Lots of notes for the Penguins this morning. Leading things off, Jordan Staal will not have any further punishment handed out to him for his sucker punch of Rangers forward Brandon Prust. Staal received a match penalty for the hit, a penalty that normally comes with a mandatory one-game suspension. As it is, Staal will play tonight and that’s for the best as Prust’s reaction to the punch seemed dubious at best.
Elsewhere, Evgeni Malkin was placed on injured reserve retroactively this morning. That means his IR-status goes back to the last game he played back on January 18th. This means that Malkin is eligible to come off IR at any time but he will not play in tonight’s game against the Islanders. It wouldn’t be crazy to think that Malkin plays in Pittsburgh’s next game on Friday against Buffalo.
Instead of Malkin playing tonight, the Pens called up Eric Tangradi from the AHL to suit up. Tangradi was a second round pick of the Ducks back in 2007 but came to Pittsburgh in the Chris Kunitz for Ryan Whitney trade. In 42 games for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Tangradi has 18 goals and 14 assists. He’s also played nine games for Pittsburgh this year earning a goal and an assist.
PHT Morning Skate: Jagr doesn’t understand why Peyton Manning would retire after winning the Super Bowl
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.