Buffalo Sabres v New Jersey Devils

After his shootout super failure, Ilya Kovalchuk looks on the bright side of life

If you somehow managed to miss it last night, Devils super paid super star Ilya Kovalchuk had himself a bad night last night. Kovalchuk’s turn came up in the shootout against the Buffalo Sabres and, well, things did not go very well at all as he lost the puck on his way towards the net.

Kovalchuk’s flubbed attempt ended the game and the Sabres won in the shootout. If you’re thinking that he would take such a goofy and head-smackingly bad loss to heart you’d be wrong as Tom Gulitti of Fire & Ice finds out from the man himself.

“It’s all history,” Kovalchuk said. “Today the sun is up and everything is good. We have a game tomorrow and we have to win it because we haven’t gotten a win at home yet and that’s embarrassing.”

Kovalchuk admitted that he “definitely” was the most frustrated he has been after Wednesday’s game.

“It seems like nothing goes my way right now,” Kovalchuk said. “But, like I said last night, you just have to work hard and do the same things. I’ve been through those situations before, so you just have to keep working and the chances will go in.”

That’s a dangerously emo-like comment from Kovalchuk but you can’t exactly blame the guy. Sure, if you’re the cynical type, you’ll point to all the millions of dollars he makes and say that that should make him feel better but when this is your life, losing is hard especially when you’re counted on heavily to be the guy to provide the spark to win. Then again, perhaps he’s just a really big fan of the closing scene of “Monty Python’s Life Of Brian.”

I know it doesn’t seem likely right now with all the injuries the Devils have and the terrible play out of their defense, but the Devils will get this turned around and Kovalchuk will find his groove… Eventually. He’s got three goals and five assists and is a -7 through 15 games with the Devils. Things can, and will, get better for him but for now it just flat out sucks for both him and the team. The Devils can get it turned around but until that happens, maybe just whistling a certain tune will give the Devils some zen treatment and they can stop putting the death grip on their sticks during the game. Or even the shootout.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.