Montreal forward Max Pacioretty will have a phone hearing with the NHL Monday morning for this hit on Pittsburgh defenseman Kris Letang during the third period of the Penguins’ overtime win in Montreal Saturday night. Pacioretty broke Letang’s nose on the play, yet wasn’t whistled for a penalty:
Unsurprisingly, the hit is garnering a lot of attention. Pacioretty is one of the NHL’s highest-profile concussion victims (from last season’s stanchion hit by Zdeno Chara) yet seemed to be headhunting Letang intentionally on the play. The Globe and Mail called it a “textbook blindside hit prohibited by rule 48 – Pacioretty coming in from Letang’s right and laying his shoulder and upper arm into Letang’s head.”
Judging by his actions, Pacioretty knew the hit was bad. He apologized to Letang prior to the start of overtime and expressed remorse to the Globe following the game.
“It’s a tough decision for me, it’s a tough decision for him too. He’s coming across the middle, unfortunately his head is down, I feel terrible about what happened,” Pacioretty said. “I didn’t see the replays, so I don’t know what the league will think of it. But if I let him take that shot it could be in the back of our net. It’s a tough decision for me, I thought I tried to keep it within the rules, but I haven’t seen the replay.
“I’ve been down that road, it’s a terrible feeling, I know (the Penguins) are probably going to want something to be done . . . (Letang) said he was good.”
Sharks swarm in the third period, take down Predators in Game 1
But that all changed in the final period. It started with Tomas Hertl on the power play finding room just under the glove of Rinne to get San Jose on the board. Joel Ward followed that up with a gorgeous deke, tucking the puck in behind Rinne just as he started to go behind the net, as San Jose was able to take advantage of a defensive breakdown.
Logan Couture added the eventual winner. Within the span of 13 minutes, the Sharks had completely taken over, cashing in on two Nashville penalties and a defensive lapse.
When the onslaught was over, the Sharks skated off with a 5-2 win in Game 1 of this second-round series with the Predators, who only wrapped up a seven-game series win over Anaheim on Wednesday.
Ryan Johansen made it interesting, cutting into San Jose’s lead with under two minutes remaining, but any further comeback attempt was quickly halted by a pair of empty net goals from the Sharks.
The game ended with a dust-up along the boards, before cooler heads did prevail.
Another North Dakota junior goes pro as Blackhawks sign Luke Johnson
Brock Boeser, Vancouver’s 2015 first-round pick and coming off an impressive freshman year, will return to North Dakota for his sophomore year, as per Canucks general manager Jim Benning earlier this month.
Video: Black cat hits the ice before Sharks-Predators Game 1
The Dallas Stars scored a late winner, held on in the final minute and eventually struck first in their best-of-seven second-round series with the St. Louis Blues.
Once again, it was the speed and skill of the Stars that proved to be the difference in the end. Radek Faksa scored with less than five minutes remaining in the third period, breaking the deadlock and giving Dallas a 2-1 victory and 1-0 series lead over their Central Division foes on Friday.
As he entered the zone on the rush, Faksa dished off to a flying Ales Hemsky, who was denied by Brian Elliott in alone. But Faksa followed up, jamming in the rebound to give the Stars the lead, as both St. Louis defensemen Jay Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo were caught by the speed of the Dallas forwards on the rush.
The Stars held on from there, as the Blues made a late push to tie the game.
Kari Lehtonen stopped 31 of 32 shots for Dallas, while Elliott was busy throughout the night, stopping 40 of 42 shots.