Check out the Thrashers’ ugly loss to the Maple Leafs (and Ben Eager’s ugly sucker punch on Colby Armstrong) by clicking here.
OK, now here are summaries of the night’s six other games.
Carolina 5, Florida 3
Apparently the Hurricanes rallied back from two or three goal deficits in three of their last five games against the Panthers this season. It’s not exactly the kind of stat that rolls off your tongue, but it shows that Carolina is pretty resilient (or often in need of wake-up calls, depending on how you look at it).
Jeff Skinner had two goals and one assist to help the Canes win this one.
NY Rangers 3, Dallas 2 (SO)
Once again, Mats “Norwegian Hobbit Wizard” Zuccarello came up big for the Rangers, this time around in the shootout. The short forward was the different in a game that featured great goaltending from winning goalie Henrik Lundqvist (28 saves) and the losing goalie Kari Lehtonen (29 saves).
Chicago 3, Ottawa 2 (SO)
The Blackhawks keep scraping together wins here and there despite injuries while the Senators fail to persevere (0-2-2 in their last four games). Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews ultimately were the difference makers in the shootout.
Detroit 5, Calgary 4 (SO)
The Red Wings came back from a 4-2 deficit to send the game into overtime and then Todd Bertuzzi scored the only shootout goal to help Detroit steal a win from Calgary in this game. Brian Rafalski scored two goals for the Red Wings while Curtis “Glengarry” Glencross scored two goals and one assist for the Flames. After showing some life after the Darryl Sutter firing, Calgary’s now on a three game losing streak.
Anaheim 6, Columbus 0
All of a sudden, the Ducks are now ranked in fifth place. Not such a sudden occurrence: the Blue Jackets are still pretty awful. Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan each scored two goals while Jonas Hiller earned a 27-save shutout.
Vancouver 6, Edmonton 1
Ryan Kesler scored the second hat trick of his career (and in the last 30 days or so) while Daniel Sedin scored two goals and one assist while Henrik Sedin had three helpers in the Canucks’ dominant beating of the Oilers. Alex Edler scored the other Vancouver goal while Ales Hemsky provided Edmonton’s only tally.
As if Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final couldn’t get any more dramatic, it has — Tampa Bay captain Steve Stamkos, who hasn’t played since Mar. 31, will make his playoff debut against the Penguins tonight.
Stamkos underwent vascular surgery in early April to correct a blood clotting issue, and has remained on blood thinners ever since. While there’s been no confirmation he’s off medication, he did tell Sportsnet he’d be able to return to the lineup once he was.
Stamkos reiterated that he’s still on the same prescription of blood thinners he was given earlier this month. He takes a 12-hour dosage, twice a day, and it has been suggested to him that once he is cleared to stop taking the medication, Stamkos conceivably could return to the Lightning lineup almost immediately.
That’s why I’m trying to stay in shape,” he said.
Per NHL.com, Stamkos took the warmup and participated in line rushes centering Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan.
It’s been exactly eight weeks since Stamkos played his last game. At the time of his diagnosis, the Lightning said his timetable for recovery was 1-3 months.
To say his return will be a boost is a major understatement. Aside from the emotional factor, Stamkos led the Bolts in goals this year, with 36, and would presumably spark a power play that’s gone just 2-for-12 in the series.
Steve Stamkos took the team bus to tonight’s Eastern Conference Game 7 in Pittsburgh. As TVA noted, it was the first time he’s arrived early for a game in these playoffs.
In his pregame presser, Bolts head coach Jon Cooper refused to answer any questions about Stamkos’ availability.
And then Stamkos took the warmup.
As such, the drama surrounding Tampa Bay’s captain has reached an all-time high. Stamkos, who’s been out of the lineup since early April due to blood clots, looks as though he’s on the verge of an emotional comeback as the Lightning try to win an ECF Game 7 — on the road — for a second consecutive season.
“If Stamkos is in the lineup, it’s our best foot forward,” Cooper said. “If he’s not in the lineup, it’s because he wasn’t eligible to play.”
No word if No. 91 is still on the blood thinning medication he’s been taking since undergoing vascular surgery on Apr. 4.
EDINA, Minn. (AP) Minnesota Wild left wing Zach Parise has been rehabilitating his back injury without surgery, putting him on track to be at full strength by September.
Parise said Thursday he’s “happy with the way everything’s going.” He said he’s been able to work out as he normally does during the summer, despite missing the playoffs because of the injury.
Parise said there’s “no question” he’ll be ready to play for Team USA in the World Cup of Hockey tournament.
Parise joined teammates Erik Haula, Jason Pominville, Nate Prosser, Jared Spurgeon and Jason Zucker at an autograph signing to raise money for people affected by the wildfires in Alberta. The parents of Spurgeon’s wife, Danielle, lost their home to a fire in the Edmonton area.