Mike Russo of the Minnesota Star-Tribune is reporting that Wild forward Nick Johnson will not receive any additional punishment for his alleged “headbutt” on Calgary’s Jarome Iginla last night.
The incident occurred during a second period scrap with Minnesota up 2-0:
Johnson received five minutes for fighting and an additional 10 (match penalty, intent to injure) with the headbutt coming around the 40 second mark of the video.
The big debate is if Johnson’s actions were egregious enough for a match penalty…or if the match penalty was a result of Iggy working the officials.
“It just felt I got head-butted. I haven’t had that very often in a fight. I thought the refs made the right call, and that pretty much was the end of it,” Iginla told reporters afterward. “You just kinda get fired up in a fight, and I felt like he got me there a couple of times with the head. I thought the refs saw it, made the right call, and that was pretty much the end of it.”
Wild head coach Mike Yeo disagreed with the call (Russo also disagreed, for whatever that’s worth), suggesting that Johnson was merely trying to protect himself during a fight.
I guess the tricky part for Brendan Shanahan and the NHL’s discipline/player safety department is they just nailed Buffalo’s Patrick Kaleta for serial headbutting. That said, there’s a big difference between the moves Kaleta pulled and what Johnson did last night. Johnson was jerking his head around during a fight; Kaelta was launching himself at unsuspecting opponents with his helmet on (and was caught doing it on three separate occasions.)
UPDATE: Russo also reports the Wild plan to make a formal request to Terry Gregson, NHL Director of Officiating, to rescind the match penalty.
Well, that was quite a third period.
For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.
Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.
The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.
Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.
And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.
Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)
The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.
Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.
The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.
The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.
As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.
On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.
He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.
From CSN Mid-Atlantic:
The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.
Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.
He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.
The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.
There was no call on the play.
Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.
Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.
Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.
That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus: