To say Loui Eriksson’s had a tough go in his first season with Boston is putting it lightly.
The Swedish forward missed Friday practice to receive dental work, the byproduct of a Maxim Lapierre high stick during Thursday night’s win over the Blues. Eriksson suffered “bashed in” teeth, according to B’s head coach and aspiring orthodontist Claude Julien.
“The linesman saw it, and the rule is that the linesman can call it if there’s a high stick with blood,” Julien told CSN New England. “We thought it was going to get called because he’d seen it. Technically, we thought [the goal] wouldn’t count, and it could be taken back. But that whistle needed to be blown right away, and it wasn’t.
“So they can’t take it back, and we have a player with some teeth bashed in. He had quite a few stitches in his mouth. This guy has already been through a lot for us…poor Loui. Nothing is getting called against him, and he’s just taking his lumps. It was a little disappointing.”
It was the latest in a number of blows taken by Eriksson this year. The first was an elbow to the head from Buffalo tough guy John Scott in November, one that concussed Eriksson and sidelined him for five games. Roughly one month later, Eriksson was concussed again on a big hit from Pittsburgh’s Brooks Orpik, and missed 15 more games.
As such, the 28-year-old’s had a very up-and-down campaign. He has just 18 points through 36 contests, but is hoping to turn things around with a strong showing for the Swedes at the Olympics, and one final game for the B’s before the break.
“Loui’s doing OK. The only reason he missed is he’s obviously getting some dental work done and making sure he’s all fixed up before tomorrow and before he leaves for the Olympics,” said Julien. “He should be in the lineup tomorrow [versus Ottawa]; there’s no reason why he shouldn’t.”
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.