McQuaid avoids suspension for kneeing Foligno

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Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos reports Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid won’t face additional punishment from NHL discipline czar Brendan Shananan after kneeing Ottawa’s Nick Foligno last night:

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McQuaid received a five-minute kneeing major and a game misconduct on the play. Foligno left momentarily before returning to the game, finishing with 17:07 of ice time.

According to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty, the NHL Department of Player Safety felt the knee-on-knee play was more “reactionary” than “with intent to injure” and didn’t deserve any additional discipline beyond the penalties called.

That said, here’s a list of “things people will likely complain about on the intertube”:

— Sounds like Foligno’s ability to return was a key factor in the ruling. This opens up a Pandora’s Box when it comes to injury disclosure, because when Colorado’s Kevin Porter got dinged four games for kneeing Vancouver’s David Booth, Shanahan remarked Booth’s injury (out 4-6 weeks with a sprained MCL) affected his decision.

— Let’s say, for example, the Sens had held Foligno out of the game as a precautionary measure. What if the Sens didn’t offer an injury update afterward? How would that have affected the ruling?

— This, from former NHL referee Kerry Fraser (courtesy TSN):

If Adam McQuaid had stuck out his elbow instead of his leg, recent suspension history would dictate that a three game suspension would most likely be imposed.

Ruling purely on the extent of the kneeing act (like the one committed by Adam McQuaid), with the absence of injury, I believe any player guilty of this should be suspended for a minimum of one game and a maximum of three  (Three would make it consistent with dangerous hits ruled upon recently where no injury resulted).

— McQuaid is the third Bruin to avoid suspension for a controversial hit this season. The others were Milan Lucic (for charging Ryan Miller), Brad Marchand (for slew-footing Matt Niskanen). I don’t put any credence in this conspiracy theory, nor do I support it. But I can’t ignore the fact it’s out there.

UPDATE: McQuaid did receive a $2,500 fine for the hit.

No mic? No problem: Oilers fans sing American, Canadian national anthems

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There was apparently an issue with a microphone used for the national anthems prior to Game 3 between the Ducks and Oilers in Edmonton.

Canadian country music star Brett Kissel was supposed to perform the anthems, however, as he stepped up to the mic, he soon discovered that there seemed to be a malfunction.

With some quick encouragement from Kissel, fans at Rogers Place stole the show with stirring renditions of both the American and Canadian national anthems.

Here is the Star Spangled Banner:

Here is O Canada:

Sami Vatanen returns to Ducks lineup vs. Oilers

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Good news for the Anaheim Ducks, who trail the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 in their second round series.

Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen returns to the lineup Sunday for Game 3 — his first game since April 13, which was the opener of Anaheim’s first-round series with Calgary, because of an upper-body injury.

However, the Ducks will be without Kevin Bieksa, who is dealing with a lower-body injury.

Predators stifle Blues to take back series lead

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The Nashville Predators have snapped their one-game funk in these Stanley Cup playoffs, taking back the series lead over the St. Louis Blues.

For long stretches of Sunday’s contest, the Predators kept the puck away from and stifled the Blues, including a stretch of almost nine minutes at the beginning of the second period in which St. Louis failed to register a shot attempt.

The Predators’ 3-1 victory in Game 3 was eventually secured on an unbelievably dominant shift late in the third period.

Joel Edmundson‘s (costly) turnover led to a dizzying attack from Predators, who had sustained puck possession inside the St. Louis zone for about 1:10.

By the end, Edmundson and Colton Parayko had exhausted themselves as the Predators tossed the puck around with increasing ease before Roman Josi halted the madness with a slap shot to the top corner, giving Nashville a two-goal lead.

That continues an impressive trend for the Predators.

They have scored nine goals in this series, with at least one defenseman contributing directly with either a goal or an assist on eight of those goals. Nashville’s group of blueliners — including Ryan Ellis, who has been on quite a productive roll throughout these playoffs — have combined for 11 points through three games in this series.

This series resumes Tuesday in Nashville, with the Predators leading 2-1.

VIDEO: Ryan Ellis continues his incredible postseason run for Predators

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Playing in Nashville over the years it has been easy for Ryan Ellis to get overlooked, always playing in the shadow of bigger name stars on the team’s blue line.

Shea Weber (before he was traded). Roman Josi. P.K. Subban.

But Ellis has been a major part of the Predators’ blue line and he had a career-year in 2016-17, setting new personal bests in goals (16) and points (38) while matching his previous career high in assists (22).

He has continued that strong play in the postseason and is currently the team’s leading scorer after he netted his third goal of the playoffs (and eighth total point) on Sunday afternoon to give the Predators a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues.

You can see it in the video above.

After being held without a point in the Predators’ first playoff game, Ellis has now picked up at least one point in every playoff game since them and is now riding a six-game point streak.

The first half of Sunday’s game has been a defensive clinic by the Predators, by the way, limiting St. Louis to just 10 shots on goal through the first 34 minutes, and none through the first 14 minutes of the second period.

The Predators extended their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Cody McLeod deflected in his first goal of the playoffs to give the Predators some unexpected scoring depth. He had just five goals in 59 games during the regular season between the Predators and Colorado Avalanche.