Apparently the NHL celebrates Election Day by making sure that most of the teams from the United States have the night off so their fans can get out and vote. Isn’t that patriotic? Anyhow, here’s the change you can believe in from the NHL tonight.
Ottawa 3 – Toronto 2
The good news for the Leafs is that they broke their goalless streak that stretched over more than 160 minutes played. The bad news is, despite a spirited final few minutes of play, they looked pretty rough and the Sens pulled off the win. Oh, and Dion Phaneuf wasn’t just booed but he also left the game with a deep cut on his leg. The Leafs might want to knock off the penalties if they want to win. Sergei Gonchar and Erik Karlsson scored on the power play, meanwhile Mike Fisher scored Ottawa’s first goal on a penalty shot. Brian Elliott made 33 saves in the win for Ottawa.
Columbus 3 – Montreal 0
A bit of a baffler in Columbus as the Jackets started backup goalie Mathieu Garon and he ends up with a 29 save shutout over the Canadiens. Rick Nash, Derick Brassard, and Kyle Wilson each had a goal for the Blue Jackets as they were able to play perhaps their best game of the year. As for the Habs, well, at least Carey Price seemed motivated despite taking the loss. Tough to say that anyone else for Montreal really came out to play. That brand of inconsistency will make a fan pull their hair out.
Minnesota 1 – San Jose 0
It was Niklas Backstrom’s world and the San Jose Sharks just had to deal with living in it for the night. The Wild netminder stopped all 36 shots he saw while Andrew Brunette’s second period power play goal held up as the difference maker in the Minnesota win. The Sharks did all they could bringing the kind of offensive heat they did, but Backstrom was strong all game long. Meanwhile, Antero Niittymaki could’ve passed out from boredom making just 15 saves in the loss.
Vancouver 4 – Edmonton 3
What started off looking like a trouncing for the Canucks over the Oilers turned into a tight game, but ultimately it was former Oiler Raffi Torres stealing the show. Torres notched a hat trick, including ultimately the game-winning goal in the third period after the Oilers stormed back from 3-0 down to tie the game in the third. Dustin Penner, Ryan Jones, and Gilbert Brule had Edmonton’s goals, but Nikolai Khabibulin couldn’t keep Torres or the Sedin twins off the board enough to get the decision.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
—Martin Jones is a calming presence in the Sharks’ net. (Sports Illustrated)
–The Rangers should go after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. (The Hockey News)
–Some people have pretty wild hockey tattoos. (BarDown)
–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)
–A great piece on how Bruce Boudreau impacted the Ducks and Capitals. (Sportsnet)
–It should be an interesting off-season for the Anaheim Ducks. (Daily Breeze)
—Adam Henrique is a funny guy. He took to Twitter to try and get himself on the cover of NHL 17:
Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.
(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)
You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.
Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.
Letang told his side of the story:
The Capitals disagree:
While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:
No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.
If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.
The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.
(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)
Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.
A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.
First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.
Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.
Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.
In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.
This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.
It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.
(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)
There are a few things we do know already.
For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.
Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.
In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.
There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.