That was the story out of Florida on Saturday as the Caps beat the Panthers 4-3 — on the strength of Alex Ovechkin’s second hat trick of the season — to move into first place in the Southeast Division and third in the Eastern Conference.
Ovechkin opened the scoring in the first period, on the power play, after Florida defenseman Erik Gudbranson was tossed for boarding Martin Erat. Ovi scored his second at 2:24 of the second period, then completed the hatty 12 minutes later with another PP marker.
The Washington captain also assisted on Mike Ribeiro’s goal, giving him four points on the night.
The Caps dined out on the power play all night long, going three-for-five with the Ovechkin-Ribeiro-Nicklas Backstrom trio doing the majority of the damage. They combined for nine points all told, and Backstrom moved into third in the NHL with assists (32).
Ovechkin, meanwhile, moved into a tie for second in the NHL in goals, with 23 (tied with New York’s John Tavares).
With the win, the Caps moved even on points with Winnipeg for first in the division — with 40 — but are in first place because they’ve played 38 games to Winnipeg’s 40.
Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp
It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.
Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.
He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.
Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.
The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension
The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.
It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.
Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.