With injuries to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and even surprisingly effective youngster Mark Letestu – a trio that produced a whopping 34.8 percent of the Pittsburgh Penguins offense – the team must learn to play with a tiny margin of error.
While the Penguins sport a more aggressive, attacking group of defensemen from the blue line, one wonders if the team’s current state gives Ray Shero flashbacks to his days as the assistant general for the Nashville Predators. The team is now low on marquee offensive talent but long on quality from the blue line, talent in net and effort from its forward groups.
Pittsburgh might need to live with that formula for some time, as there is no timetable for Crosby’s return. In fact, the team hasn’t ruled out the possibility of Crosby missing both the remainder of the season and playoffs because of the mysterious nature of post-concussion syndrome.
Multiple sources said over the weekend that Crosby would not resume normal exercise activity for seven to 10 days, and that the Penguins do not expect him to play against until at least March.
Nobody within Crosby’s camp has ruled out the possibility he could miss the remainder of this season, including the playoffs – but only because recovery from concussions is impossible to predict.
Penguins general manager Ray Shero said “nothing has changed” regarding the status of Crosby, who is not symptom free and remains cleared for only light exercise.
If the Pens learn anything from the Boston Bruins’ fiasco with Marc Savard, it’s that they should handle Crosby’s concussion problems with kid gloves. Even if it costs them what looked like a promising season.
Ducks take control of second in Pacific after edging Oilers
McDavid scored a goal and two assists, yet Ryan Getzlaf was right there with him with three assists, helping the Ducks win 4-3.
With that, Anaheim is clearly ahead of Edmonton for second in the Pacific. The Ducks would hold home-ice over the Oilers if the playoffs began today, and better yet for them, a division title isn’t out of the question:
1. Sharks – 91 points in 73 games played
2. Ducks – 89 points in 73 GP
3. Oilers – 87 points in 73 GP
4. Flames – 86 points in 73 GP
As you can see, the Oilers aren’t exactly far ahead of the Flames for third, either.
Going forward, the Oilers have an interesting schedule: a mix of games against cellar dwellers (two apiece against the Canucks and Avalanche) plus two games apiece versus the Kings and Sharks.
The Ducks’ schedule includes two matches against the Flames, one against the Kings and one more match at Edmonton on April 1.
Long story short, the jockeying for position is far from over, but this was a pretty significant win for the Ducks.
Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)
Connor McDavid‘s 26th goal of 2016-17 was a lot like many others: an impressive display of skill and speed. He didn’t blaze past the Anaheim Ducks like has against opponents on other occasions, but his rare wheels still came in handy.
Maybe more than sheer speed, this tally is a reminder that McDavid could do impressive things while losing little or no momentum. It’s one thing to have straight-line speed, but he has the hands and hockey IQ to take advantage of his swift skating.
McDavid already has two points in this one, pushing him to 84 points. He also extended his point streak to five games (three goals, six assists if he stays at one of each on Wednesday).
The goal posts might move from time to time – now they’re chasing the Boston Bruins more than the Toronto Maple Leafs – but the bottom line is that the New York Islanders need to get it done to make the playoffs.
They still have some climbing to do, but Wednesday represented a step in the right direction with a tough 3-2 win against the New York Rangers.
The Rangers built 1-0 and 2-1 leads in the second period as John Tavares struggled with a “hat trick” of penalties, but Tavares & Co. wouldn’t give up. They managed two power-play goals in the third (one by Nikolay Kulemin, the winner by Andrew Ladd) to turn things around for a significant win.
Anders Lee was also a big part of the win, grabbing a goal and an assist. The biggest difference-maker may very well have been Thomas Greiss, who stopped 34 of 36 shots (including all 11 in the third) as the Rangers created a lot of offense.
The Islanders now have 80 standings points, placing them two behind the Bruins for the East’s final wild card spot.
The Rangers’ hold over the first wild card seems quite secure, but they do have to worry ever so slightly about their play at home. With this defeat, they’ve now lost seven straight (0-5-2) at Madison Square Garden.
Video: Rick Nash scores 20th goal in sprawling style