As previously reported, netminder Michal Neuvirth was scheduled to see a doctor Friday afternoon after suffering a lower body injury on Thursday. The results of that examination aren’t known, but it looks like Neuvirth probably won’t play on Saturday. The Washington Capitals summoned Dany Sabourin Friday night so that he would be available for Saturday’s game.
With Tomas Vokoun also sidelined, the Capitals are projected to start Braden Holtby and use Dany Sabourin as their backup. In other words, Washington will finish out the season with the AHL Hershey Bears’ goaltending tandem.
Washington will play the first place New York Rangers on Saturday in a game that will be a playoff preview if the Rangers win. If Washington wins and the Florida Panthers lose in regulation time, then Washington will claim the Southeast Division and the third seed. In that scenario, they will have home ice advantage against the New Jersey Devils in the first round. Alternatively, If Washington wins, Florida picks up at least one point in their season finale, and Ottawa loses in regulation time, then the Capitals will take the seventh seed and play the Boston Bruins in the first round.
The New York Rangers have already locked up the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’re still fighting for the Presidents’ Trophy. A win against the Capitals on Saturday would lock it up, not to mention ensure that they start the playoffs against a team that might have two injured goalies going into the first round.
The Boston Bruins keep flipping the script.
In Wednesday’s case, it swerved to a “Cinderella” story, as little-known forward Frank Vatrano scored two of Boston’s three goals – including the overtime clincher – as the B’s beat the Detroit Red Wings 3-2 (OT).
Here’s his first goal of the night:
While this is his overtime game-winner:
It wasn’t a perfect night for the 21-year-old, yet it may have been a convincing one.
The Bruins continue to begin a month on a sour note before ending up with impressive sprees.
October: 0-3-0 start, finished month with four straight wins and victories in six of seven contests.
November: 0-3-0 start, losses in four of five; currently on a four-game winning strek with victories in five of six.
Boston faces a challenge in closing this month out against the Rangers on Friday, and it’s possible that this trend may continue, as they begin December with a three-game road trip through Western Canada.
More than anything else, the safest bet with the Bruins is for ups and downs.
Controversy just seems to find the Pittsburgh Penguins. Credit Sidney Crosby & Co. for responding with a win on Wednesday.
Crosby generated two pretty goals, including this slam-dunk slapper:
… While Evgeni Malkin‘s overtime-winner stood as the Penguins managed a 4-3 overtime win against the St. Louis Blues tonight.
(You can see Malkin’s OT-clincher in the video above this post.)
Will this win and strong performance from Crosby silence murmurs about his relationship with Mario Lemieux? Probably not, yet it likely turns the volume down in some ways, including killing the “Is he struggling because of distractions” storyline.
You know, at least for a little while. Maybe.
Claude Giroux isn’t the nastiest, most physical captain the Philadelphia Flyers have employed. Even so, he can be feisty at times.
Wednesday showed that, as he clearly wasn’t happy with an earlier Nick Leddy hit, and eventually got the New York Islanders defenseman to drop his gloves.
You can see the fight and the check that inspired that scrap in the video above.
It’s the fourth fight Giroux has been a part of, with his most recent adversary being may his most bitter rival.
Not a heavyweight bout between Giroux and Leddy, mind you, but sometimes it’s amusing to soak in such a rare sight.
Update: The fight may have inspired the Islanders more than the Flyers, as they bested Philly 3-1 on Wednesday.
Carter Hutton is getting something that might make fellow Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne jealous: goal support.
Still, there was at least one moment where Rinne was likely happy to be on the bench, as Hutton was left flipping during this collision with Buffalo Sabres forward Marcus Foligno:
Remarkably, Hutton remained in the game.
If you’re the type who loves adding to your “hockey players are tough” files, put this under the goalies section.
Check out this incredible shot of that moment:
Update: The Predators held off the Buffalo Sabres to win 3-2.