Justin Williams

Kings forward Justin Williams expected to play in Game 1

When Kings forward Justin Williams went down with a dislocated shoulder three weeks ago, at the time the Kings didn’t know it’d be the least of their worries offensively. Williams and his 22 goals and 35 assists tied him for second on the team in scoring with Dustin Brown behind Anze Kopitar. With Kopitar out for the rest of the playoffs with a broken ankle, getting Williams back in the lineup as soon as possible became the top priority.

The Kings can stop worrying about that now as Williams is expected to be in the Kings lineup for Game 1 against San Jose on Thursday night. Without Kopitar, Williams figures to end up on a line with either Jarrett Stoll or even Michal Handzus. With Williams set along the right wing, they’ll be hoping his shoulder will be strong enough and stable enough.

Kings coach Terry Murray tells Rich Hammond at the Kings website that Williams shouldn’t have any issues.

“He’s got the green light. It’s 100 percent,” Murray said after Tuesday’s practice.  “His strength is great. He did all the testing. The only restriction would be because of the shoulder harness that he’s wearing. Scratching the top of your head is basically what he couldn’t do.”

Let’s just make sure they’ve got someone to help him get his helmet on just to be safe.

Playing through an injury like this comes with risks. Playing so relatively soon after a dislocation leaves you susceptible to having it pop out again with minimal jarring. Williams wearing a harness to keep his shoulder from moving in too wide a range is going to help him, but if it gets re-aggravated don’t be shocked.

The Kings come into the playoffs as the lowest scoring team of the 16 in the postseason. To be able to beat the Sharks, the Kings will need to be defensively stellar but they’re also going to desperately need the goals from Williams and Brown and Ryan Smyth as well. Don’t expect the Sharks to play nice and go lightly on Williams.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.