‘Hawks to stick with Crawford in Game 5, water still wet

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In news that isn’t really news but sort of is because circumstances made it so, Corey Crawford will start in goal for Chicago in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.

This narrative comes after Crawford allowed five goals — and got his glove hand exposed — during Wednesday’s overtime win against the Bruins.

Crawford was a major topic in the postgame presser, which included ‘Hawks head coach Joel Quennevile being asked if he was concerned about Crawford’s glove (Coach Q said he wasn’t.)

Today, the questions went a step further as Quenneville was asked if he’d consider starting Ray Emery on Saturday.

Here’s how that went…

QUESTION: Joel, I’ll get this one out of the way early. You’ve got a backup goalie who set a wins record, I believe, this year, he’s played in the Final, he’s got a lot of experience. Given where the goals seemed to be going in on Corey, do you even consider at this point making a change at all?

COACH QUENNEVILLE: No, not at all. No, we’re very comfortable with Corey. Corey has been rock solid all year for us, and when he’s got the ball, he’s been outstanding, and he’s the biggest reason why we’re here today.

Emery did have an outstanding season — 17-1-0 record, .922 save percentage, 1.94 GAA — and Quenneville said in the past he wouldn’t be against using two goalies in the playoffs.

But in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final? After Crawford played every minute of every playoff game? And with Emery not having suited up since Apr. 24?

No chance.

As for Crawford, he said he won’t start thinking about his glove being an issue, but did acknowledge the Bruins are targeting it.

“Well, 99 percent of the shots are going glove side, I don’t know what you would say,” he explained. “I can’t start thinking about that, that’s when you get in trouble when you start thinking everything is going to go glove.

“I’m just going to play the way I’ve been playing and stick with that.”

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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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.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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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).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
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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.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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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.