Scott Arniel

PHT’s Three Duds of the Week: Blue Jackets (again!), Hornqvist, Heatley

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Every Monday, we’ll highlight (or, lowlight) three of the NHL’s biggest duds from the past week.

1st Dud: Pick a Jacket, any Jacket. Again.

Key Stats: Columbus didn’t win a game last week, much like the week before. 

Making the Blue Jackets our 1st Dud for the second straight week might seem like a cop-out, but how can you justify choosing anyone else? The Jackets remain the NHL’s only winless team and have the league’s worst goal differential. They’re finding new, painful ways to lose hockey games and now face a week where they’ll play Detroit (5-1), Buffalo (5-2) and Chicago (4-1-2). Jeff Carter is out, Radek Martinek is out, Marc Methot is out, both backup goalies are out and their pets’ heads keep falling off. It’s a mess.

Eventually, we’ll spread the wealth around. But for the second consecutive week, Columbus is our No. 1 Dud — with a bullet.

2nd Dud: Patric Hornqvist, RW, Nashville Predators

Key Stats: 0G-0A-0PTS in three games played. Minus-3 rating.

Remember how Hornqvist finished last season? It’s fine if you forgot as Hornqvist would probably prefer it that way. To refresh: He scored three points in his first four playoff games, then went scoreless over his final eight. That included the second-round series against Vancouver where he played wearing Harry Potter’s cloak of invisibility (nerd alert!)

Dating back to last season, Hornqvist’s now gone 14 consecutive games without registering a single point. Nashville just can’t have this. Hornqvist’s scored 51 goals over the last two years, which on a normal team is a pretty healthy total. For the Predators, it’s like half their offense.

3rd Dud: Dany Heatley, RW, Minnesota Wild

Key Stats: Sometimes, poor play can’t be quantified by numbers alone.

On Saturday, Heatley took a criminally dumb slashing penalty in in OT against Vancouver — ESPN’s Jess Myers called it “a strange swipe” while the Vancouver Sun’s Iain MacIntyre described it as “absurd” — which led to Sami Salo’s game-winning goal with 21 seconds to play.

The call capped off a rough week for Heatley. While he did manage to muster two points, he’s only recorded one goal in his last seven games — this despite averaging over 22 minutes a night, more than all but one of his Wild teammates (defenseman Marek Zidlicky).

If you’d like to weigh in with your duds of the week, add ‘em in the comments section below.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.