New York Rangers v Washington Capitals

Bruce Boudreau wants review of Marc Staal hit on Mike Green, won’t get it

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When Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau isn’t making fun of Madison Square Garden’s “horrible” locker rooms, he also finds time to critique a hit or two. The bombastic coach isn’t very happy about a hit New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal delivered on Mike Green, a player who was recently sidelined with concussion issues.

Boudreau accused the Rangers of targeting Green’s head frequently in the team’s Game 3 loss, according to Ryan O’Halloran from CSN Washington. Although Boudreau was also upset with Brandon Prust’s actions in the first period, he pointed to a Staal hit in the middle frame. The outspoken coach said that Staal targeted Green with a blindside hit to the head shortly before Alex Ovechkin scored a goal.

He compared the hit to the much-discussed Raffi Torres check on Brent Seabrook, but the Staal hit didn’t even receive a league hearing, review or phone call, according to Larry Brooks of the New York Post.

Perhaps Boudreau hopes that the league keeps a closer eye regarding the Rangers’ supposed targeting of Green, if nothing else. It seems like his commentary fell on deaf ears, but here are some of the highlights, via CSN Washington.

“It was a dirty shot,” Boudreau said after the Capitals’ optional skate on Monday. “I hope the league looks at. I’m listening to all the experts last night on the [Raffi] Torres [of Vancouver] hit on [Chicago’s Brent] Seabrook, and they’re all saying, ‘There’s no puck. It’s not a hockey play. The guy is in a vulnerable position, and he hits the head.’

“Staal comes in, there’s no puck and he takes his arm and swings at his head. It’s all forgotten because we score a goal to tie the game up. It shouldn’t be forgotten, and it wasn’t the only time they targeted Mike’s head. That’s what we want to get out of the game.”

Ducks likely to recall Khudobin after Gibson injury

Chicago Blackhawks' Richard Panik (14), of Slovakia, collides with Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Chicago. Anaheim won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.

The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).

The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.

Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:

The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”

Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.