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Blackhawks coach isn’t worried about scoring, playing with leads

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The Chicago Blackhawks’ 6-1-2 record seems reasonable enough, but they’re not dominating teams like they did before. Still, head coach Joel Quenneville said “we’re not complaining” to reports such as the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus.

He might not be complaining, but considering Chicago’s recent struggles with scoring and holding onto leads, is Quenneville worried? It doesn’t seem that way.

“I don’t think we’re playing any different than we did in the first two periods, [it’s] not like we’re sitting on leads,” Quenneville said. “I’m not worried about our offense, because I know it’s there.”

Even so, Lazerus reports that both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp referred to blowing late leads as a “bad habit.”

Here’s a quick breakdown of recent games, including Tuesday’s 3-2 shootout win against the Florida Panthers:

Today: Chicago went up 2-0 in the second period, gave up two goals in the third period.
Saturday: run-of-the-mill 3-1 win against Toronto.
Oct. 17: Gave up 1-0 and 2-1 leads against St. Louis, lost 3-2 in a shootout.
Oct. 15: Built 2-0 lead midway through first period vs. Carolina, gave up two third period goals, won 3-2 via a shootout.
Oct. 12: Won 2-1 against Buffalo after going up 2-0.
Oct. 11: Built 2-0 lead, allowed Islanders two goals in the last minute of the first period, eventually won 3-2 after a second period goal.

So … yeah, there’s a trend, although that trend also involves the Blackhawks getting one or two points in every game, aside from Oct. 9’s 3-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Chicago has room to improvement, yet the Blackhawks are doing just fine. That’s not such a bad way to start a title defense – success mixed with a healthy amount of fear – right?

Unless they’re just getting lucky and will start losing. That wouldn’t be good.

Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Verizon Center on November 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.

For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.

After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.

Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.

Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:

Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins

Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals

Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.

Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.

The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.

(Check out video of the hit above.)

The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.

Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?

Washington currently leads the game 3-2.

Ouch: NHL official helped off ice after puck to knee (Video)

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There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.

Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.

The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.

Yikes:

Video: Tyler Bozak with some saucy moves on this goal

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It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.

The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.

Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?

(If you’re into that kind of thing.)

Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: