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.
Last night, we asked: What is wrong with the San Jose Sharks?
Well, a day later, with the Sharks looking to avoid a sixth straight loss, the struggle continues.
After a blowout loss last night against the Dallas Stars, the Sharks have fallen behind the Nashville Predators by a score of 2-0 after the opening period.
Colton Sissons opened the scoring for Nashville.
It didn’t get any better for the Sharks.
Roman Josi walked right around Brent Burns, hitting the cross bar with his shot. Cody McLeod was right there for the tap-in to increase Nashville’s lead.
Anxious times right now for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Facing the Buffalo Sabres and looking to extend their winning streak, Curtis McElhinney took over in net for Toronto to begin the second period.
Adding to the situation was the fact Frederik Andersen, who started the game, was reportedly not on the bench when the teams came back out following the intermission.
And now we know why. The Leafs have announced Andersen suffered an upper-body injury and will not return.
Andersen faced 16 shots in the opening period, making 14 saves.
The Maple Leafs are third in the Atlantic Division with 85 points.
Barring a miraculous barrage of goals in the final stretch of games, Alex Ovechkin very likely won’t hit the 50-mark this season.
Now 31 years old, there has been talk that this could be the beginning of the decline for Ovechkin.
But on Saturday, he scored the 30th goal of his season, letting that famous Ovechkin shot rip from his favorite spot on the power play.
For Ovechkin, that’s 12 straight seasons with at least 30 goals scored. He has been consistently prolific since joining the league in 2005-06. He’s an elite player, as everyone has known for years, and he once again joined elite company with this latest goal.
Per the Capitals, Ovechkin joins Mike Gartner and Wayne Gretzky — he was good — as the only three players in NHL history to score at least 30 goals in each of their first 12 seasons in the league.
Patrick Sharp‘s difficult season is now over.
The Dallas Stars announced on Saturday that the 35-year-old forward will undergo hip surgery on Tuesday. The recovery time, according to the club, is between four and five months.
Sharp is in the final year of a five-year contract with a $5.9 million cap hit, per CapFriendly
“We are going to get the surgery done and let him heal. He’s going to train and let’s take a look at him,” said Stars GM Jim Nill, per NHL.com. “We’ve had conversations. If he comes back, he wants it to be Dallas. He thinks he’s a Dallas Star.”
Not only has Sharp dealt with injuries on the ice, but he is dealing with a personal matter off it.
From the Dallas Morning News:
But in battling through two concussions, hip pain, and his dad’s fight with leukemia, Sharp has shown significant fortitude. The Dallas chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association nominated Sharp Saturday as its candidate for the Bill Masterton Trophy, given each season to a player who displays the attributes of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.
“It shows what kind of person he is and what kind of hockey player and leader he is,” said Stars captain Jamie Benn. “I think that’s why he’s a winner at every level he’s played at. I think that’s why he’s a great leader for this team and a great guy for a lot of these young guys to look up to.”
Sharp was first sidelined with a concussion in October. He was then placed on injured reserve with another concussion in December.
He has been held to just 48 games, with eight goals — his lowest total since the lockout-shortened season — and 18 points.