The Pittsburgh Penguins are rolling. The New York Rangers, despite a late third-period comeback Wednesday, are not.
The Penguins coughed up a two-goal lead in the final eight minutes of the third period, but still prevailed with a 4-3 shootout victory over the Rangers on Rivalry Night.
- Chris Kunitz collided heavily with Rangers’ goalie Henrik Lundqvist at the side of the net early in overtime. Kunitz was called for goalie interference. It was a high speed collision, although Lundqvist had gone just outside his crease at the time.
- By the way, that was one entertaining overtime. Lundqvist, shaken up earlier in the extra frame, made a huge stop off the league leader in points, Sidney Crosby, to give his team a chance.
- Brandon Sutter scored a beauty in the third period to give Pittsburgh a two-goal lead, but boy did he take Michael Del Zotto to school with the outside-inside move. Del Zotto has been in Alain Vigneault’s doghouse already this season, and that play likely isn’t going to help.
- Sutter would score the only goal in the deciding skills competition, on a shot through the legs of Lundqvist, in the fifth round.
- Quick strike offence for Penguins: Two goals in one minute and one second in the third period. Pascal Dupuis gave them the lead on a sweet set up from Crosby.
- The Rangers couldn’t capitalize on a four-on-three power play in the overtime, but scored the equalizer with a late third-period power play to earn at least the point.
- Kunitz for the Canadian men’s Olympic hockey team – yes? No?
- Lively bounce off the end boards on the Rangers’ tying goal, or was Marc-Andre Fleury too slow getting over to his right for Derick Brassard’s bad-angle shot that went top corner?
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.
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).
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.
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.