Michael Sgarbossa #43 of the Colorado Avalanche warms up prior to facing the Anaheim Ducks at the Pepsi Center on February 6, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Ducks defeated the Avalanche 3-0.
(February 5, 2013 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

PHT Morning Skate: Where two Avs players fight during practice

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

The Ottawa Senators have lost four of their last five contests and have been shutout twice over that span. Are their struggles a direct result of losing star forward Jason Spezza? (Ottawa Citizen)

While we’re on the subject of major losses, here’s a look at how injuries have impacted several teams so far this season from the defending Stanley Cup Los Angeles Kings to a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2004, the Toronto Maple Leafs. (Sportsnet)

New York Islanders forward Kyle Okposo has gotten off to a slow start – again. (Newsday)

The Toronto Maple Leafs have won three straight games on the road, but now they have to do something that’s been rare for them lately: earn two points in Toronto. (Toronto Sun)

32-year-old blueliner Robyn Regehr (lower body) returned to the Buffalo Sabres lineup on Sunday after missing seven straight games due to the ailment. The Sabres needed to clear a spot on their roster to activated him from the injured reserve list, so they put forward Matt Ellis on waivers. (NHL.com)

Dallas Stars forward Loui Eriksson hasn’t lived up to expectations so far this season. However, the 27-year-old’s goal on Friday might be a turning point. (Dallas Morning News)

23-year-old forward Stephane Da Costa is in his third pro season and has played in three games with the Ottawa Senators in 2013. He felt he was cheating last season by not doing his job away from the puck and he’s trying to do otherwise during his current NHL stint. (Ottawa Sun)

Colorado Avalanche forwards Michael Sgarbossa and Mark Olver dropped the gloves and sparred during a team practice. That’s enough to raise an eyebrow, but Avalanche coach Joe Sacco doesn’t seem to have a problem with it. (Denver Post)

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.