The St. Louis Blues are two wins away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs and knocking off the defending Stanley Cup champions.
Blues defenseman Barret Jackman scored the winning goal with just 51 seconds remaining in the third period, as St. Louis beat the L.A. Kings by a final score of 2-1 to take Game 2 of their Western Conference quarter-final.
The Blues now lead the best-of-seven series 2-0.
Here are some talking points:
- Jackman broke into the NHL during the 2001-2002 season. He scored his first career playoff on Thursday night. About time, right? Not known as a goal scorer, but perfect timing on this one.
- Jonathan Quick was once again spectacular for the L.A. Kings. Made 23 saves, a good number of them of the difficult or spectacular variety. But couldn’t make the save on the Jackman wrist shot that won the game.
- Dustin Brown was an imposing figure. The Kings’ captain scored his first goal of these playoffs on a deflection in the first period. He also caught Blues’ forward Jaden Schwartz with an open-ice knee-on-knee collision late in the first period. Looked bad, but could’ve been worse had he fully connected.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.
Zack Kassian may have avoided major injuries stemming from his Sunday car accident, but it likely sent the signal that he may need help.
The response: he was placed in Stage Two of the Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program (SABH) of the NHL and NHLPA on Monday.
According to the league’s release, Kassian “will be suspended without pay until cleared for on-ice competition by the program administrators.”
Speaking of being suspended without pay, here’s a key detail:
The 24-year-old ended up with a broken nose and broken foot from that accident. The 2015-16 season was set to be his first campaign in the Montreal Canadiens organization after a tumultuous time with the Vancouver Canucks.
Kassian spoke of becoming more mature heading to Montreal, but the Canadiens were critical of his actions, wondering how many wake-up calls someone can get.
In case you’re wondering about the difference between stage one and two: