Columbus’ power play is just awful

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I did one of these last week in the wake of Anaheim’s terrible man advantage — at the time, the Ducks had just two goals on their last 48 PP opportunities — and guess what? Since then, the Ducks been on fire! OK, maybe a slight exaggeration, but they have scored power play goals in consecutive games, and are 2-for-5 overall.

/throws out shoulder patting self on back

In light of that, I figured I should help out the Blue Jackets because their power play could really use some assistance — it’s gone 0-for-36 over the last 11 games.

Yeah. Zero for thirty-six.

“You can’t just sweep it under the rug. We have to talk about it and work at it,” head coach Todd Richards explained, per the Columbus Dispatch. “Some of this is about controlling emotions and not letting the lack of success affect us.

“If it affects you on the first one, it affects you even more on the second and third.”

Or, the 36th.

In the wake of the slump, Columbus’ power play has dropped to 18th in the NHL — 16.8 percent overall — and the fact they’re still 18th suggests the Jackets have the capability to score a man up. They were clicking pretty well on the power play in the 10 games prior to the slump, going 9-for-37 (a 24 percent clip) and have gotten solid production this season from the likes of James Wisniewski (tied for ninth among NHL d-men in power play points, with 20) and R.J. Umberger (who has the same number of power play goals, eight, as Phil Kessel and Patrick Sharp.)

Columbus needs to turn this slide around, and fast. It has a huge game tonight against fellow Eastern Conference wild card contender Detroit, and knows that a successful power play is key to earning valuable points down the stretch.

“After each game it starts to build frustration if you don’t score,” Jack Johnson told the Dispatch. “It’s so hard to score at even strength, especially this time of year, that if you don’t have success on the power play, you really put yourself behind the eight ball.”

Bolts close gap on struggling Bruins in playoff race

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Well, that was quite a third period.

For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.

Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.

The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.

Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.

And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.

Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)

The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.

Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.

From NHL.com:

The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.

The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

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As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

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Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

There was no call on the play.

Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

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Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

Not bad.