The St. Louis Blues will get a huge lift Saturday night when LW David Perron rejoins the lineup to face the Chicago Blackhawks. Perron has been out of action since Nov. 4, 2010, after sustaining a concussion on this hit from San Jose’s Joe Thornton:
Similarities have been drawn between Perron and Sidney Crosby — who recently returned from a concussion-related absence himself — with the main issue being premature returns. After getting nailed by David Steckel in the 2011 Winter Classic, Crosby not only returned to the game, but played the following contest against Tampa Bay (it would be his final game of the season after taking a hit from Victor Hedman.)
Perron, meanwhile, left the game after getting nailed by Thornton — but only momentarily. He returned to the ice (and scored a goal) 10 minutes after getting hit, a decision that has since been questioned.
That said, both recovery processes displayed much more patience, and that patience seems to have paid off. Perron now must be chomping at the bit to rejoin a Blues team that’s found new life – they’re 8-1-2 under Ken Hitchcock and have jumped from 14th to fifth in the Western Conference.
The Blues should be just as excited to get Perron back. They’re ranked 30th in the NHL on the power play (8.8 percent), 21st in goals per game (2.46) and could definitely use his offensive spark.
Given St. Louis’ depth down the middle, there’s no shortage of places for Perron to play. Hitch likely won’t break up the Alex Steen-David Backes-TJ Oshie line (his only constant scoring unit) but could skate Perron with Matt D’Agostini and Patrik Berglund, or Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner.
Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds
The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.
San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.
The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.
Here’s the goal:
Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.
Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.
You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.
After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.
“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.
“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”
After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.
“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”
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.