After scoring 11 points and recording a plus-10 rating in 17 games, LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for March on Monday.
Muzzin, 24, is an interesting story. He was selected by the Pens at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but went unsigned by Pittsburgh and proceeded to ink a free agent deal with the Kings in 2010.
He made the Kings out of training camp that fall, and appeared in 11 games before LA opted to use Alec Martinez in the defensive rotation.
Muzzin spent all of 2011-12 in AHL Manchester and was recalled for last year’s playoff run as a black ace. He was on the winning roster, but didn’t participate in any games and didn’t have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
This year was supposed to be more of the same — until Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene were lost to injury (Mitchell hasn’t played this year and is a “long shot” to return; Greene’s only played once but has an outside shot of returning for the playoffs.)
Muzzin has taken full advantage of the playing opportunity. He sits second on the team in d-man scoring — tied with Drew Doughty on 14 points — and is averaging over 18 minutes per game.
As for who he edged out for March’s rookie of the month honors?
— Chicago LW Brandon Saad had 15 points in 14 games.
— Florida center Jonathan Huberdeau had 12 points in 16 games.
— Blues goalie Jake Allen went 5-2-0 with a 2.33 GAA and one shutout.
You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.
It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.
You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:
Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.
This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.
Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.
The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.
Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3
Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon
Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.
“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.
The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.
Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.
He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.
In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.
Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016