Winless in their last five — including Tuesday’s lamentable 3-2 shootout loss to Florida — and struggling badly to score goals, the Vancouver Canucks had some new forward lines yesterday at practice.
Chris Higgins – Henrik Sedin – Jannik Hansen
Daniel Sedin – Mike Santorelli – Ryan Kesler
Alex Burrows – Brad Richardson – Zack Kassian
Jeremy Welsh – Tom Sestito – Dale Weise
(Extras: David Booth and Zac Dalpe)
But there wasn’t a ton of thought given to the latest combinations, according to head coach John Tortorella. With just six goals scored in the last five games, the Canucks are just hoping something — anything — will work.
“We’re throwing it against the wall here a little bit and see what sticks,” said Tortorella, per The Province. “I’m being honest with you. I don’t like splitting up, and one thing I know that works is Santorelli and Higgins. But again, we haven’t scored and I’m not sure where it goes or how long it goes and we’ll see if we can find our way.”
Vancouver hasn’t played poorly the entire five-game winless stretch. The Canucks probably deserved a better fate in games versus San Jose and Dallas, but the Florida effort was different, with Tortorella calling it “easily our worst game of the year.”
Tonight, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets paying a visit to Rogers Arena. Tomorrow, it’s the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Canucks are already six points back of a playoff spot in the Western Conference. They need to start winning some games.
“In the past, we didn’t look at the standings because we didn’t have to,” said captain Henrik Sedin. “Now, it’s so tough.”
Related: Booth needs to ‘make the same sort of effort everyone else is making,’ says Canucks GM
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 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.
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.
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.