Calgary Flames v San Jose Sharks

Sharks adjust lines with Torres out

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Even before the NHL’s controversial decision to suspend Raffi Torres for the remainder of the Western Conference semifinals came out, the San Jose Sharks were already tweaking lines for Game 2 against the Los Angeles Kings.

Now they might just have to do so for more than a game or two.

Either way, CSNBayArea.com has the lowdown on the changes the Sharks are making with Torres suspended and fellow forwards Adam Burish and Martin Havlat injured.

  • Joe Pavelski will move back to the top line as a winger with Logan Couture and Patrick Marleau after centering the third line.
  • The productive second line of Joe Thornton, T.J. Galiardi and Brent Burns remains intact.
  • Scott Gomez moves to Pavelski’s spot as the center of a third line with Tommy Wingles and James Sheppard while Tim Kennedy, Bracken Kearns and Andrew Desjardins make up the fourth group.

Pavelski spoke about the difference between playing with Thornton vs. Couture.

“Jumbo obviously demands the puck and gets it, and Cooch is everywhere, creating turnovers and has the puck all the time. You like playing with both of them, and the opportunity is going to be good,” Pavelski said.

Head coach Todd McLellan explains how Gomez might fit on the third line.

“He’s doing a lot of the right things right now for our team, and he deserves to be promoted into that spot,” McLellan said. “You look at his linemates (Wingels and Sheppard), you have a left and a right-handed shot and they both have a little bit of size and puck protection skills. Maybe it will compliment what Gomer has.”

The Sharks sure hope so. They play the Kings in Game 2 on Thursday, which you can watch on NBC Sports Network beginning at 10 p.m. ET.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.