Dustin Penner

You can’t predict hockey: Dustin Penner will start on Kings second line

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It’s been a bad year for Dustin Penner. He’s struggled to score goals, he’s been a healthy scratch on occasion, gotten divorced, and hurt himself eating delicious pancakes. Now with the Kings in the second round of the playoffs, Penner is getting another lease on life and is getting moved to the Kings’ second line.

Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times hears from coach Darryl Sutter as to why he’s giving Penner a promotion and about what he’s hoping the burly forward can draw on to succeed.

“He’s had a really tough year and so he’s got to draw on the experience he had before, winning, that he can still be a really good contributor,” Sutter said Friday. “And we liked him in the last series so we need him to have that again.”

Penner was good against the Canucks with a goal and an assist and his goal being the game-winner in Game 1. Crashing the net and making things uncomfortable for goalies is what Penner is capable of doing. Actually doing it and being effective with the puck, that’s been an issue and one Penner’s new linemates Mike Richards and Jeff Carter hope is one he’s got a hold of now.

If not, Penner will find himself back alongside Jarret Stoll and Trevor Lewis once again with Dwight King potentially moving back up.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)

Video: Dion Phaneuf’s assist is his first point with Senators

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Dion Phaneuf‘s first home game as a member of the Ottawa Senators is going more smoothly than his debut did on Wednesday.

Ottawa fell 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings last night, and they need another goal to tie up the Colorado Avalanche. Still, Phaneuf’s making a bigger impact on Thursday, collecting two assists … his first two points in a Sens’ sweater.

You can see his crowd-pleasing first helper above.

Here’s his second assist for good measure:

Update: The Avalanche held on, taking a 4-3 edge. Even so, Phaneuf’s getting a warm welcome in his new hockey city.