For most of Tuesday’s game, it seemed like Kari Lehtonen might will the Dallas Stars to a win. He buckled just enough to allow the San Jose Sharks to score two goals in 30 seconds to lock up a 3-2 win, clinching a 2013 playoff spot – and gravely injuring the Stars’ chances – in the process.
Raffi Torres opened up the scoring only to see Antoine Roussel and Loui Eriksson give the Stars a 2-1 lead early in the second period. Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture then scored those two tallies in blinding speed to make it 3-2.
The Sharks move back into fifth place in the West after the St. Louis Blues briefly leapfrogged them. At this point, San Jose can jostle for positioning with the fourth-seed Los Angeles Kings and the sixth-ranked Blues.
The Stars aren’t mathematically eliminated, especially since they get to face the two teams ahead of them.
Dallas hosts eighth-place Columbus on Thursday and ninth-place Detroit in the final game of its season on Saturday.
That will help the Stars influence the process, but they’re still going to need quite a bit of help to break their postseason drought.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?