Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Dallas Stars hosting the Anaheim Ducks starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:
• Ducks linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry each scored a goal in Game 2, marking the 10th time that both Getzlaf and Perry found the back of the net in the same playoff game. The Ducks improved to 9-1 in those games. Getzlaf and Perry both scored in the same game 13 times during the 2013-14 regular season (12-0-1 record), tied for the most such games among teammates with Stars forwards Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin (10-2-1 record). (Elias Sports Bureau)
• The Ducks have taken a two-games-to-none series lead in a best-of-seven playoff series eight times in franchise history, and gone on to win all eight series . It is the fifth time that the Ducks won Games 1 and 2 at home (4-0 record in previous series). The Stars lost Games 1 & 2 on the road for the fourth time (0-3 record) since the team moved from Minnesota in 1993.
• Dallas is seeking its first postseason win since Game 5 of the 2008 Western Conference Final vs. Detroit. The Stars’ #1 goaltender, Kari Lehtonen, is seeking his first postseason win, period. In Game 2, Lehtonen fell to 0-4 in four career postseason appearances (with Atlanta and Dallas), with a 4.58 GAA and .858 save%. He has yet to post a .900 save% in any single playoff game.
• In Game 2, Dallas outshot Anaheim 36-19 and lost 3-2. It marked the first and only time this postseason that a team registered more shots on goal than their opponent in a losing effort. The last time a team had 36 or more shots on goal and allowed 19 or fewer in a road playoff loss was April 17, 2000, when Toronto lost Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarters in Ottawa despite outshooting the Sens 36-15.
• Seguin and Benn had almost even statistical splits during the regular season, whether playing at home or away. Ray Whitney and Erik Cole – both Stanley Cup winners with Carolina in 2006 – boasted much better production on home ice. Neither Whitney nor Cole produced a point in Anaheim in Games 1 or 2.
• When Getzlaf (63 career points), who needs one point to tie teammate Teemu Selanne (64) on the Ducks’ all-time playoff scoring list, registers a point, the Ducks are 29-12 in the playoffs since 2005-06.
Canucks’ Dorsett returns to Vancouver for precautionary reasons
Derek Dorsett’s remarkable comeback story has taken an unfortunate turn.
Dorsett won’t play on Tuesday in Philadelphia against the Flyers and may be sidelined for some time after the Canucks revealed Dorsett is dealing with complications that appear to stem from last season’s spinal surgery, which forced him to miss 68 games last season.
Derek Dorsett returned to Vancouver today for precautionary reasons to be evaluated by medical staff. His rehab following a cervical fusion procedure last year progressed well, consistent with expectations, and resulted in his fitness to play.
Recently, symptoms of neck and back stiffness presented. Given the nature of the injury and surgery, it was determined the best course of action is for a specialist to review his status. Derek will be assessed to determine cause and treatment of the symptoms before any further action is taken.
Dorsett’s surgery, according to Sportsnet, was a brutal procedure of getting “cut through the front of his neck, pull his vocal chords aside, remove a damaged disc between his C5 and C6 vertebrae, replace it with a washer and chunk of bone from his hip, then screw the vertebrae together so the tissue could fuse.”
Canucks head coach Travis Green spoke to the media prior to Tuesday’s game.
“I think the symptoms just slowly came around the last week or so,” Green said. “He’s been kind of dealing with it the past several days, week.”
"I don't want to talk like it was a remarkable comeback, it still is." Coach Green discusses the Dorsett news. pic.twitter.com/B6pH1KjoPX
Almost every NHL team has hit the 20-game mark, which means it’s time to look back at the first month and a half of the season and see who’s ahead of the pack for some of the league’s top hardware.
A lot will change between now and June, but certainly some of the players named below will still be in the mix come awards season while others will tail off after hot starts.
Who is the most valuable to their team? That’s a tough choice as you look at some of the performances so far this season. Nikita Kucherov (17-16—33) can’t stop scoring and Steven Stamkos (10-25—35) is averaging 1.75 points per night for the Tampa Bay Lightning. Jaden Schwartz (10-16—26) is powering the St. Louis Blues. Johnny Gaudreau (10-21—31) is leading the Calgary Flames. Meanwhile, Sergei Bobrovsky it tops among all goaltenders with a .941 even strength save percentage.
There are a number of strong candidates for the Hart at the quarter mark. If voting took place now, how many votes would Kucherov and Stamkos split? And would that allow Bobrovsky to sneak in and steal it? Or does Bob have enough love right now to surpass the Lightning duo?
1. Bobrovsky 2. Kucherov 3. Schwartz
Alex Pietrangelo and John Klingberg are all tied for the scoring lead among blue liners with 19 points, but lookie here, it’s Erik Karlsson, he of five games missed this season, lurking behind them at 17. He also has the best Corsi (56 percent, via Corsica) out of the top scoring defensemen and is averaging 1.21 points per game. Victor Hedman is also just behind with 15 points and 25:18 of ice time a night.
