The St. Louis Blues looked down and out against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, yet they battled back without two of their top scorers to win 6-5 via a shootout.
It hasn’t escaped the defending champs’ notice that the Blues have taken all three of their games this season and four in a row overall.
“Right now it seems like they have our number this year,” Patrick Kane said, via Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Blackhawks built three two-goal leads (2-0, 3-1 and 5-3) on Saturday – including bouncing Jaroslav Halak after one period in the process – yet the Blues kept fighting back.
If nothing else, it seems like head coach Joel Quenneville & Co. are embracing a building rivalry.
“Great hockey game, great intensity,” Quenneville said. “It’s good for the sport. Tough for us.”
Things won’t be easy for Chicago (27-7-7, 61 points) in the Central Division or the Western Conference. While the Blues (25-7-5, 55 points) remain reasonably close behind the ‘Hawks, the surging Anaheim Ducks (28-7-5, 61 points) hold tiebreaker advantages over Chicago as of tonight.
Quenneville was talking about a divisional race when he said “I expect to be in a race the whole time” tonight, but it’s probably an accurate portrayal of the battle for seeding overall.
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.
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.
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.
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: