Last night was what you’d call a feisty night in the NHL. With plenty of tough hits, some bordering on illegal, the NHL offices likely spent most of the morning reviewing tapes of questionable hits. We saw a tough hit from Sharks forward Joe Thornton as he leveled Blues forwards David Perron as Thornton was exiting the penalty box. Thornton was given a five-minute major and a game misconduct for the hit. As it turns out, that’s enough to get noticed by the NHL as Thornton has a phone call scheduled with the NHL this afternoon to find out if he’ll have any other punishment.
Our guess here is that Thornton getting sat down during the game should end up being punishment enough for his hit and there’s no need for a suspension here at all. If you’re looking to try and make sense of anything, Shane Doan of the Coyotes got a three-game suspension for a similar brand of hit that didn’t injure Dan Sexton of the Ducks.
Speaking of things that don’t make sense, it appears that Dan Carcillo won’t have a meeting with the NHL. Carcillo hit Rangers forward Ruslan Fedotenko with what appeared to be a flying elbow in the head reminiscent of something out of the WWE. Carcillo wasn’t called for a penalty and it’s not because referee Marc Joannette didn’t see it, it’s because he felt that Fedotenko could save himself some trouble and “not duck” next time.
Sam Carchidi of Broad Street Bull tweets that Flyers GM Paul Holmgren doesn’t expect the league to talk to Carcillo. Now, let’s make this clear here. If Carcillo doesn’t get any action taken against him here you can consider us completely off the bandwagon when it comes to Rule 48 regarding head shots. If hits like what Carcillo made on Fedotenko aren’t worthy of being addressed after the fact, then what’s the point? Reviewing these kinds of hits after the fact is supposed to be one of the big parts of Rule 48. Looking past a hit like this involving a guy with a past littered with questionable hits is insanity. After all, if the league isn’t going to take this sort of thing seriously, why should we?
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.