1. Karlsson 2. Pietrangelo 3. Hedman
Outside of Bob, you have Andrei Vasilievskiy’s play helping the Lightning to a ridiculous start. He has a .931 ESSV and has played the seventh-most minutes (1,024:24). There’s also Connor Hellebuyck (.938) and Corey Crawford (.932) to consider; both have been key reasons for why their teams currently reside in playoff positions.
But in the end it’s hard to top what Bobrovsky is doing in Columbus. And it goes to show, as we’ve seen the last few years, just how good he is when healthy.
1. Bobrovsky 2. Hellebuyck 3. Crawford
In October, Clayton Keller (11-9—20) of the Arizona Coyotes appeared to have one hand on the rookie of the year award. But then a few other names entered the picture, like Mathew Barzal of the New York Islanders, who sits second in rookie scoring with 4 goals and 19 points. Brock Boeser of the Vancouver Canucks (7-10—17) is a bright ray of hope for the franchise. New Jersey Devils blue liner Will Butcher has been an assist machine with 14 of his 16 points recorded as helpers.
Speaking of rookie defensemen, Charlie McAvoy has 10 points for the Boston Bruins, but just as impressive is the fact that he’s averaging 23:16 a night next to Zdeno Chara. No other freshman skater is over 20 minutes a night.
One goaltender of note is Charlie Lindgren (.929), who has played well filling in for Carey Price. But that’s not going to last once the Montreal Canadiens get their franchise goaltender back from injury very soon.
1. Keller 2. Barzal 3. McAvoy
JACK ADAMS AWARD
Who had the Vegas Golden Knights sitting in a playoff spot and not a lottery spot this season? Well, through the quarter mark, Gerard Gallant’s men have used a strong home record (8-1-0) to get off to an historic start.
There’s also plenty of praise for the jobs that Jon Cooper and Mike Yeo are doing in Tampa and St. Louis, respectively, but typically this award ends up going to a team that exceeded expectations or made a huge turnaround from either the current season or previous year. That’s why if they keep up the pace, John Hynes of the New Jersey Devils and Paul Maurice of the Winnipeg Jets will find themselves getting some coach of the year love in June.
1. Gallant 2. Cooper 3. Hynes
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT – TEAM
The Edmonton Oilers were a trendy Stanley Cup pick before the season after a nice playoff run last spring. But it’s all come crashing back down to earth as they sit out of the Western Conference playoff picture and three points ahead of the league-worst Arizona Coyotes. The Montreal Canadiens have been an interesting mess and we’re waiting on the Philadelphia Flyers to take that next step with some exciting young players. The Dallas Stars seem to have issues living up expectations, while Bruce Boudreau’s penchant for winning division titles could take a hit for a second straight season with the Minnesota Wild.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT – PLAYER
It took until game No. 18 for Ryan Johansen, owner of a new $8 million cap hit, to score his first goal of the season for the Nashville Predators. Steve Mason (.879 ESSV) was handed a nice $8.2 million deal over the summer but has watched as Hellebuyck has taken the No. 1 job for the Jets. Martin Hanzal was given a three-year, $14.25 million deal by the Stars and has one goal through 17 games. Ben Bishop also hasn’t quite lit it up for the Stars with a .904 ESSV. Carey Price is injured, but sure wasn’t playing like his old self before he left the Canadiens lineup. His .877 ESSV is downright ugly.
“I think we collectively hate playing the game. What I mean by that is we say ‘upper body,’ then you go on the phone, and then you look up things or you go to the doctors, find out what part of the upper body. We try to make your work easier, quite frankly, and so we just don’t like going through the dance.
“It’s just easy to tell you what it is and let’s move forward. It’s just the whole game. It’s an injury, and within two hours after we tell you it’s ‘upper body,’ you know exactly what it is, so why not just tell you? And the players don’t go out and say, ‘He has a broken left pinky and we’re going to go after the pinky.’ Nobody thinks like that. Our feeling is just tell them what the injury is and move it forward and just stop the dance.”
Perhaps Hitchcock, who has been coaching in the NHL since 1995, is just tired of the same old rigmarole he’s dealt with for the past 20-plus years. Reporters everywhere are too.
It’s also likely that most fans would also appreciate a higher level of transparency from the team they spend hundreds on for tickets each night.
ZURICH (AP) The International Ice Hockey Federation has slashed a doping ban given to Russian forward Danis Zaripov from two years to six months.
He’s eligible to play again from Thursday.
Zaripov, a Russian Olympian in 2010, was suspended in July for taking the banned substance pseudoephedrine.
However, the IIHF says it has reached a settlement with Zaripov, who filed an appeal. The IIHF agreed to cut the suspension. Since it’s dated from May 23, that means Zaripov will be eligible again on Thursday.
The IIHF says its decision is “based on extensive documentary and expert evidence that was unavailable” this year.
Zaripov has previously told Russian media he was in contact with the St. Louis Blues about a move to the NHL, where his ban isn’t valid.