Depending upon whom you ask, the Pittsburgh Penguins answered many or few questions on Monday. No one can deny the score, however, as they beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 in a, well, odd duck of a game.
Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant when his team wasn’t so bright, including keeping the Ducks off the scoreboard in a first period where they generated a 12-3 shot disparity. Sidney Crosby scored his 10th goal of the 2013-14 season while Evgeni Malkin often asserted his will over the contest, collecting a pair of assists.
There’s also the great debut for Brian Gibbons, who notched the first goal and first assist of his career in his first NHL game.
Still, that aforementioned first period was troubling and all four of the game’s goals came in 4:04 of game time in the final frame. For some, that might smell of blind luck or a Ducks team that ran out of gas. There will also be some who continue to gravitate toward Malkin’s lack of goals, even if he has almost an assist per game to “make up” for the lack of tallies (17 assists and 20 points overall in 21 games played).
That brings us to another undeniable factor: the Ducks will be glad to return to Anaheim. The Ducks went 0-3-1 in a four-game road trip through the East despite gaining the shot advantage in all four of those contests.
Pittsburgh finds itself gaining on top East teams Boston and Tampa Bay while the Ducks may find themselves slipping a tier or two once other West teams catch up to their 23 games played. Both teams have been struggling a bit lately, so we’ll see if the Penguins use this as a bounce-back night.
For those who decry the decline in fighting – in “blood and guts” hockey – Tuesday presented a bloody moment, one fairly high on this season’s Muta scale.
Also, for some, seeing it happen to Tom Wilson specifically may provide additional pleasure.
Anyway, as you can see in the video above, Minnesota Wild winger Chris Stewart bloodied the Washington Capitals pest in a fight. Whether you’re for, against or neutral toward Wilson, it’s quite the sight.
Wilson may be hurt, by the way. He missed some time but returned later in the contest.
Auston Matthews likely ranks as the top reason that many Toronto Maple Leafs are starting to get the same feelings they had in better times, so it only makes sense that he broke a beloved Buds’ record on Tuesday.
With his 35th goal of a potential Calder season – but a brilliant debut either way – Matthews passed Wendel Clark for the Maple Leafs’ rookie record for goals in a season.
That goal was also meaningful for William Nylander, as he extended his point streak to 12 games with an assist. This team, fueled by young players, just keeps shattering first-year marks:
Leafs rookie record watch:
GOALS – 35 Matthews ASSISTS – 40 Marner tied with Bodnar POINT STREAK – 12 games Nylander SHG – 3 Hyman
The U.S. women’s national team voted in favor of accepting USA Hockey’s deal, so they’ll participate in the world championship tournament. USA Hockey recently made the news official with this press release.
The press release confirmed a report that the contract will last four years, while financial terms were kept confidential. (Team members had been seeking a living wage to represent USA Hockey.)
“Our sport is the big winner today,” Team captain Meghan Duggan said. “We stood up for what we thought was right and USA Hockey’s leadership listened. In the end, both sides came together. I’m proud of my teammates and can’t thank everyone who supported us enough. It’s time now to turn the page. We can’t wait to play in the World Championship later this week in front of our fans as we try and defend our gold medal.”
As much as many of us suffer during a trip to the dentist, few can fathom the horrors hockey players often go through when a puck, stick or fist finds their teeth/mouths. Consult this vintage PHT post from 2010 if you want to cringe, a lot.
Couture, Wilson said, did not need to have his jaw wired shut after a deflected puck caught him in the mouth on Saturday when the Sharks played the Nashville Predators.
“Hey, he can speak and eat … and his jaw isn’t wired shut!” Yeesh.
To little surprise, Couture isn’t playing on Tuesday. As far as the Sharks next three games (Thursday, Friday and Sunday), that remains to be seen.
As an aside, consider this: on the same day Jonathan Drouin‘s celebrating his birthday after helping the Lightning win, Couture is lucky if he can force down some birthday cake. Life: it isn’t always fair.