Los Angeles Kings 2, Vancouver Canucks 1 (SO)
You could say that the Canucks “left a mark” on the Kings last summer when they knocked them out of the playoffs, but that was in a figurative sense. As you can see from Anze Kopitar’s gnarled mouth (image via my buddy from The Royal Half, in case you couldn’t tell), the Canucks left a more literal mark in this one.
This time around, though, the Kings won … even if it happened via a glorified skills competition. Considering the likely dental injury Kopitar dealt with in this game, I don’t know if I’d say that he had the “last laugh” but he did help his team win with a gorgeous shorthanded goal. The Associated Press write-up captured the scene quite well.
Kopitar’s opening night appeared to be spoiled when he ran into the end of Manny Malhotra’s stick while trying to throw a check midway through the second period. He stayed down as blood pooled beneath him, and had to be helped off the ice and to the locker room. Kopitar returned to start the third period and beat Roberto Luongo with a backhand deke to open the shootout.
Jack Johnson sealed the shootout win with a simple-yet-effective wrist shot goal and the Kings received a tiny morsel of revenge against their rivals.
Jonathan Quick was solid in this game (23 for 24), but Roberto Luongo earned those obnoxious “Lou” chants by stopping 31 out of 32 shots. Both teams were unable to score in 5-on-5 situations, as each tally came via a power play or shootout.
Christian Ehrhoff scored the Canucks power-play goal with assists from the Sedin twins while Justin Williams provided the Kings’ goal, with Michal Handzus and Dustin Brown earned assists.
Ultimately, Kopitar’s face was a microcosm of an ugly, tough game between two probable contenders in the Western Conference. It might not have been pretty, but if both teams can play like this, they might see each other in the playoffs once again.
It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.
For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.
After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.
Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.
Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:
Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins
Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals
Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.
Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.
The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.
(Check out video of the hit above.)
The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.
Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?
Washington currently leads the game 3-2.
There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.
Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.
The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.
It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.
The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.
Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?
(If you’re into that kind of thing.)
Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: