Chicago 4 – Detroit 1
On the night they honored Chris Chelios’ time in Chicago, the Blackhawks used the night to play perhaps one of their best games of the year and knock off the West-leading Red Wings. Chicago snaps a three-game losing streak thanks to Tomas Kopecky’s two goals and a stellar game out of Corey Crawford in goal. Crawford stopped 29 out of 30 Wings shots to secure victory for Chicago and help make things in the Central Division as tight as ever.
For the Wings, they’ve dropped two of their last three games now and have a dicey game with Dallas coming up on Sunday. Jimmy Howard played OK for Detroit stopping 27 shots. When you’re scoring just one goal it makes it tougher to be perfect when your opponent played so well. Surprising stat of the night: Nicklas Lidstrom was a -3.
Florida 6 – Buffalo 2
An uninspiring game for Buffalo as they were down 4-0 by the time the first period had ended. Ryan Miller was yanked after the brutal first in favor of Patrick Lalime but the Sabres were already toast by then. Marty Reasoner led the way for Florida scoring two goals while Stephen Weiss had a goal and an assist. Chris Higgins, Shawn Matthias, and Evgeny Dadonov each had two assists a piece. Tomas Vokoun wasn’t quite able to relax after the big first period and settled in to stop 41 Sabres shots. So much for an easy night.
Nashville 3 – New Jersey 1
While the Nashville Predators and goalie Anders Lindback get to stay hot, the woes of the Devils continue to roll on. The game wasn’t an exciting one by any stretch, but for Nashville the win pulls them to within three points of first place Detroit in the Central. Martin Erat’s two power play goals helped give the Preds all the offense they’d need while former Devils forward Steve Sullivan also added a goal. Lindback, meanwhile, got the win stopping just 15 shots. Mattias Tedenby scored New Jersey’s lone goal while Martin Brodeur saved 17 shots. I can hear you all yawning right now, so I’ll stop.
Colorado 6 – Ottawa 5 (F/OT)
A wild game in Denver that sees rising star Matt Duchene increase his celebrity in the Rockies all the more. Duchene’s two goals included the game-winner in overtime in a game that saw the teams trade goals like they were going out of style. Colorado’s Kevin Porter added a goal and an assist as well. For Ottawa, they were without Pascal Leclaire who was injured during warm ups. Brian Elliott was clearly not the answer tonight as he stopped just 19 shots in the loss.
If you’re curious how Jason Spezza did tonight in the wake of being called a “wimp” by Avalanche broadcaster Mark Rycroft, he finished the game with a goal on three shots on goal and an even plus/minus rating. Vindication? A win probably would’ve sent the message a little more.
The Pittsburgh Penguins dominated the San Jose Sharks in the first period of Game 1, no doubt about it.
Even so, the Sharks entered the middle frame down 2-0, and responded rather than shriveling up. They basically switched roles with the Penguins in the second period, ultimately tying things up 2-2.
The first goal was one Matt Murray would probably like back (even more than a goalie would want any goal back, mind you), as Tomas Hertl beat him five-hole for a power-play goal.
Witness the Sharks’ first-ever goal in a Stanley Cup Final:
Fittingly, a grizzled veteran and longtime face of the Sharks’ franchise tied it up, as Patrick Marleau made it 2-2 with a clever wraparound:
Which team will win the third period? Could we see overtime? Find out on NBC.
Yes, the St. Louis Blues fell short of the Stanley Cup Final, but they still broke some playoff hexes in 2015-16. Apparently Blues management saw enough to bring back Ken Hitchcock.
That’s the word from Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and Nick Kypreos, who report that the Blues are expected to announce a one-year deal with the veteran head coach on Tuesday.
Friedman wonders if these one-year pacts (Hitchcock was on one for 2015-16 as well) may chase away other staffers:
When asked about these scenarios, Hitchcock seemed like he was in favor of experiencing a perpetual “contract year.”
“I scare myself because I think if I take long-term deal, I’m gonna get sloppy,” Hitchcock told Hockey Central at Noon and Sportsnet back in mid-May. “I want to stay on one-year deals.
For plenty of fans, it makes perfect sense to bring Hitchcock back after the Blues took steps forward.
Others wonder if Hitchcock’s style (which leans toward dump-and-chase and “gritty” hockey more than some other teams) may leave the Blues in the dust, however.
That’s a debate for a bar or a message board, yet one can see deeper logic in giving Hitchcock one more shot.
While the Blues have decisions to make – including what to do with free agent captain David Backes – the team is also structured to make another run. Brian Elliott, Jake Allen, Kevin Shattenkirk and Colton Parayko all have deals that will expire after 2016-17, and each contract is a bargain.
If St. Louis believes that Hitchcock is the right fit for that personnel group, then it makes sense to give him another go.
Generally speaking, the strategic talk heading into Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final focused on the San Jose Sharks’ deeper defense vs. the Pittsburgh Penguins’ blinding speed.
It’s very early, but so far: advantage Penguins.
Pittsburgh came roaring out of the gate in front of a boisterous Consol Energy Center crowd, but it took them a while to break through.
Once the Penguins did, they raced ahead to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals just 1:02 apart.
First, Bryan Rust kept his red-hot streak going with the 1-0 tally.
Moments later, Sidney Crosby made a beautiful pass to Conor Sheary to put the Penguins up two.
There were a few other moments in which the Sharks looked like they were really struggling with the Penguins’ speed, but Martin Jones made some saves that could be big if San Jose can gather its wits.
Sometimes you need to ask important questions, breaking down positional battles and strategies.
Other times you can’t help but ask “Which guy has the better beard?”
In the case of Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, the San Jose Sharks boast two players with elite beards to match their elite skills. “Jumbo Joe” drew a lot of attention for his wild facial hair, yet Burns may very well have inspired Thornton to go heavy-whisker in the first place.
The video above breaks down those two beards, in case you’re itching for a comparison.
One thing that sparks little debate? Both players’ wives are real troopers.