Questions lie ahead today in the NHL and, as always, the answers should be fascinating. Can the Capitals snap their eight game losing streak? Can Chris Osgood win his 400th game? Can the Avalanche score on Carey Price? Can the Kings pick up wins on back-to-back nights? All will be revealed. All times are Eastern.
Dallas @ Detroit
Chris Osgood will get the start for Detroit in goal and get his shot at winning his 400th game. Getting to do it at home and out of earshot of taunts of opposing fans should help him out a little bit. The Stars roll into town on the back of a 2-1 win over Columbus last night that turned out to be a little controversial. Detroit’s looking to avoid losing two straight after being beaten soundly by Chicago on Friday.
Los Angeles @ Chicago
The Kings head into Chicago coming off a blowout win over a tough Nashville team. Lately for L.A., they’ve either gotten stellar goaltending or they haven’t. They’ll be hoping the injury-riddled Blackhawks aren’t able to put it together to score goals today. With Marian Hossa, Patrick Kane, and Viktor Stalberg still out the pressure is on Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp to carry the load offensively. Doing that against a tough Kings team may be asking a lot out of them.
Washington @ Ottawa
Well, you can’t say the Caps aren’t trying to snap their eight game losing streak. In last night’s third period against Boston, the Capitals outshot the Bruins in the third period by a 26-2 margin. The Caps lost the game 3-2, much in part thanks to Tim Thomas just doing his normal thing in goal. Today, they’ll go against a Senators team without Pascal Leclaire in goal so Brian Elliott gets the call. The Sens are coming off their barn burner 6-5 overtime loss to Colorado the other night. If they can’t tighten things up defensively, the slumping Caps offense might get breakout game they’ve been dying for.
Montreal @ Colorado
The high-flying Avalanche offense lead by Matt Duchene taking on the stiff defense of the Canadiens lead by Carey Price. It’s the perfect duel of styles, but don’t mistake this Habs team for one that can’t score. Most interesting to note here is how Colorado’s Ryan O’Byrne gets to square off against his former team. With the Avalanche, O’Byrne’s been a solid starter for them after not being able to crack the lineup in Montreal. The physical defenseman is likely to make sure he lets his former teammates know he’s out there. Colorado has won five in a row heading into tonight’s game.
As for the Habs, getting Carey Price back into that steady run of solid play would be a good thing. Over their last four games, the Habs have allowed 15 goals, with 12 of those being hung on Price. Montreal has won only one out of those last four. This is the first game of a seven game road trip for Montreal.
For two periods, the San Jose Sharks couldn’t solve Pekka Rinne.
Maybe it was because of that black cat that found its way on to the ice prior to the start of Friday’s game, or the video review that didn’t go in San Jose’s favor in the opening period.
But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.
Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.
When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.
Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.
The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.
Another day, another University of North Dakota player deciding to enter the professional hockey ranks.
This time, it was 21-year-old forward Luke Johnson who turned pro following his junior year, as he signed a three-year contract with the Chicago Blackhawks, the team that selected him in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Draft.
In 43 games with the NCAA champs this season, Johnson scored 11 goals and 21 points, just shy of his college career high of 24 points set the previous year.
Johnson will forgo his senior year at North Dakota, making him the fourth member of that program’s junior class to turn pro since the end of the season. Keaton Thompson signed with the Anaheim Ducks, Troy Stecher inked with the Vancouver Canucks and Paul LaDue signed with the L.A. Kings.
Senior forward Drake Caggiula, now a free agent, has reportedly narrowed down his list of NHL suitors to six teams.
Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.
Perhaps it’s an ominous sign of bad luck to come, but for which team?
Prior to puck drop between the host San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators in Game 1 on Friday, a black cat hit the ice at SAP Center, taking a nervous stroll along the boards.
Not sure exactly where it came from, although it’s possible someone was feeling extra superstitious before the start of this series.
Official update on the really important story of the evening:
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.
Elliott was furious after the Stars opened the scoring in the second period, as Antoine Roussel tallied on a rebound after yet another nice Dallas passing play in the offensive zone.
Stars forward Patrick Eaves left the game early in the third period and didn’t play another shift after being hit in the lower part of his leg with the puck from a point shot.