Preseason quick recaps: September 29th

While the hockey world wasn’t treated to a Panthers-Hurricanes game thanks to a tropical storm, there were eight other games that only mattered a little bit tonight. Let’s take a look at them.

Nashville 4, Atlanta 3

Plus: It was a great night for the two teams’ power plays, as all but one connected for a goal (the Predators went 2 for 3 while the Thrashers went 1 for 1). Martin Erat stood out with two goals and one assist while Ryan Suter put together a nice one goal, one assist game. Johnny Oduya provided two assists for the Thrashers.

Minus: A fantastic night for a team’s PP comes at the expense of the PK unit, so Nashville stopped 0 percent and Atlanta shut down 33 percent of the man advantages (it’s fun to play with tiny samples, right?).

NY Rangers 5, Detroit 1

Plus: Henrik Lundqvist had a great game, turning away 34 of 35 shots. Ruslan Fedtenko continues his preseason hot streak with two assists in this one. Marian Gaborik scoring a goal and assist is one thing, but Derek Stepan’s one goal, one assist performance might help him make the team.

Minus: The Red Wings were pretty flat in this one, probably because they’re aware that this is the preseason. Still, losing a game 5-1 when you never allow more than 10 SOG in one period is a little troubling.

Philadelphia 3, NY Islanders 1

Plus: Jeff Carter put up two goals while the humorously named Sergei Bobrovsky put together another nice performance, stopping 32 out of 33 shots.

Minus: Of course, the Flyers did it against the Islanders B-team, which is a lot like player a normal NHL squad’s C-team.

Washington 4, Boston 1

Plus: The Capitals rested Alex Ovechkin, so Nicklas Backstrom took it upon himself to score two goals. Jason Chimera produced two assists in this one.

Minus: The Capitals only had 10 shots going into the third period (6 in the first, 4 in the second) while the Bruins only had 15. Not exactly the height of competition, right there.

Toronto 4, Ottawa 3

Plus: Whipping boy of the moment Nazem Kadri scored two goals and added one assist, including Toronto’s only even strength goal. The Leafs power play produced three goals and nine opportunities. This game produced this hysterical fight.

Minus: Senators fans hoping for the best from Pascal Leclaire this season probably want to ignore this one, as the buck-toothed goalie allowed four goals on only 19 shots.

Edmonton 4, Phoenix 3 (SO)

Plus: Ilya Bryzgalov earned the game’s star presumably by not being totally awful. Petr Prucha produced two assists while Scottie Upshall had a goal and an assist. Dustin Penner and Ales Hemsky scored shootout goals to help the Oilers win the game.

Minus: Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers was pulled at the half-way mark in the game, leading many to wonder if he might get waived soon.

Calgary 3, NY Islanders 2

Plus: Rick DiPietro played in this game without his knee exploding, which makes his tepid 12-for-15 performance easier to stomach. Meanwhile Miikka Kiprusoff was solid in 40 minutes of duty (15 of 16 shots stopped).

Minus: Sure, the Flames won, but they beat half of the Islanders team. I wouldn’t get too excited about it.

San Jose 6, Vancouver 2

Plus: The Sharks dominated this game, particularly on the man advantage with four power-play goals. Dany Heatley, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski each scored one goal and one assist while Joe Thornton provided two assists. Raffi Torres scored two goals and Dan Hamhuis produced two assists for Vancouver.

Minus: Christian Ehrhoff attempted to start a fight, apparently inspired by Alex Kovalev.

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    NHL on NBCSN: Banged-up Lightning continue push for playoff spot against ‘Hawks

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    NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Tampa Bay Lightning host the Chicago Blackhawks at 7:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.

    Despite the crazy amount of injuries that the Lightning have suffered (Steven Stamkos, Tyler Johnson, Ryan Callahan, Cedric Paquette and Jason Garrison are all out), they find themselves within striking distance of a post-season berth.

    Coming into tonight’s tilt against the ‘Hawks, the Bolts are three points behind Boston for the final Wild Card spot in the East. The Lightning have a game in hand on the Bruins, but Boston has five more regulation/overtime wins.

    After dropping a 5-3 decision to Arizona on home ice last Tuesday, they rebounded by beating the B’s and Wings on the road on Thursday and Friday.

    One of the big reasons why the Lightning have been able to stay in the race, is because of  the way Nikita Kucherov has played this season.

    On Friday, with the Bolts trailing the Wings 1-0 in the third period, Kucherov helped set up Ondrej Palat‘s game-tying goal before adding the OT winner later on.

    The 23-year-old is up to 38 goals and 40 assists in 67 games. He’s accumulated 29 of those points in his last 16 games and he’s put together four multi-point efforts in a row.

    If the Bolts make it to the playoffs, is Kucherov the MVP?

