Around the Rink – Sunday, October 17

I realize that, from a box office standpoint, it makes sense that most NHL teams prefer to play on a Saturday night. It’s the most likely night that people can go out to a hockey game, since they’re off and there’s no work the next day. But from a selfish hockey fan perspective, I wish the games were spread out more evenly so I could soak in the hockey glory that much more.

Alas, that is not the reality of the situation. Saturday featured 12 games (representing 24 out of 30 teams) while today only has two. Let’s take a look at the NHL’s mostly restful Sunday slate.

8:00 PM

Phoenix @ Anaheim

The biggest “win” for the Coyotes happened off the ice: it looks like they finally have their ownership situation under control. Now Phoenix just needs to get back in the on-ice win column, as they’ve lost two in a row despite some nice performances by Ilya Bryzgalov. Jonas Hiller won’t be easy to beat, though, as the Ducks goalie is 8-2-2 in his career against the Coyotes.

9:00 PM

Carolina @ Vancouver

The Hurricanes hope to continue their success against Northwest Division teams this season, as they defeated the Minnesota Wild in their new overseas games to begin the season. The Canucks are probably just happy that they’re not playing the Los Angeles Kings again, as that team accounted for two of their losses so far this season. Vancouver may be troubled right now, but the Sedins are playing well so far; Henrik has five assists while Daniel already has four goals and six points overall.


 

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

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The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.

MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

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It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.

Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

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Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.