It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what caused the bad blood in last night’s Sharks-Blue Jackets tilt, a game that featured nearly 100 penalty minutes.
It could’ve been the blowout factor (San Jose won 6-0), or the dirty hit factor (Jared Boll delivered a headshot to Joe Thornton), or the overall frustration factor (the Blue Jackets are terrible)…
Or, as Columbus coach Todd Richards suggested, maybe it was THE WATER-BOTTLE FACTOR.
“As [Derek] Dorsett is coming down the ice, you can see a water bottle squirted on him from San Jose’s bench,” Richards told CSN Bay Area of a third-period fight between Dorsett and Colin White. “I don’t know if that’s what set him off, but as he’s carrying the puck up the ice, that happens.
“Things erupt a little bit then and you get some emotion.”
Here’s video of what we assume to be the alleged incident. There’s a really good close-up at the 54 second mark, though no clear-cut evidence of any squirting.
Interesting to note that, at the 28 second mark, Dorsett emerges from the fight gesturing at the Sharks bench. Could it be in response to the alleged squirt?
Whatever the case, the Blue Jackets will likely want to put this incident behind them and focus on their next opponent — the Los Angeles Kings. If any Kings end up squirting water from the bench, at least the Jackets will know it’s accidental:
Lightning give Vasilevskiy the (brief) hook after very rare Jurco goal
Chicago’s Central lead is pretty secure over the Minnesota Wild at the moment, which likely reduces motivation to rush Anisimov back before he’s truly ready. The Blackhawks close out their regular season on April 8, so there’s still time for him to heal up.
Ducks demote Enroth, so Gibson’s close to a return
Enroth actually never got a shot to start for the Ducks, as his last NHL appearance came on Nov. 30, closing off his ill-fated run with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Considering that Enroth was once a fairly hot commodity as at least a promising backup, it will be interesting to see how his 2017-18 season pans out. Will he get more or less of a chance than he received this season?
Bernier, meanwhile, is richly rewarding the Ducks for sticking with him.
He’s provided them with a Vezina-caliber March: 9-1-1, 1.71 GAA and .943 save percentage with one shutout. You almost wonder if there’s at least some potential for a goalie controversy if Gibson stumbles whenever he gets back into action … but hey, having two good goalies to choose from is better than none.
(Which was the scenario that must have scared the Ducks when Gibson got hurt in the first place.)
WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning almost certainly haven’t faced the Chicago Blackhawks in a game this important since the two teams were vying for a Stanley Cup.
While the Blackhawks have already punched their ticket to the postseason and are merely trying to pad their lead in the Central Division, the Bolts are fighting for their playoff lives. At the moment, they rank three points behind the Boston Bruins for the final spot in the East. With a game in hand, they can make up a lot of ground tonight.
With all of that in mind, it should be an entertaining contest. You can check it out on NBCSN, watch online or via the NBC Sports App.