Petr Skyora will be a healthy scratch for the first time this postseason when the Devils and Rangers lock horns for Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals. In his place, Jacob Josefson will return to the lineup and center a line between David Clarkson and Alexei Ponikarovsky.
Sykora, 35, is a two-time Stanley Cup champion that’s played in a remarkable five Stanley Cup finals. As such, he’s disappointed at being dropped from the lineup and feels he still has something to give.
“Obviously, I want to be out there,” he told NorthJersey.com. “I feel like I can score some goals, but it’s the way it is.”
Goals have been hard to come by for New Jersey this series — they have just three in three games and have been shut out twice — and the hope is that Josefson can produce some offense, something Sykora hasn’t done since Game 4 of the Philly series (he’s scoreless in four.) But what might be most interesting about the Josefson-for-Sykora swap wasn’t the players involved, but rather what Sykora had to say about beating Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist:
“He’s playing really deep in the net. I think we can surprise him with a few shots from far. He’s so deep, maybe just go around the D instead of going through zone. Maybe get a couple shots through the defensemen’s legs and just get a couple weird shots from the corners, create traffic, just something like that.
“When he sees the puck, he’s not going to let it in. We had some breakaways last game. We had some 2-on-1s. I had a shot from probably 10 to 15 feet and I thought I had a scoring shot, a perfect shot I ht and he still made a save.”
If Sykora’s managed to relay this intel to his teammates, don’t be surprised if the Devils start throwing pucks from the side boards or other unconventional angles.
The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.
Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.
With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.
It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.
Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.
The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?
Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:
If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.
Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.
An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.
After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.
You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.
Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.
Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.
Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.
Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.
Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.
Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.
Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:
Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.
Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.
“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”
Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”
People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.