TOEWSSCORES

Oh captain: Toews the OT hero as ‘Hawks take 3-2 series lead on Blues

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Maybe he got tired of Patrick Kane scoring all the dramatic overtime winners.

Jonathan Toews decided he would play the role of hero on Friday night, scoring 7:36 into overtime to give Chicago a 3-2 win in Game 5 of what’s become a truly compelling first-round affair.

With the victory, the ‘Hawks have stormed back after dropping the opening two games in St. Louis and now hold a 3-2 series lead.

And what a series it’s been.

Friday’s tilt was fourth time in five games Chicago and St. Louis have gone to overtime, just the fifth time that’s happened in NHL history. What’s more, Chicago has ended the last two OT sessions with goals from their dynamic duo, Kane and Toews.

Captain Serious’ goal tonight came after some scrambled play in the Chicago zone — Corey Crawford punched a rebound out into traffic, and Duncan Keith’s wild swipe at the puck proved to be the perfect outlet pass, bouncing off Andrew Shaw’s shin pad to spring Toews on a breakaway:

That wasn’t the lone dramatic moment of the night, however.

Three of the biggest stars in this series — T.J. Oshie, Marian Hossa and Alex Pietrangelo — all got their first goals of the postseason. Hossa opened the scoring late in the first period, only to see Oshie even the score midway through the second with this outrageous marker:

Ben Smith scored for Chicago to make it 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in the second, but the lead didn’t last long as Pietrangelo scored 1:42 into the third period, converting a nice two-on-one with Jaden Schwartz to beat Crawford in goal.

Speaking of Crawford, he was solid again tonight in stopping 27 of 29 shots while his counterpart, Ryan Miller, made 27 saves on 30 shots.

With the win, Chicago will now head back to the United Center on Sunday with the chance to close out the Blues — a Blues team that, for the second straight postseason, is facing an opening-round elimination after taking a 2-0 series lead.

 

Stars end Capitals’ winning streak, pass Blackhawks for West lead

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For two periods, the Dallas Stars seemed to say, “Are you sure the Washington Capitals are the best team in the NHL?”

They chased Braden Holtby and built a 4-0 lead through those first 40 minutes, and that was enough … but barely. The Stars beat the Capitals 4-3 on Saturday, which accomplished the following:

  • Dallas ended Washington’s winning streak at five games. The Stars have now won three straight.
  • This win slides the Stars ahead of the Chicago Blackhawks for first place in the highly competitive Central Division. While both teams sit at 77 standings points, Dallas holds three games in hand.
  • By passing Chicago, the Stars now lead the Western Conference as a whole.

Impressive stuff. Some might even call it a statement game, although others may hold that nail-biting ending against them (possibly arguing that the Stars’ flaws may come back to haunt them in the playoffs).

Dallas’ biggest concern likely has little to do with doubters. Instead, they must monitor the statuses of forwards Tyler Seguin and Cody Eakin.

Long story short, the Stars are red-hot, yet bigger challenges likely lie ahead.

Blackhawks fall to Ducks in OT, lose Hossa to injury

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The Chicago Blackhawks are on edge on Saturday, and it’s not because of what’s currently a close game against the Anaheim Ducks.

(Not that they’re indifferent toward a match against their opponents from last year’s conference final match, mind you.)

Instead, the Blackhawks are quite concerned about the health of Marian Hossa, who needed help off of the ice following an awkward, scary-looking crash into the boards. (Hampus Lindholm delivered the hip check that sent Hossa sprawling, in case you’re wondering.)

You can see that moment in the video above, while My Regular Face’s GIF also captures that troubling moment:

It’s too early to tell if Hossa will bounce back or miss some time from this. Stay tuned for potential updates.

Update: Joel Quenneville seems optimistic about Hossa, broadly speaking:

Ryan Getzlaf scored the overtime game-winner as the Ducks won 3-2 (OT).

Understatement: Saturday was a rough night for Panthers

Nashville Predators center Colin Wilson (33) checks Florida Panthers center Jonathan Huberdeau (11) during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Sunrise, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
AP
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If it weren’t for Mike Yeo and the Minnesota Wild, you could argue that the Florida Panthers suffered from the worst night so far.

You can see that Saturday was unpleasant merely from looking at the scoreboard: the Nashville Predators pummeled the Panthers by an unkind score of 5-0.

The pain goes beyond that … literally so.

For one thing, Quinton Howden suffered an upper-body injury and did not return. That’s no good, but if you want to feel sick to your stomach, footage of Brandon Pirri‘s likely lower-body injury (ankle maybe?) may do the trick.

(Seriously, you may be happier if you don’t look.)

The Panthers didn’t make an announcement about Pirri one way or another, so we’ll see if he somehow avoided anything significant.

Either way, it was a night this team would like to forget.

Fractured jaw from fight sidelines Chris Stewart for 4-8 weeks

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It’s unlikely that Chris Stewart will generate another 30-goal season in the NHL, but he still might be missed by the Anaheim Ducks.

The team announced that the ornery forward is expected to miss four-to-eight weeks with a fractured jaw. If that’s the recovery window, Stewart may go into the playoffs a little rusty (if he can get in any regular season games at all).

The Ducks didn’t elaborate, but the Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline believes that the injury happened during a fight with Dalton Prout of the Columbus Blue Jackets. You can see that brawl in the video above.

One bright side for Anaheim: if they believe that they need to replace what Stewart brings to the table (rugged play with a dash of offense), then at least this injury happened before the the Feb. 29 trade deadline.