The Penguins are already up to their ears in injury problems with Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, Dustin Jeffrey, and Brooks Orpik out of action. You can throw Tyler Kennedy onto that list of guys dealing with health issues as he was held out of last night’s 2-1 loss to Winnipeg with what’s described as concussion-like symptoms.
His status for tonight’s game against Minnesota (7:30 p.m. ET on Versus) is in doubt and for Pittsburgh that’s a bad break to have right now. With those guys all out of action the pressure to score falls squarely on the shoulders of James Neal, Jordan Staal, and Chris Kunitz. The Penguins have been used to making up for guys being out of action, but every team has their limits for what they can do.
What’s making things harder is the number of games the Pens have had to start the year. Pittsburgh has already played in seven games this season and their eighth game is on the way tonight. Having so many games at the start of the year leaves a team to be more susceptible to injury and the Pens have fallen victim to that. Getting sent off to western Canada to start the year doesn’t help much either. It’s up to the Pens to hold down the fort for now lest they wind up falling back of the pack too early.
It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.
For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.
After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.
Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.
Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:
Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins
Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals
Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.
Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.
The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.
(Check out video of the hit above.)
The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.
Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?
Washington currently leads the game 3-2.
There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.
Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.
The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.
It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.
The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.
Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?
(If you’re into that kind of thing.)
Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: