If the first period of the 2011 Stanley Cup finals is any indication, people should set aside their worries about these two teams won’t bring fireworks. Both the Boston Bruins (17 shots) and Vancouver Canucks (12 shots) produced plenty of scoring chances, yet neither team could solve the two Vezina Trophy candidates through the first 20 minutes.
Boston 0, Vancouver 0; end of first period
The Bruins finished the first frame 1-for-29 on road power plays, although they did manage nine shots on a four minute double-minor penalty early in the first period. The Canucks created some nice chances on their three man advantages as well, but again, no one could put a goal past Tim Thomas or Roberto Luongo.
As many people have already pointed out, one advantage that really stood out in the opening 20 minutes was Vancouver’s speed. The Tampa Bay Lightning frequently left the Bruins defense in the dust in their seven game series and the Canucks possess speed up and down their lineup (not to mention an exceptional transition game).
The period expired with a bit of a melee that will leave the Bruins with a two minute power play to begin the second period. Alexander Burrows received a double-minor penalty for roughing during a skirmish with Patrice Bergeron, who received a single roughing penalty. Keith Jones pointed out that Burrows also bit Bergeron’s hand during the fracas, so it’s quite possible that Burrows might face a fine and/or suspension for that boneheaded move.
Thomas and Luongo were brilliant in the first period, but we’ll see if one (or both) can keep up their great play in two more periods. Stick with PHT for periodic updates for Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals and watch all the action on NBC right now.
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.)
Video isn’t yet available, but My Regular Face’s GIF 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.
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.
As many expected, the Minnesota Wild will make John Torchetti their interim head coach, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo.
(He’s not the only one to report as much, as TSN’s Bob McKenzie also stated that he’s likely to take the job.)
The team itself hasn’t made an official announcement about Torchetti, and the reasoning is probably simple enough: he’s coaching their AHL affiliate the Iowa Wild on Saturday night.
Torchetti is no stranger to the NHL, although he’ll probably be frustrated if this opportunity doesn’t turn into a full-time gig. He was also an interim head coach for the Los Angeles Kings and Florida Panthers.
As of this writing, the Wild are in a three-way tie for the first spot outside of the West’s wild card mix, although they could sink a bit depending upon how Arizona and Vancouver handle the one game they have in hand on the Wild.
More importantly, Minnesota’s currently three points behind Nashville for the final wild card spot.
That’s not an impossible goal for Torchetti. For whatever it’s worth, Sports Club Stats gives Minnesota a 34.7 percent chance to make the playoffs.
(Note: photo via the Iowa Wild.)