OndrejPalat

Palat wins second straight rookie of the month award

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While most expect Nathan MacKinnon to take this year’s Calder Trophy, Ondrej Palat is making a late push for consideration.

The Lightning forward earned his second consecutive rookie of the month award on Tuesday, capturing March honors after winning January’s as well (the NHL didn’t give out awards in Feburary, due to the Winter Olympic break.)

Palat, 23, led all rookies with 16 points in 16 games last month, scoring at least one point in nine of the 16 games while racking up a five-game streak from Mar. 8-17. As a result, Palat is now biting at MacKinnon’s heels on a number of statistical leaderboards for first-year players…

MacKinnon: 74 GP, 23 goals, 33 assists, 56 points, plus-20 rating

Palat: 75 GP, 19 goals, 32 assists, 51 points, plus-27 rating

It’s worth noting Palat has a slight edge in average TOI per game (17:59) to MacKinnon’s 17:04.

As for the March award, a number of other rookies were in the running:

— Calgary’ Joe Colborne (6-5—11 in 16 games),

— Anaheim’s Patrick Maroon (3-8—11 in 14 games)

— Florida’s Nick Bjugstad (1-10—11 in 17 games)

— Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson (5-5—10 in 16 games).

Previous winners of this season’s rookie of the month award were San Jose’s Tomas Hertl (October), Nashville’s Marek Mazanec (November) and Los Angeles’ Martin Jones/Chicago’s Antti Raanta (December co-winners).

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Wild must overcome Alex Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.

Fight video: Patrice Bergeron vs. Blake Wheeler (seriously)

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Regular Selke winner Patrice Bergeron can do it all on the ice, it seems. Apparently that means he’ll even drop the gloves.

That was the unlikely scene during Thursday’s Boston Bruins – Winnipeg Jets skirmish, as Bergeron fought fellow finesse forward Blake Wheeler.

Perhaps unusual feisty behavior was just in the air, as Tyler Myers squared off with Matt Beleskey.

(Not as unlikely, but still.)