NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 campaign tonight when the Pittsburgh Penguins host the Chicago Blackhawks at CONSOL Energy Center at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
When we last saw the Blackhawks and Penguins facing each other, it was outdoors at Soldier Field in Chicago and the Blackhawks cruised to a 5-1 victory.
This time around, they take it indoors in Pittsburgh and both teams are looking to snap out of the doldrums of having playoff spots already locked up. The Penguins are close to locking down the top spot in the Metropolitan Division but just getting wins lately has been tricky.
The Pens are winless in six of the past nine games but are coming off a 2-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Chris Kunitz has scored in each of the past two games to be the spark, but the Pens will close out the regular season without Evgeni Malkin. At the least, Sidney Crosby is still doing his thing and looking like the NHL MVP in the process.
Crosby has points in three straight games and has a 16 point lead in scoring on on Anaheim’s Ryan Getzlaf with 97 points. People have wondered the past few seasons what it would be like to see a fully healthy Crosby and the answer is it’s dynamic.
The Blackhawks head into the game on Sunday night having split the past eight games going 4-3-1 in the process. Chicago is locked into either second or third place behind St. Louis in the Central Division and destined to face the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
What Chicago has to focus on is getting home ice in the first round and that means winning games more consistently. While they’re without Patrick Kane for the time being, rookie Teuvo Teravainen was a late-coming arrival on the scene to fill the void.
Having Jonathan Toews to lead the way helps make losing Kane a little easier. Since the Olympics he’s been dynamite with nine goals and 13 points in 15 games.
Oddly enough, however, Chicago’s offense has been a bit helter-skelter of late. In the past five games, they’ve been shut out twice but have 10 goals in the other three games. After losing two in row, including a 5-3 decision to the Ottawa Senators, the Blackhawks could stand to get their consistency back.
Hockey players are known for their toughness, but Daniel Winnik is taking it to a whole new level.
The damage was done after Winnik blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
After the game, Caps head coach Barry Trotz said his forward had lost a piece of his ear, but it sounds like that wasn’t totally accurate.
“I wouldn’t say I lost a piece of it,” said Winnik, per the Washington Post. “I mean, it’s really chewed up, and obviously some scabs and all of that, but no visible missing piece…The puck hit basically half ear, maybe a little more ear than helmet. Very fortunate it wasn’t way worse.”
He didn’t need any stitches, but they did have to use some glue to patch him up.
To watch how his ear got “chewed up,” click here.
It doesn’t sound like the injury did enough to scare Winnik into putting on a visor or an earpiece.
“I mean, my face has been banged up a lot over the years, and I still haven’t worn a visor. I mean I’ve probably broken my nose like 15 times or something. I just can’t wear it, and the earpieces, I think you’re just used to wearing it for so long without it. I mean you take them out you’re like, ‘Why the hell was I wearing earpieces in the first place?’ But I guess this is kind of an indication on why guys do.”
Here’s a story you don’t see everyday.
Nashville Predators GM David Poile might have to scramble to put a roster together for tonight’s game against Pittsburgh because a few of his players are dealing with food poisoning.
During yesterday’s game against the Red Wings, both Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith were forced to exit early because of illness.
Now we know that the illnesses were caused by something the players ate (Poile believes it was chicken soup that caused this).
We still don’t know exactly how many players have been affected by this.
Playing two games in two nights is hard enough, but it sounds like it’ll be even tougher for the Preds tonight.
James Neal, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban are all fine, according to Brooks Bratten.
More details to come.
Well, this isn’t the start to the season Ryan Pulock was hoping for.
After playing six games with the Islanders during last year’s playoffs, many expected Pulock to make the team out of training, but that didn’t happen.
He didn’t spend much time in the minors (two games) because of the injury to Nick Leddy.
Pulock made his season debut in last night’s game against Arizona. Unfortunately for him, he suffered a lower-body injury after playing just 3:57.
On Saturday, the team announced that Pulock will be out anywhere between 4-to-6 weeks.
If Leddy can’t play on Sunday, the Islanders will have to recall another defenseman from the minors. Because they’re carrying three goalies, they only have room for six blue liners.
The Boston Bruins recalled goalie Zane McIntyre on an emergency basis on Saturday morning.
The call up was necessary because it doesn’t look like starter Tuukka Rask will be able to suit up against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.
Rask missed Friday’s practice with what head coach Claude Julien described as “general body soreness,” but it might be a little more serious than that if he’s forced to miss multiple games.
According to Julien, Rask is feeling better, but the prefer giving him the night off.
The Bruins selected McIntyre in the sixth-round of the 2010 Entry Draft.
He’s never suited up in an NHL game before.
The 24-year-old turned pro last year, after spending three years at the University of North Dakota.
He had a 14-8-7 record with a 2.68 goals-against-average and a .898 save percentage with Providence in 2015-16. This season, he has a 0.44 goals-against and a .977 save percentage in three games.
It’s interesting to note that the Bruins preferred McIntyre to former first rounder Malcolm Subban.
Subban has an 0-3 record in the AHL this year and he’s been pulled in two of his three outings.