Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo is expected to return to the line-up tomorrow against the Oilers following a six-game absence that saw the Canucks go 3-2-1 and uncharacteristically struggle on the power play.
Salo has been out with a concussion since being clipped by Boston’s Marchand on Jan. 7. The Boston forward earned a five-game suspension for the hit.
Without Salo, Vancouver’s formidable first-unit power play – typically comprised of Salo and Alex Edler on the points with the Sedins and Ryan Kesler up front – scored just once in 21 tries. Alex Burrows tried to fill in on the left point, with little success.
Far from just a power-play specialist, Salo was even compared to one of the all-time greats by Canucks forward Chris Higgins.
“The little things [Nicklas] Lidstrom does that makes him so effective, Sami does all those things just as well as Lidstrom does,” Higgins said, as reported by The Province. “Sami never makes many thunderous bodychecks because his gap is so good he forces the guys he’s defending against to get rid of the puck before they want to.
“He almost never makes a mistake, it’s pretty impressive. He’s one of the best defensemen in the league.”
You’ll excuse Higgins for getting a little carried away while pumping a teammate’s tires, but Salo’s health will be a significant determining factor in whether the Canucks make another deep playoff run.
The Ottawa Senators power play is off to a brutal start on Saturday afternoon in Game 2 of their second-round playoff series against the New York Rangers.
Not only did they fail to score on their first four power play opportunities of the game, they failed to generate a single shot on goal during any of them. That is … not ideal. But that is not even the worst of it. The worst is the fact they also allowed the Rangers to score not only one, but two shorthanded goals against them.
The first one came just 4:16 into the game (on the Senators’ first power play of the game) when Michael Grabner scored his third goal of the playoffs to give the Rangers an early 1-0 lead.
You can see that goal in the video above.
The Rangers added to the struggles of the Senators’ power play in the second period when Derek Stepan scored his second goal of the playoffs increase the Rangers’ lead to 3-1.
That goal came during a wild five-minute stretch that saw the two teams combine for four goals and helped the Rangers build a 4-2 lead late in the second period.
Congratulations are in order for the folks in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania after it was named the winner of the Kraft Hockeyville competition for 2017.
That means the Rostraver Ice Garden will receive $150,000 in arena upgrades and will have the opportunity to host an NHL preseason game. That game will take place on Sunday, September 24 when the St. Louis Blues take on the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Rostraver Ice Garden has been home to several local youth, high school and college club teams for several years. The rink had to be pretty much rebuilt in 2010 after the roof collapsed following a snow storm.
More from the NHL:
The Rostraver Ice Garden, which first opened in 1965 and hosted the Penguins training camp in the 1970s, had its roof collapse nearly seven years ago because of heavy snow. The collapse caused damage to nearly one-third of the structure and the rink has been in need of renovations ever since. After being awarded Kraft Hockeyville™ USA 2017, The Rostraver Ice Garden plans to use the prize money for a number of projects including purchasing a compressor, floor matting in the lobby, pipes and LED lighting.
“After tallying millions of votes, we’re thrilled to name Belle Vernon Kraft Hockeyville™ USA 2017,” said
Nina Barton, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Kraft Heinz. “When we brought Kraft Hockeyville to the U.S. three years ago, we set out to help improve local rinks and unite hockey communities across the country under a common interest, passion and sense of pride. Johnstown and Marquette have been excellent stewards of that purpose, and we can’t wait to see how Belle Vernon brings their new title to life.”
Belle Vernon was just one of the more than 1,300 communities across the country – accounting for nearly 73 percent of rinks nationwide – that submitted stories demonstrating their community’s passion for hockey. The runner-up, Bloomington Ice Garden, Bloomington, Minnesota will receive $75,000 to use toward arena upgrades.
The Bloomington Ice Garden in Bloomington, Minnesota was the runner-up in this year’s competition and will receiver $75,000 in arena upgrades.
For more on this year’s Kraft Hockeyville competition, click here.
The New York Rangers will need to find a way to slow down Erik Karlsson on Saturday afternoon if they are going to avoid falling into a 2-0 series hole against the Ottawa Senators, while the Washington Capitals will have to do the same against Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Both games on Saturday will be broadcast on NBC and be streamed online.
Here is all of the information you need for today’s games.
New York Rangers vs. Ottawa Senators
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)
Announcers: John Forslund, Brian Boucher
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. Washington Capitals
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)
Announcers: Mike Emrick, Ed Olczyk, Pierre McGuire
Saturday night is going to be a big night for the 14 NHL teams that did not qualify for the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs because one of them will be the lucky winner of the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, giving them the No. 1 pick in the draft.
While there probably isn’t going to be a Connor McDavid or Auston Matthews at the top of this year’s class, the top-two prospects (Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier) both have huge potential.
The Colorado Avalanche, owners of the NHL’s worst record in 2016-17, have the best odds at winning the lottery. The Avalanche last selected first overall in 2013 when they picked Nathan MacKinnon. New York Islanders have a less than one percent chance of winning.
The expansion Vegas Golden Knights have a 10.3 percent chance of winning the top pick.
Here is everything you need to know about tonight’s lottery
When: 8 p.m. ET, just prior to faceoff of Game 2 of the Pittsburgh Penguins-Washington Capitals second-round playoff series
Odds for every team in the lottery:
Colorado Avalanche — 18.0%
Vancouver Canucks — 12.1%
Vegas Golden Knights — 10.3%
Arizona Coyotes — 10.3%
New Jersey Devils — 8.5%
Buffalo Sabres — 7.6%
Detroit Red Wings — 6.7%
Dallas Stars — 5.8%
Florida Panthers — 5.4%
Los Angeles Kings — 4.5%
Carolina Hurricanes — 3.2%
Winnipeg Jets — 2.7%
Philadelphia Flyers — 2.2%
Tampa Bay Lightning 1.8%
New York Islanders — 0.9%
The NHL draft will be held on Friday, June 23 (first round) and Saturday, June 24 (rounds two through seven) at United Center in Chicago.