Nightly recap – Monday, November 1

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While the season started on October 7 so it’s technically not a “full” month, it’s still something of a mini-milestone that the NHL regular season is in its second month of operation. It’s still too early to make permanent judgments of any team – in fact, it will be until very late in the season since late surges seem to happen multiple times per year – but it might be safe to turn small samples into sincere trends.

Anyway, let’s take a look at how tonight’s three games went, in case you were distracted by the last game of the World Series or Monday Night Football (or “Dancing with the Stars” … we won’t judge you out loud).

Philadelphia 3, Carolina 2

Chew on this goofy stat for a second: since cutting his hair for charity, Scott Hartnell is scoring at a point-per-game pace (three goals and three assists for six points in six games). Hartnell scored the game’s first and also earned the GWG on a tip-in. Claude Giroux scored Philly’s other goal, continuing a hot start that pushes his season total to seven. Joe Corvo and Bill Dwyer scored for the Hurricanes.

Justin Peters did a solid Cam Ward impression, stopping 34 out of 37 shots, but Sergei Bobrovsky earned the win for the Flyers by setting aside 26 out of 28. Philadelphia is now on top of the Atlantic Division with a four game winning streak while Carolina is slipping, as they’ve lost two in a row.

NY Rangers 3, Chicago 2

The Rangers scrapped this one out, as Henrik Lundqvist stopped 33 shots while his teammates blocked 33 more. (Read more about Lundqvist’s outstanding play here.)

Brandon Dubinsky scored two goals while Erik Christensen notched the game winner for New York 28 seconds after the game was tied 2-2 while Tomas Kopecky and Patrick Kane scored for Chicago. Marty Turco didn’t exactly put together his greatest game for the Blackhawks, allowing three goals on 23 shots.

Vancouver 3, New Jersey 0

Take one more “silver lining” out of an increasingly cloudy season for the Devils, as the team was blanked for the first time in 2010-11 tonight. Roberto Luongo earned that shutout, stopping 30 shots while this day was a bad one for guys named Martin/Marty (Brodeur allowed three goals on 23 shots, just like Turco).

Raffi Torres and Ryan Kesler scored to give the Canucks a 2-0 nothing lead, then Henrik Sedin scored a beauty on a penalty shot to clinch it 3-0.

I’ll probably break down some of the horrific numbers for the Devils tomorrow, but this paragraph from the Associated Press recap is a pretty good summary of their miseries.

Martin Brodeur finished with 20 saves for the Devils, who are off to their worst start in 27 years at 3-9-1 and last in the NHL with just seven points.

Yeah, things are looking pretty bleak for New Jersey, whose best player Zach Parise could miss a significant amount of time with a knee injury. (He’s about to undergo exploratory arthroscopic knee surgery in the near future.) Ouch.

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.