For only the second time in their franchise history, the Columbus Blue Jackets are going back to the Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Blue Jackets clinched their spot in the post-season with a 3-1 win over the host Dallas Stars on Wednesday. This game was a makeup for the March 10 meeting between the two teams, which was postponed after Dallas forward Rich Peverley collapsed due to a cardiac event.
Columbus was leading that game 1-0 on a goal from Nathan Horton early in the first period, when Peverley collapsed and was eventually taken to hospital.
Horton did not play Wednesday, however he was still credited with the opening goal, which the league has now given to him at the 0:00 mark of this game.
The Blue Jackets took a three-goal lead in the first period – they only needed to score twice in order for that to happen – before holding on to for the win and two points.
Not that the Stars, in a playoff race of their own in the Western Conference, didn’t try to pull out all the stops in the third period to try and at least get a single point.
As per Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News, Stars head coach Lindy Ruff pulled Tim Thomas from the net on a power play just before the midway point of the third period. The bold move did result in a goal from Trevor Daley, but that was all the Stars would get.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.