Tim Thomas received a lot of deserved credit for the Boston Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup victory, but he certainly had some help. Beyond Zdeno Chara, his biggest helpers might have been the top line of Nathan Horton, David Krejci and Milan Lucic, even if they slipped under the radar a bit.
Considering that run and the prime ages of those three forwards, it wouldn’t have been crazy to expect a big year from that line. Instead, they’ve struggled mightily to begin the season, leaving CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty to wonder if they’re on the verge of being split up. Here’s Haggerty’s take on their work so far.
Lucic has only six hits in three games and hasn’t been the tower of fire-breathing intimidation he can be when playing with some genuine anger, Krejci has been average at best to start the season after leading the team in playoff goals last year and Horton has been the most absent of the bunch in the early going.
Looking at their simplest numbers, I think that Krejci and Lucic should get their acts together. Krejci has a goal on six shots and Lucic has an assist as well as six shots while Horton has just one shot on goal and zero points.
It’s hard not to wonder if Horton is still a little bit “off” from that notorious Aaron Rome hit. If Bruins head coach Claude Julien opts to break that line up, he might want to move Horton off the line – at least temporarily. The Krecji-Lucic combo fared quite well even in the games following Horton’s injury, after all.
It’s only three games, but NHL coaches are known for tweaking their line combos. If their slow start festers into a funk, it might be best for Julien to forget their prosperous past.
You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.
It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.
You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:
Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.
This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.
Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.
The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.
Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3
Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon
Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.
“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.
The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.
Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.
He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.
In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.
Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016