Cal Clutterbuck dominates Finns, tempers flare between Carolina and SKA St. Petersburg

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Thumbnail image for clutterbuckin.jpgThere were two games between NHL teams and foreign hockey clubs early this morning/afternoon, with the league going 1-1 on the day. Let’s take a look at each contest.

SKA St. Petersburg 5, Carolina Hurricanes 3

Plus: Russian hockey fans can point out this statistic from Dan Rosen’s report:

Russian/Soviet Union teams are now 59-41-10 against NHL clubs since the nations first paired their teams against one another at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 28, 1975 in the inaugural Super Series.

Not as good for North American fans, but you have to tip your cap to those old Russian teams in particular. The top star of this game was SKA St. Petersburg’s captain Maxim Sushinskiy, who would naturally get a sushi-inspired nickname if he played in the NHL. (And man, his last name would be brutal for copy editors.)

Minus: To be fair, the Hurricanes might not have been going all-in just three days away from their season opener. Justin Peters spelled top guy Cam Ward and coach Paul Maurice kept Eric Staal out of the third period, claiming that the KHL players were getting closer and closer to going after people’s knees in the game. Things got pretty chippy in general in this one, from what I’ve read. You’d like to see an NHL-KHL bout be a little more civil, but bad blood can make for some interesting hockey.

Minnesota Wild 5, Ilves Tampere 1

Plus: Talk about getting “Clutterbucked.” Cal Clutterbuck scored three goals to lead the Minnesota Wild over Finnish team Ilves Tampere this afternoon. Marek Zidlicky and Chuck Kobasew also provided a goal each in this one as well.

But the real plus goes to Tampere’s astounding logo, which looks like it came from an episode of “Beavis and Butt-Head” or from Rob Zombie’s high school doodle pad.

ilveslogo.jpg

Seriously, that’s amazing.

Minus: This was the Wild’s only win of the preseason, which I imagine will begin the “maybe Minnesota should be relegated” jokes in small, nerdy hockey circles.

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.