Even if the NHL (thankfully) keeps a dedicated stat category for a blocked shot – whether it be a forward or defenseman doing the shot blocking – it’s still an underrated act of bravery. (Some stats bloggers will point out that a defenseman with a high number of blocked shots might compile so many because they’re often out of position, but it’s still courageous.)
Normally, blocked shots are forgotten well after a player’s bruises heal up. Yet every now and then, a defenseman goes from making a blocked shot to practically becoming an impromptu netminder.
We’ve seen more than a few instances when a blocked shot or heads-up defensive play is so impressive (and entertaining) that we cannot help but make it the save of the night. Most recently, we awarded a crafty play by Minnesota Wild defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
Well, we have another great bit of defensive desperation/cleverness to add to that group from Tuesday’s game. Dallas Stars defenseman Stephane Robidas is one of those guys who can do a little of everything from playing the point on the power play, logging numerous even strength minutes and providing rugged defense on the penalty kill. His hockey IQ and willingness to do whatever it takes to help his team win were on bold display last night, as he bailed out Andrew Raycroft and the rest of the squad with some heady saves.
You really have to hand it to Robidas on this one, as he saved Raycroft with some great work. To be fair, Raycroft bailed the Stars defense out plenty of times last night, earning 44 saves in the win against Nashville. Check out Robidas’ goalie auditions in the clip below.
But the chance for at least a single point slipped at the worst possible time, as Jonathan Toews scored with 1:18 left in regulation and then set up an empty net goal from Marian Hossa just a few seconds later to secure the 4-2 win.
The Canucks remain stuck at five wins — just five wins — on the road. They have the 29th-ranked road record in the entire NHL. Only the Arizona Coyotes have been worse away from home ice. So, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed down the stretch.
Vancouver had a chance to move into a wild card spot. Instead, they let the Blackhawks regain momentum as the period went on, and as a result, they remain on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture for right now.
Corey Crawford earned his 200th career win, making 26 saves. That’s a milestone night for him. For Toews, that’s his most productive night of the season, as he factored into all four Chicago goals, which, of course, included the winner.
So overtime against the New York Islanders seemed like a perfect time for captain Claude Giroux to bust his scoring slump.
Without a goal in his last 12 games, or since Dec. 21 before the holiday break, Giroux finished the Flyers comeback with an overtime goal to give Philly a 3-2 victory on Sunday. Jakub Voracek did great work along the boards to force a turnover from John Tavares, and Shayne Gostisbehere followed up his chance with a quick pass to a wide-open Giroux at the top of the crease.
That comeback win — Philly trailed by two goals early in the second period — bumps the Flyers back into a wild card spot.
Steve Mason had a big game in net for Philly, with 36 saves, while the Flyers fired 47 shots on goal toward Thomas Greiss, although it’s a difficult task trying to re-set and stop Giroux — an accomplished scorer in the NHL — on the doorstep.
Goals, goals and more goals! Blue Jackets outlast Senators for overtime win
Plenty of goals. A little three-on-three overtime. Seemed like an enjoyable afternoon of hockey between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Well, maybe the goalies, Mike Condon and Joonas Korpisalo, didn’t enjoy it as much.
The Blue Jackets prevailed for a 7-6 overtime win, with Cam Atkinson scoring just 1:09 into the extra period. That’s his 23rd goal of the season. Only two players — Jeff Carter (24) and Sidney Crosby (28) — have scored more goals than Atkinson this season.
With the win, and the Capitals sitting idle today, the Blue Jackets move back into a tie with Washington at 68 points in the fight for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
There were some anxious moments for Columbus.
Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski was hurt blocking a shot in the third period. He briefly left the game, unable to put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off.
The good news: He only missed a few minutes, returning late in regulation and for the overtime as well, which is important for the Blue Jackets.
#CBJ Zach Werenski said on @FOXSportsOH post-game he "thought it was broken" and "long term" injury when he blocked the shot.
“He’s made a couple of huge mistakes in a game and he comes to the bench, shakes it off and then goes out and makes a great play. For a 19-year-old playing that position and the amount of time he’s getting in key situations with this organization, it’s pretty impressive.”