Sundays in the NHL are like taking a stroll through the park. It’s easy going, there isn’t too much to keep you busy, and you’re generally done by dinner time. Usually anyhow. This weekend is where things are a bit different. Today’s slate of games sees one major team looking to get off the shnide in a big way. All times are Eastern as usual.
Washington @ NY Rangers
The Capitals are looking to snap a five game losing streak and facing off against Henrik Lundqvist and the Rangers might not be the antidote they need. The Caps were stymied by Craig Anderson last night after he stopped 40 shots in a 3-2 Avs win. The Rangers were stuffed by Columbus last night because they couldn’t keep Rick Nash under control, allowing the Jackets star to score twice. In this one, Marian Gaborik and Alex Ovechkin could stand to show up in a big way for their respective teams. The Caps could use a win to help put their wild fans at ease.
Vancouver @ Edmonton
After getting their Markus Naslund number retirement party crashed by the Lightning last night, the Canucks head to Edmonton to get things figured out. Roberto Luongo will get back to action in goal for the Canucks, meanwhile Edmonton is riding high after their shootout win over Tampa Bay the other night. We said it before that game and we’re saying it again: As long as Linus Omark is in the NHL, the Oilers secretly make us hope for shootouts because guys like Omark and Jordan Eberle are creative enough to make the gimmick skills competition interesting for once.
Minnesota @ Anaheim
The Wild were gifted a win to them by the Kings last night but scoffing at a gift is never a good idea. Facing off against the always ornery Ducks should be enough of a dose of reality for the Wild to try to focus on improvements. The Ducks, meanwhile, would like to stop getting involved in handing out bonus points in the standings. Their previous three games all went to the shootout and fortunately for them they went 2-0-1 in those games. Anaheim would like to end this home stand on a high note as they’ll be out on a seven game road trip after tonight’s game, five of which come out east.
Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.
They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.
Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.
Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.
You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:
Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.
Read about that blowout here.
Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.
Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”
It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.
The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.
This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.
Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.
On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.
We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.
Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.
After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.
Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.
The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.
Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.
Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:
Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.
Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.
Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.
It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.
After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.
Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:
Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.
The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.