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Weekend Watch: Five games you need to see

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This is the Weekend Watch. It’s a guide of what to watch this weekend.

Friday: Vancouver at Anaheim, 10:30pm ET

A big “pent-up aggression” game for the Ducks. They’ve been awful lately and just lost to a team they hate (Nashville). To top it off, they had a closed-door meeting yesterday to air their grievances. Thankfully, they get a Vancouver team at the end of a six-games-in-12-nights road trip, fairly pleased with itself after back-to-back wins in Chicago and L.A.

Saturday: Buffalo at Boston, 7pm ET

Question: Has anybody had a better start to the year — yet received less attention — than Jason Pominville? He’s posted 6G-12A-18PTS in 14 games (on pace for 105) while assisting on seven of Thomas Vanek’s team-leading 10 goals. Pominville also kills penalties and is pretty solid in the faceoff circle. I say he’s Buffalo’s MVP thus far.

Saturday: Winnipeg at Columbus, 7pm ET

Major car crash potential here. Claude Noel and Scott Arniel are in precarious situations — Noel can’t stand the Jets (which is unfortunate, given he’s their coach) and Arniel has that whole Sean Penn-in-Dead Man Walking look about him. The players are in equally precarious states: Columbus has made two trades in the last three days and Winnipeg appears primed to blow it up. This game will have more nervous energy than a six-year-old on Red Bull.

Saturday: Minnesota at Los Angeles, 10:30pm ET

We’ve already mentioned three coaches under fire — Carlyle, Noel and Arniel — so why not throw a fourth into the mix with Los Angeles’ Terry Murray? The Kings are a mess right now. They’re 3-5-2 in their last 10 and can’t score goals, this despite swinging big in the offseason by acquiring Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. Murray’s tried every trick in the book to kickstart the offense — jugging lines, demotions to the press box, activating Colin Fraser — but none have worked. GM Dean Lombardi’s shown plenty of patience, but this is year four of the Murray era. His time might be up soon.

Sunday: Edmonton at Chicago, 7pm ET

Chicago’s about to embark on the strangest stretch of its schedule (keep in mind they played Vancouver on Nov. 6). Here’s what it looks like:

Fri, Nov. 11 vs Calgary
Sun, Nov. 13 vs. Edmonton
Wed, Nov. 16 at Vancouver
Fri, Nov. 18 at Calgary
Sat, Nov. 19 at Edmonton

It’s like a two-week crash course of Western Canadian teams. Weird.

As for the Oilers, I wonder how much more we’re going to see of Devan Dubnyk. The Oilers have liberally worked him into the lineup, and he hasn’t been bad — but he’s on the hook for four of their six losses this year. Meanwhile, Nikolai Khabibulin hasn’t lost in regulation and has a 0.98 GAA. At some point, you have to ditch the timeshare idea and ride your No. 1 — right?

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.

WATCH LIVE: Game 2 of Predators-Sharks

San Jose Sharks goalie Martin Jones (31) deflects a shot from Nashville Predators' Viktor Arvidsson (38) during the second period of Game 1 in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Western Conference semifinal series Friday, April 29, 2016, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Associated Press
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The Nashville Predators and San Jose Sharks will face-off in Game 2 on Sunday night. You can catch the game on NBCSN (8:00 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports Live Extra app.

The Sharks used a five-goal third period to squash the Predators in the opening game of the best-of-seven series. Game 2 at the Sharks Tank should be a whole lot of fun.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here’s some reading material to get you ready for the game:

Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1

Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1

Are there similarities between the ’14 Sharks and ’16 Ducks?

Backes scores OT goal on his birthday, Blues even up series with Stars

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The St. Louis Blues won’t be thrilled with the way they played in the third period, but in the end, they did just enough to come away with a 4-3 overtime win over the Dallas Stars in Game 2. The Blues’ win means that the series will head to St. Louis tied 1-1.

The Stars opened the scoring in the first period, but the Blues responded by scoring three unanswered goals (Patrik Berglund, Joel Edmundson, Troy Brouwer) on five shots. Stars coach Lindy Ruff had seen enough from starter Kari Lehtonen at that point. He yanked Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi at the start of the second period.

Neither team was able to find the back of the net in the second period, but things got crazy in the third.

With his team still trailing 3-1, Mattias Janmark split Alex Pietrangelo and Colton Parayko before scoring a great goal.

Moments after Janmark’s goal, Brian Elliott took a Jason Spezza blast off the mask. Elliott was shaken up on the play (he even lost one of his contact lenses), but he did stay in the game.

Stars captain Jamie Benn (surprise, surprise) leveled the score by burying a goal by Brian Elliott with under three minutes in regulation.

Like they did during their first round series against Chicago, the Blues took some time to regroup before finding a way to get the job done.

The Blues’ power play went back to work after Antoine Roussel took his third penalty of the game. That’s when the birthday boy, David Backes, came through.

That’s a nice way to celebrate your 32nd birthday.

Game 3 goes Tuesday night in St. Louis.

 

Jamie Benn’s late goal sends Game 2 to overtime

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This definitely wasn’t the way the St. Louis Blues drew it up.

The Blues entered the third period of Game 2 with a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately for them, they weren’t able to shut the game down on the road.

St. Louis jumped ahead 3-1 after 20 minutes before Dallas decided to pull Kari Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi. The move didn’t provide any results in the middle frame, but something certainly sparked the Stars in the third period.

Mattias Janmark cut the deficit to 3-2 with this beauty (notice how he split Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo).

With less than three minutes remaining in regulation, Stars captain Jamie Benn tied it up (top).

It’s safe to say this wasn’t a memorable third period for the Blues.