of their evil plan was to make the Kings look so good they don’t want to send anyone to the AHL and then they get busted for a roster violation. Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 of the 42 shots he saw in this one. Ouch, babe.

Mike Smith is out with illness that is not the mumps, Coyotes say

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 07:  Goaltender Mike Smith #41 of the Arizona Coyotes during the preseason NHL game against San Jose Sharks at Gila River Arena on October 7, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Coyotes defeated the Sharks 3-1  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan reports that she was told Mike Smith is missing tonight’s game because of an illness that is not the mumps.

You may recognize “not the mumps” as the NHL’s version of letting out a barrage of coughs and then insisting the issue is not contagious.

Anyway, Smith is out tonight as the Arizona Coyotes visit the Stars in Dallas. With that, Louis Domingue gets the start while the team made an emergency recall of Adin Hill to be his backup.

A quick 411 on Hill: the 20-year-old goalie was the 76th pick in 2015 by the Coyotes. He’s put together some solid work after being promoted from the ECHL to the AHL this season, managing a respectable .916 save percentage in 26 games with the Tucson Roadrunners.

It’s been a tough season for Domingue (5-13-1, .895 save percentage, 3.29 GAA), so you almost wonder if the Coyotes are tempted to see how Hill would handle a little relief work.

Rare wave of injuries for Capitals as Oshie, Orpik are also out

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 02: Matt Niskanen #2 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammate T.J. Oshie #77 after scoring a third period goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Verizon Center on March 2, 2016 in Washington, DC.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Washington Capitals have been outright dominant this season, but there’s one opponent they haven’t faced very often: injuries.

They’ve been healthier than everyone else to an almost spooky extent in 2016-17, yet it seems like they’re dealing with a rash of ailments for the first time in a while.

The injury list for tonight’s game against the Edmonton Oilers appears to be: Matt Niskanen, Andre Burakovsky, Brooks Orpik and T.J. Oshie.

We already knew that Burakovsky will miss some time and that Niskanen was injured after colliding knee-to-knee with Radko Gudas. Oshie and Orpik are bigger surprises as far as their lineup goes. It seemed like Oshie took some significant hits against the Flyers in that same game that injured Niskanen, so maybe that’s the issue there?

Here’s what the Capitals lineup will look like, via the team itself:

The team labels Oshie’s injury as upper-body related while Orpik and Niskanen have lower-body issues. On the bright side, those three are all considered day-to-day.

Riley Barber makes his debut with all of these injury absences.

Predators are a wild card in more ways than one

NASHVILLE, TN - FEBRUARY 21:  Filip Forsberg #9 of the Nashville Predators is congratulated by teammates after scoring a hat trick against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Bridgestone Arena on February 21, 2017 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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The Nashville Predators have really earned the “wild card” moniker lately, even beyond holding the West’s first wild card spot.

Such a label could describe their up-and-down 2016-17 in general, and it might only intensify over the next few weeks.

Trade deadline players?

Nashville boasts Filip Forsberg, a guy with rare back-to-back hat tricks, not to mention other quality scorers such as James Neal, Ryan Johansen and diamond in the rough Viktor Arvidsson. (Their defensemen can produce points in buckets, too.)

But perhaps they can go from sporadically good to regular contender with that extra boost?

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes that the Predators could be in on talks to acquire Matt Duchene or “somebody big” at forward. Duchene, himself, might be tough to get:

That schedule, though

Honestly, the way their schedule looks, the Predators might need a shot in the arm.

Check out what they’re dealing with during the next few weeks:

Saturday: vs. Capitals
Sunday: vs. Oilers
Tuesday, Feb. 28: at Sabres
Thursday, March 2: at Canadiens
Saturday, March 4: vs. Blackhawks
Tuesday, March 7: at Ducks
Thursday, March 9: at Kings
Saturday, March 11: at Sharks
Monday, March 13: vs. Jets
Thursday, March 16: at Capitals
Saturday, March 18: at Hurricanes

That’s a rough mixture of tough opponents and road games, with even games against non-playoff teams being less than layups (the Hurricanes can beat you when they’re on point, for instance).

The Predators are in the first wild card spot. They’re also not far behind for the third seed in the Central, as the Blues hold a tiebreaker advantage over Nashville right now with both teams at 67 standings points.

That schedule could be an issue, however, for a team that’s been vulnerable to hitting highs and lows.

On the other hand, we’ve also seen hints of the dominant squad many penciled in as a possible contender in 2016-17. In a weakened West, the Predators remain a fascinating team to watch. That could be especially true in the near future.

‘Hawks nab Jurco in trade with Red Wings

Tomas Jurco
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The Chicago Blackhawks picked up some forward depth today, adding winger Tomas Jurco in a trade with the Detroit Red Wings.

In return, the ‘Hawks sent the Wings a third-round draft pick in 2017.

Jurco has only appeared in 16 games this season. He has no goals and no assists.

The 24-year-old was forced to undergo back surgery this past offseason.

“I could still play with it but the worst for me was sitting on the bench all the time,” Jurco said in November, per NHL.com. “Sometimes I’d have to get up and walk. Sometimes I’d stretch it. It was bad and I’ve been sitting a lot for the last couple of years on the bench. It was really tough but I’m glad it’s gone and I’m excited for a fresh start.”

A pending restricted free agent, Jurco’s cap hit is just $900,000.

In a corresponding move, the ‘Hawks assigned rookie forward Vinnie Hinostroza to the AHL.