The Calgary Flames rode a TJ Brodie overtime goal to a 5-4 (OT) home win against Chicago on Tuesday, giving the defending champions their fourth loss in a row.
That might not sound like a big deal, but it’s at least unusual; this is their longest losing streak since the ‘Hawks dropped nine in a row back in 2012 (according to the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus).
Worse yet, this loss combined with the St. Louis Blues’ 3-0 win against the New Jersey Devils leaves both teams with 77 points, which means the Central Division is tied at first. (Technically, the Blues have the lead, as they’ve played three fewer games than Chicago.)
Tough times ahead … at least until March
Now, it’s not time for the Blackhawks to panic, but this streak might get a little uglier before things turn around.
The Blackhawks continue this road run with five more away games, then send a slew of players to Sochi for the Olympics. After that, they open the post-Olympic break with a game at Madison Square Garden against the New York Rangers.
In all, they’ll wait more than a month between home games (Jan. 26 to March 1), though the Olympics obviously skew that.
In other words, you might want to expect a few “What’s wrong with the Blackhawks?” articles … at least until they play a ton of home games in March.
You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.
It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.
You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:
Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.
This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.
Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.
The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.
Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3
Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon
Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.
“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.
The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.
Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.
He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.
In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.
Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016