    Don’t expect the Blackhawks to be in a particularly good mood coming into this game. Not only did they drop Saturday night’s game in Florida, but they were absolutely annihilated, 7-0.

    “There’s no reason we should be entirely satisfied at this point,” captain Jonathan Toews said after the loss, per the Chicago Tribune. “There’s always room to grow.

    “We can’t expect it’s going to be easy hockey (the) last seven games. If we continue to play like that and think we’re going to turn it on come playoff time, we’ve got another thing coming.”

    The Blackhawks had a bit of a rough week, as they lost 5-4 in OT to the Canucks on Tuesday before narrowly beating the Stars 3-2 in a shootout on Thursday. But overall, they’ve been on a pretty good run. In their last eight contests, they’ve gone 6-1-1, which is far from poor.

    PHT Morning Skate: Is it time for the Bruins to move on from Tuukka Rask?

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    Tuukka Rask has shown that he can be one of the top goalies in the NHL, but CSN New England’s Joe Haggerty thinks that his inability to deliver in big games is becoming a serious problem. Haggerty even suggests that the Bruins should consider shipping him out of town this summer. It’s an interesting thought. (CSN New England)

    –Nolan Patrick is expected to go first overall in next June’s entry draft, but his draft year has been anything but ordinary. He missed the first 34 games of the season with an undisclosed injury, which must be pretty frustrating. But Patrick has gone through a similar situation before. When he was a young teenager, Patrick broke his collarbone twice. He was able to shake the injuries off and turn himself into a top prospect. (Sportsnet)

    –Take a look at the top seven plays of the week in and around the NHL. If you’re fed up of seeing Sidney Crosby score ridiculous goals, do not watch this video. (NBC Sports)

    –The Flyers got six goals from six different players in their win over the Penguins last night. You can check out the highlights from that game by clicking the video at the top of the page. Philly is now six points back of Boston for the final Wild Card spot in the East.

    –Sabres forward Brian Gionta will be playing in his 1000th NHL game tonight. As you’d imagine, the 5-foot-7 forward didn’t have an easy path to the big show, but he was still able to carve out a great career for himself. “To be out there and part of his 1,000th game, it’s a proud moment for me,” teammate Josh Gorges said. “I know it’s a proud moment for him. We’ve talked about it before, and it’s an amazing accomplishment. … We’re all looking forward to it.” (Buffalo Hockey Beat)

    –Did you really think that changing the goalies’ pants was going to result in more goals scored? Well, let’s just say it hasn’t worked out that way. Before the change, teams were scoring 2.73 goals-per-game. Since the change, that number is slightly down at 2.70. (The Score)

    –Jets super fan Kiera Neal was diagnosed with cancer at the age of one, but Neal, now 10, is doing well and is cancer free. Her wish was to meet the Winnipeg Jets and her favorite player Dustin Byfuglien, and the people at Hometown Hockey made it happen:

    Ducks cement Pacific lead as Getzlaf continues his mammoth March

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    By the end of Sunday night, the Anaheim Ducks removed all doubt: they’re on top of the Pacific Division.

    Now, it’s not the sort of substantial lead that the sliding San Jose Sharks squandered; Anaheim merely leads the Sharks and Edmonton Oilers by two standings points after beating the New York Rangers 6-3.

    With everyone at 75 games played, it’s kind of nice to enjoy the clarity that comes with a clear lead (though the Sharks and Oilers will disagree):

    Pacific top four (all teams with 75 games played)

    1. Ducks – 93 points (38 ROW, 41 W)
    2. Sharks – 91 poitns (40 ROW, 42 W)
    3. Oilers – 91 points (37 ROW, 41 W)

    Flames – 88 points (38 ROW, 42 W)

    The Ducks are now on a four-game winning streak and managed an 8-1-1 mark in their last 10 contests.

    With all due respect to Patrick Eaves‘ two goals, it’s Ryan Getzlaf who’s really playing outstanding hockey. He generated four assists in this one, giving him eight helpers in his past four games. He now has a whopping 20 points in March.

    A lot going on – fight included – between Corey Perry, Brendan Smith (Video)

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    If there’s one thing that’s undeniable from the clip going on, it’s that Corey Perry and Brendan Smith squeezed a lot of activity (carnage?) into a single shift.

    Early on in Sunday’s New York Rangers – Anaheim Ducks game, both player delivered hits that were at least borderline dangerous. After that, they traded punches in a pretty solid fight (especially since they seemed a little tired because, again, this was a fairly elaborate sequence).

    It’s way too messy a sequence to call neat, but there is something efficient about trading hits and then getting into a fight. That’s a mini-hockey feud in short order.

    If you want a pretty moment to counteract all that, check out the great puck movement on this 3-on-1 goal for the Rangers: