John Tortorella

Discipline still lacking for Rangers and Flyers

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Before the New York Rangers’ game in Vancouver on Tuesday night, coach John Tortorella gently reminded his team that it was taking too many penalties. Specifically, he made his players do push-ups when defenseman Jeff Woywitka tripped a teammate in practice.

“We have to be more disciplined,” Tortorella told reporters. “We’re a smart enough team to play our game the way we should play with discipline.”

After which his team put itself shorthanded eight times against the Canucks.

Two nights later in Calgary, it was five times.

Fortunately for the players, the Rangers won both games.

Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, coach Peter Laviolette was preaching the same message prior to the Flyers’ game with the Senators on Tuesday. He called his team’s parade to the penalty box to start the season “unacceptable.”

After which his team put itself shorthanded five times against the Sens.

Two nights later versus Washington, it was six times.

The Flyers hammered Ottawa, but lost to the Caps, 5-2.

This morning, Philly defenseman Kimmo Timonen addressed the penalties issue once again.

“Obviously, we talk about that almost every game, that we need to cut back on penalties and if we can minimize the penalties to four or five or whatever that is, that’s great, but anything that goes over four or five, that’s killing the bench,” Timonen said, as per Tim Panaccio at csnphilly.com.

Even four or five penalties can be too many, especially against a team like Washington, which scored its fourth goal (courtesy Alex Ovechkin) with the man advantage, snuffing out any chance for a Philly comeback.

Further proof of the importance of staying out of the box came last night when the Lightning beat the Islanders, 4-1. Tampa Bay, which had put itself shorthanded a ridiculous 37 times in its first six games (five of them defeats), only had to kill two penalties against the Isles.

“We were spending the whole game in the penalty box,” Lighning coach Guy Boucher said after last night’s game. “We just needed to put it all together. And that’s discipline. It’s total focus. That’s what we were lacking in the last games.”

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Most times shorthanded per game:

NY Rangers — 6.2

Philadelphia — 6.0

Tampa Bay — 5.6

Least times shorthanded per game:

Florida — 2.6

Detroit — 2.8

Chicago — 2.8

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)
AP
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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.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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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.