NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers prepares to tend net against the New Jersey Devils in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Final during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on May 16, 2012 in New York City. The Devils defeated the Rangers 3-2. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Despite headaches, Lundqvist kept playing

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With all the talk of concussions in sports today, anytime a player — especially a prominent one — complains of headaches, it’s going to raise eyebrows.

That goes double when the player keeps playing.

Such has been the case with Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.

From the Daily News:

On March 19, Lundqvist said he had headaches and his neck hurt after Dan Girardi’s elbow inadvertently snapped the goaltender’s head back in a 3-2 road win over the New Jersey Devils. On Sunday, Lundqvist was dazed from a slap shot off the mask by Capitals forward Mike Ribeiro in a 3-2 home shootout loss to Washington.

Then on Tuesday night, after Lundqvist headbutted a first-period slap shot by Flyers forward Brayden Schenn but still made 32 saves in a 5-2 win in Philadelphia, the goaltender volunteered this information: “I didn’t feel great … The last two days, I have been feeling a little off.”

Asked if he were ailing mentally or physically, Lundqvist elaborated: “It was just my head. I was just thinking if the shot bothered me, got little headaches, then I felt better, but it was still bad. You build up something. It’s just mental. You have to put it aside and tell yourself, ‘You’re fine. Go out and play,’ and after five or ten minutes, you start to feel better.”

Lundqvist played last night, stopping 26 of 28 shots in a 3-0 loss to the Senators in Ottawa. He said he felt “good” going into his ninth straight start.

“I just had a couple days there where I felt a little off,” he said.

Given their tenuous grasp on the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Rangers can’t afford to lose their most important player at this time —  a fact that will only lead to more conjecture that Lundqvist has been playing when maybe he should have been resting.

The Rangers take on the Canadiens Saturday in Montreal.

Latest way the Wild lost? Killed by penalty kill

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk sits on the ice after giving up a goal to St. Louis Blues' Jori Lehtera, of Finland, during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
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It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.

As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?

Actually …

If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.

Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.

Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.

The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.

On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.

Statement in Blackhawks’ blowout of Stars? Coach Q says they’re even

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Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.

The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.

You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.

At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.

Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.

(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)

As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.

Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

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Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.

Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.

Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:

That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.

Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
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For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.

Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.

Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:

Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.

Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.

The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it  shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.