Paul Martin will look to get his season on track Thursday against Winnipeg, returning to the Pittsburgh lineup for the first time since breaking his hand at the Olympics.
Martin, who missed 23 games earlier this season with a fractured tibia, will play for the first time in 18 games and provide a key veteran presence on the Pens’ back end. He’ll also provide a fresh look on the power play — Martin manned the point on the first unit at today’s morning skate; despite appearing in just 33 games this year, he still sits second among all Pens d-men in power play assists (with six).
More importantly, the return gives Martin a chance to knock off some rust prior to the start of the playoffs. He figures to be a key contributor for the Pens this spring, given he averages over 24 minutes per night and could be relied upon even more given the uncertainty surrounding Kris Letang’s return from a stroke.
This hasn’t been the best night for St. Louis sports fans.
Obviously, the MLB’s Cardinals getting bounced from the playoffs is a bigger deal, but the Blues face bad news, too.
While they’re currently leading the Calgary Flames by a score of 4-3, they’ll need to hang on without Kevin Shattenkirk, whose night is over thanks to a lower-body injury.
There’s no word yet on how severe the issue might be.
Naturally, the Blues must hope that it’s minor, as Shattenkirk is one of the NHL’s truly underrated assets on the blueline.
Stephanie (@MyRegularFace) tracked down a moment when the injury may have happened:
It’s not all rosy for the Flames, either, as Lance Bouma suffered an injury as well.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.