Not all body checks that lead to concussions are illegal hits. For anyone who was wondering the difference, Nick Foligno lit up Cody Hodgson in the first period of the Canucks/Sens game on Saturday night. Hodgson corrals the puck and starts up the boards in his own zone and makes the unfortunate decision to cut towards the middle. Instead of finding open ice, Hodgson found a huge piece of a Nick Foligno check.
The Sens forward delivers a perfectly clean check. He keeps his elbow down and stays on his feet as he drives through Hodgson. There’s contact with the head, but only because Hodgson is bending over and makes a late turn into Foligno. Hopefully Andy Sutton was watching and taking notes.
Hodgson was clearly dazed, struggled to find his balance on his feet, and had to be helped to the bench. It was quickly announced that he would not return to the game.
On the ensuing shift, Canucks forward Dale Weise went straight towards Foligno to make him answer for the huge check on a skilled player. Foligno obliged, they dropped the gloves, and settled business. Much respect to Weise for standing up for his teammate; much respect to Foligno for taking a challenger that is doing his job.
(Update: It continued to be a memorable night for Foligno. Midway through the second period, he hit Ryan Kesler almost the same spot in the ice and was given boarding call… and a 10-minute misconduct for his vocal disagreement with the call.)
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.