While you may not have noticed his importance to the Chicago lineup in the past, Dave Bolland’s absence has been a killer for Chicago. Without Bolland to work as the second line center or on their penalty kill, the Blackhawks have been at a disadvantage both 5-on-5 and without their shorthanded threat.
Bolland’s been out of action after suffering a concussion in early March from Tampa Bay’s Pavel Kubina but now it’s looking like he’ll be ready to go tomorrow night for Game 4 against Vancouver. With the Blackhawks’ backs against the wall on the brink of being swept out of the playoffs, Bolland will be hoping to make his presence felt against the Canucks.
NHL.com’s Dan Rosen gets the story from Bolland.
“I’m progressing,” Bolland told NHL.com after Chicago’s morning skate on Sunday. “Things are going good. Now it’s just keeping it on a baseline, keeping it straight and making sure there’s no other symptoms — making sure nothing is coming back. You’re going to have your ups and downs, but I still have to be positive, come to the rink and do everything I can to come back. Everything for me is staying positive.”
Coach Joel Quenneville seemed more positive about how Bolland’s doing as he was close to playing in Game 3. With the team being on the precipice of elimination, getting a little extra jump and some added help in the lineup should help Chicago out a little bit. Bolland isn’t a game breaking type of player but he can help Chicago settle things down just a bit in a few ways.
Will it be enough to help Chicago dig out of a 3-0 hole in the series and shock Vancouver? Very doubtful but after the Bruins collapse against the Flyers last year, you can never be too sure. Still, the way Vancouver is in the heads of the Blackhawks you can bet on this switch up in the lineup, should it come to pass, to be the proverbial band-aid on a gunshot wound.
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.
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).
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.
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.