Marian Hossa reached deep into his bag of shootout tricks and settled on … a slap shot from below the hash marks. Hey, it worked.
Hossa scored the lone goal in the skills competition and the Chicago Blackhawks shook off a weak tying goal allowed by goalie Corey Crawford to defeat the Minnesota Wild by a final score of 3-2 on Thursday.
Without captain Jonathan Toews (upper body) and Patrick Kane (leg) for the rest of the regular season, the Blackhawks ended a three-game losing streak and joined four other teams with 100 or more points in the Western Conference.
The Wild evened the score late in the third period on a goal from Erik Haula, who beat Crawford with a lazy wrist shot that went through the screen of Blackhawks’ defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
However, Crawford redeemed himself in the shootout.
“I didn’t have a choice. I felt I needed to come back and shut the door,” said Crawford, as per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
The Wild also took exception to a hit Chicago’s Brandon Bollig threw on Zach Parise in the second period.
“I didn’t like it. I saw it was coming. You could see the shift before that he was targeting those guys,” said Wild head coach Mike Yeo, as per Chad Graff of the Pioneer Press.
You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.
The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.
It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.
You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:
Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):
The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.
This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.
Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.
The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.
Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.
The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.
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Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:
Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3
Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon
Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.
“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.
The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.
Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.
He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.
In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.
Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016