Braydon Coburn, Brandon Dubinsky, Blake Comeau

After big win in Philly, Jackets need to keep their ‘foot on the pedal’

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The attitude the Blue Jackets assumed when they got the lead last night in Philadelphia is the same one they need to keep with six games to go in their regular season.

“I like how we kept our foot on the pedal,” defenseman James Wisniewski said, per the Columbus Dispatch. “We played it smart, but we didn’t lay back and just defend the whole time. Our defense was active, and we supported each other. It wasn’t them just coming in wave after wave until something bad happens.”

The Jackets came away with a 2-0 victory, the franchise’s first ever in Philly. Tonight, they host Chicago with a chance to go three points up on idle Toronto, currently the team with the best chance to catch them for a playoff spot.

The Blackhawks — minus Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane — also played last night, beating Minnesota in a shootout at the United Center. Which is to say, it’s not the worst time to welcome the Stanley Cup champs to Nationwide Arena.

“We’re in a good position,” said forward Brandon Dubinsky. “It’s not like where we were last year when we had to continue to watch and hope and chase teams. We’re right where we want to be.”

As we wrote yesterday, the Jackets have a golden opportunity to to give their long-suffering fans some playoff excitement.

Now is not the time to take their foot off the pedal.

 

Jets activate Pavelec from IR, send Hellebuyck back to minors

Winnipeg Jets v New York Islanders
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Winnipeg’s goalie of the future is off to continue his development in the AHL.

On Friday, the Jets activated veteran netminder Ondrej Pavelec from injured reserve and, in a subsequent move, sent rookie netminder Connor Hellebuyck back to their affiliate in Manitoba.

Hellebuyck, 22, arrived in Winnipeg with great fanfare, having starred for Team USA at the 2015 Worlds while being named an AHL All-Star as well.

This was his first-ever stint with the Jets, and it went OK — Hellebuyck posted an 13-11-1 record, .918 save percentage and 2.34 GAA — but he did struggle of late, getting hooked in two of his last three outings.

Now, it’ll be interesting to see what happens with Pavelec.

His numbers prior to getting hurt weren’t any better than Hellebuyck’s — .906 save percentage, 2.82 GAA — and there will be considerable rust to knock off, given he’s been out since late November with a knee issue.

There’s also the long-term implication.

Pavelec, a lightning rod for criticism over the last few seasons, has one year left on his five-year, $19.5 million extension, meaning he’ll be an unrestricted free agent in July of ’17.

It could be his last season in Winnipeg (assuming he’s not bought out of the final year of his deal), which makes one wonder what GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has in store.

It’s also worth noting there’s a third goalie in this equation: Michael Hutchinson, who’s a pending RFA.

Kuznetsov passed concussion test, expected to play Saturday

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov, from Russia, celebrates his goal during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Winnipeg Jets, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015, in Washington. The Capitals won 5-3. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
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Feel free to breath a sigh of relief, Capitals fans — Evgeny Kuznetsov is okay.

“During the end of the third period, Evgeny underwent and passed all tests pertaining to the league’s concussion protocol evaluation,” the Caps said today in a statement. “We expect him to take the morning skate tomorrow and play against the Stars later that night.”

Kuznetsov left last night’s game versus the Wild in the third period after appearing to take the butt-end of Mikael Granlund’s stick to the face.

Kuznetsov leads the Caps with 54 points.

After ugly collision, Flames put Ramo on IR

Calgary Flames goalie Karri Ramo is checked on by a trainer after Ramo's collision with San Jose Sharks' Joonas Donskoi during the third period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. The Flames defeated the Sharks 6-5 in a shootout. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
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The collision that knocked Karri Ramo from Calgary’s 6-5 shootout win over the Sharks on Thursday night didn’t look good.

And now, we’ve learned it wasn’t good at all.

On Friday, the Flames put Ramo on injured reserve, though — according to Sportsnet — he will stay with the team for tonight’s game in Arizona, before flying home with the club to be re-evaluated by team doctors.

The collision happened late in the third period, when Mark Giordano tripped Joonas Donskoi, sending the Sharks forward crashing into Ramo. The veteran netminder stayed down for a while before requiring help off the ice, and was immediately replaced by Jonas Hiller.

Ramo’s loss will hurt the Flames. He did well this year to rebound from getting waived — followed by a brief stint in the minors — and played some pretty good hockey in December and January, posting a .919 save percentage.

In a related move to the Ramo injury, the Flames recalled Joni Ortio from AHL Stockton on Friday.

Report: Ducks’ Stewart suffered broken jaw in fight (Video)

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Per the Columbus Dispatch, Anaheim winger Chris Stewart reportedly suffered a broken jaw in his fight on Thursday night with Jackets d-man Dalton Prout.

Stewart, who has eight goals and 18 points in 47 games this year, left the game following the scrap and didn’t return from the third period. Head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t provide any update on the veteran’s condition following the contest.

Assuming Stewart misses time with the injury, it would be a blow to the Anaheim lineup. Though he averages just 10:40 TOI per game, Stewart is a physical presence and has played pretty well of late, with three points in his last five games.