Bruce Boudreau says both Michal Neuvirth and Nicklas Backstrom are ‘OK’

While the Washington Capitals earned a hard-fought shootout win to improve their lead in the Southeast Division against the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight, it seemed like it might have come with two caveats: injuries to Nicklas Backstrom and Michal Neuvirth.

It looked like Backstrom aggravated his thumb injury (forcing him out after the second period), while Neuvirth left the game after the first period when a shot him in the mask.

Katie Carrera passes along good news on both fronts from coach Bruce Boudreau, who said that each player is “OK.”

On Neuvirth:

Boudreau said part of the metal from the mask went into Neuvirth’s eye after that first shot. They got it out thou[gh]. “He’s going to be Ok.”

Part of his mask went into his eye? Yikes.

Background on Backstrom (from here and here):

Backstrom fell on his left hand/fractured thumb, Boudreau said he’s going to be ok and that he wanted to come back vs Lightning. #Caps

Looked like Backstrom’s thumb and possibly part of his hand was wrapped after the game but it was hard to tell to what extent.

Now, keep in mind, this might be a matter of semantics. Being “OK” doesn’t necessarily mean that both Neuvirth and Backstrom are going to be ready for the Capitals’ next game (against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday), but it should at least be soothing for those worried about two important players missing serious time.

Still, the team should be careful with Backstrom. After all, it might be tough for him to maintain his world-class passing skills if that fractured thumb doesn’t heal sufficiently.

Fight video: Flyers’ Manning vs. Penguins’ Gaunce

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Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.

The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.

Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.

Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.

Dreading the work week? Watch this dog get ‘ice time’ with puck

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Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.

Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.

Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.

Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.

Patrik Laine’s out sick for Jets on Sunday

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Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.

It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.

The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.

NHL schedules hearing for Micheal Haley’s sucker-punch on Calle Jarnkrok


The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.

The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.

Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.

“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.

In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.