PK Subban isn’t lacking confidence.
Down 3-1 to Ottawa in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals following a stunning 3-2 OT loss on Tuesday, the Montreal defenseman is anxious to get back out for Game 5 — and beat a Sens team he thinks Montreal is better than.
“We can sit and talk about [Game 4] all we want, but it’s over with,” he told reporters on Wednesday. “Quite frankly, I want to beat these guys. We have another opportunity tomorrow to play, and we can beat these guys.
The Canadiens feel that, despite trailing in games, this series is closer than it appears. They’ve been besieged by injury (Lars Eller, Brian Gionta, Carey Price, Ryan White, Brandon Prust) and lost Game 1 despite out-shooting Ottawa 50 to 31.
After bouncing back with a win in Game 2, they were throttled 6-1 in Game 3, but rebounded to build up a 2-0 lead in Game 4 — then watch it evaporate in the final 8:05.
Senators forward Mika Zibanejad cut the lead to one on a controversial skate-directed marker, and Cory Conacher scored with 23 seconds left to send it to overtime.
In OT, Kyle Turris scored on replacement netminder Peter Budaj to push the Habs to the brink of elimination.
Game 5 goes on Thursday at the Bell Centre, which should be raucous.
“We’ve got to turn the page and get ready for tomorrow,” Subban explained. “Like I said, we’re a better team. And I think we know that in this dressing room.”
For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”
They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:
- Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
- This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
- By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.
Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).
Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.
Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.
The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.
(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)
Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)
You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:
It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.
Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:
Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).
If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.
You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.
The pain goes beyond that … literally so.
For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.
(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)
The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.
Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.
It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.
The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).
The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.
One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.