It’s over. It’s mercifully over. The Islanders 14-game losing streak has come to an end and, incredibly enough, it was embattled franchise goalie Rick DiPietro who led the way. DiPietro’s 29 save shutout and calm, cool demeanor late while the Islanders killed a 5-on-3 power play earned the 2-0 victory for the team. The Islanders avoid tying the franchise record for consecutive losses and stay out of the running for all-time longest losing streak of 17 games.
Jesse Joensuu and Rob Schremp had the goals for New York while Devils starter Johan Hedberg made 18 saves in the loss. Amazingly enough, the win puts the Islanders just one point behind the Devils for 14th in the Eastern Conference and the Atlantic Division. Think about that for a second, the Islanders snap a 14-game losing streak, a streak in which they earned just three points from games reaching overtime or the shootout, and now find themselves one point behind New Jersey.
Now with the Islanders incredible futility streak over and done with, the attention will be turned once again to the moribund Devils. After all, you’d think that in an NHL that awards points wantonly throughout the season the Devils, despite their issues, could’ve gotten a bit more cushion from the absolute basement in the Eastern Conference. Instead, they’re now just one point ahead of the Islanders and dead last in the league. Head coach John MacLean was feeling the heat already in Newark, he’s going to be getting the fire turned up on him even more now after losing to the league’s worst team.
As for the Islanders, they’ve played tough of late and now they’re going to have to get tougher as the Isles announced after the game that Trent Hunter will be out indefinitely with a grade three MCL tear. Hunter’s replacement Joensuu did all right today in getting his first goal of the season.
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.
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).
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.
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.