Vancouver 4 – Columbus 1
A milestone win for the Canucks as for the first time in team history they won 50 games. Chris Higgins had two goals and an assist to lead the way while Cory Schneider stopped 39 shots to ensure victory. Henrik Sedin and Christian Ehrhoff also added goals for Vancouver as they continue their dominance out west. R.J. Umberger had the Jackets’ only goal. The win gives Vancouver 109 points on the season and extends their lead over Detroit for the top spot to 12 points. One more Canucks win will lock up the top spot in the West and home ice throughout the playoffs.
Boston 2 – Philadelphia 1
Boston locked up a playoff spot thanks to Brad Marchand’s third period goal. Tim Thomas stopped 27 shots in a stellar effort to shutdown the Flyers.
Pittsburgh 2 – Florida 1 (F/SO)
Pittsburgh won their fourth straight game, all of which have come via the shootout – a new and unique record all of their own. Ben Lovejoy scored in regulation for the Pens while James Neal and Alex Kovalev scored in the shootout to help the Pens cut Philly’s advantage in the Atlantic Division to just four points. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 37 shots in the win, meanwhile Tomas Vokoun left the game with just seconds left in the third with a back injury. He’s expected back this week.
Atlanta 5 – Ottawa 4 (F/SO)
It’s not much of a pulse, but the Thrashers still have one for the playoffs after taking out Craig Anderson in the shootout. Andrew Ladd netted the winner in the shootout while four different Thrashers scored in regulation. Atlanta managed to blow a 4-2 lead in the third to allow the Sens back in the game. Chris Mason earned the win for Atlanta in goal. Marek Svatos scored twice for Ottawa. Atlanta is nine points out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with seven games left to play.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.