Vancouver’s Dan Hamhuis out with concussion after big hit by Ryan Getzlaf

Vancouver announced that Canucks defenseman Dan Hamhuis will be out indefinitely with a concussion. Hamhuis was injured Wednesday night when he was crushed in open ice by Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf.

While the hit itself was violent and terrible looking, it’s one that hasn’t been met with the same outrage we’ve seen elsewhere with other big hits. As we’ve seen around the NHL over the last few years, huge hits sometimes bring about huge, senseless scrums and fighting. In this case, outrage was saved for another day as even Canucks GM Mike Gillis didn’t find anything wrong with Getzlaf’s play.

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault spoke about the incident and said that Hamhuis has no one to blame for the hit but himself.

“I thought it was a good hit by a big player,” Vigneault said. “(Hamhuis) was watching his pass and he should have been trying to protect himself a little bit.

“Some guys finish hits, some guys don’t. If Hank or Danny are coming at you, maybe you can watch your pass.

“If Getzlaf is coming at you, you’ve got to have your head up.”

Tough words from the head coach there, but they’re true. It’s looking more and more like it’s a good thing that Sami Salo is making his return to Vancouver soon now with Hamhuis out for an unknown amount of time. As always with concussions you just never know how bad the damage is and how long it’ll keep Hamhuis out of the lineup.

Salo’s return will help soften the blow of losing Hamhuis, but Hamhuis’ dependable defensive play will be missed on the back end. Salo isn’t as good of a defender as Hamhuis so how they hold up without him should be worth watching. Vancouver doesn’t have many flaws this year, but if the defense breaks down in front of Roberto Luongo we’ve seen that lead to problems all around in the past.

Video: Connor McDavid shows off speed and skill (again)

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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).

Islanders grab precious points by beating Rangers

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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

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Rick Nash has his critics stemming from his playoff struggles in the past, but for those who support him, moments like these are satisfying.

Why? Because you’d be absurd to discredit how hard he tries when Nash scores goals like he did for the New York Rangers against the New York Islanders on Wednesday.

Nash went all-out for his 20th goal of the season, sprawling after scoring against Thomas Greiss. It’s quite a sight, and Getty Images really was on top of that one.

via Getty Images

The Rangers may need more from him tonight, however, as the Islanders just went up 3-2. Watch the remainder of the contest on NBCSN.

Leafs pass Bruins for third in Atlantic after gutsy win against Columbus

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It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.

Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:

Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games

This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.

The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.

This game was all about William Nylander‘s brilliant start:

And also Toronto surviving a long penalty kill after that Polak hit:

Nazem Kadri‘s 30th goal really put the game out of reach, helping Toronto nab a significant victory.

The Blue Jackets can wallow in this defeat and Oliver Bjorkstrand‘s injury, either, as they turn around to face the Washington Capitals in a big one tomorrow.