Aaaaaand we’re back with another round of ProHockeyTalk staff picks! Round 1 was good for some (Brough and Yerdon went 7-1), OK for others (me, O’Brien and Tucker went 5-for-8)… and then there was Dadoun (4-for-8. Hard lines, Ryan.)
That being said, there’s good news for PHT’s resident keyboard monkeys — our Stanley Cup picks are all still alive! Not sure we should be celebrating how teams we picked to win four playoff rounds merely made it past the opening one, but here we are. Live with it.
As for the comments section — plenty of people submitted their picks, but one set stood out: Comeonnowguys’ Western Conference predictions of Ducks in 6, Kings in 7, Wild in 6 and ‘Hawks in 6. Nearly a perfect game, save Minnesota winning in 7. Well done, Comeonnowguys. I’d offer you a prize but based on what’s available in front of me right now, you’d be getting a day-old Starbucks cup with some grinds floating at the bottom. Yours if you want it though.
Onto Round 2 we go…
Anaheim vs. Los Angeles
Halford: Kings in 7
Brough: Kings in 6
Yerdon: Kings in 6
O’Brien: Kings in 5
Dadoun: Ducks in 7
Tucker: Kings in 7
Chicago vs. Minnesota
Halford: ‘Hawks in 6
Brough: ‘Hawks in 5
Yerdon: ‘Hawks in 5
O’Brien: ‘Hawks in 5
Dadoun: ‘Hawks in 5
Tucker: ‘Hawks in 6
Boston vs. Montreal
Halford: Habs in 7
Brough: Bruins in 7
Yerdon: Bruins in 7
O’Brien: Bruins in 6
Dadoun: Bruins in 6
Tucker: Bruins in 7
New York vs. Pittsburgh
Halford: Pens in 6
Brough: Pens in 7
Yerdon: Rangers in 7
O’Brien: Rangers in 6
Dadoun: Rangers in 6
Tucker: Rangers in 6
Cam Ward had enough.
The Carolina Hurricanes goalie seemed particularly ticked off with Patric Hornqvist on Friday, twice taking out his frustrations in front of the net on the Pittsburgh Penguins forward.
Earlier in the game, Ward delivered a slash to the back of Hornqvist’s leg. In the third period, with the Hurricanes down five goals — that should give you an indication of what kind of night this was for Carolina — Ward snapped, delivering a punch with the blocker to Hornqvist after he slid into the Hurricanes puck stopper a split second after Evgeni Malkin jammed the puck in for a goal.
The final score? A 7-1 disaster of a loss to the Penguins, highlighted by Pittsburgh’s second-period offensive outburst. Ward played the entire game, allowing seven goals on 41 shots.
Carolina’s night also included star forward Jeff Skinner getting benched for the third period, after he took a pair of minor penalties — embellishment and unsportsmanlike conduct — in the second period.
“That’s pretty embarrassing. You don’t want to suffer a loss like that, especially in your home building,” Skinner told reporters.
The Hurricanes entered this game with a chance to jump into a wild card spot in the East.
Last week, the Hurricanes won four in a row, including a victory over Columbus, and continued their steady rise into the playoff hunt in the East. This week? It’s included losses to the Blue Jackets and Penguins.
The Hurricanes won’t have much time to think about this one. They travel to Columbus for a game Saturday evening.
The Boston Bruins have now lost three in a row, a losing streak that coincides with reports circulating that head coach Claude Julien’s job security is in jeopardy.
The bad news just keeps piling up for the Bruins: They’ve been shut out twice this week, as scoring continues to be an issue in Boston. They’re 22nd in the league in that category.
On Friday, the Bruins had their chances and once again held the edge in puck possession against the Chicago Blackhawks, finishing the game with 19 more shot attempts then the visitors, per hockeystats.ca.
But they couldn’t beat Scott Darling, who made 30 saves, and the real dagger came late in the third period when Marian Hossa scored off the rush with just over one minute remaining in regulation. Boston couldn’t even salvage a point out of this contest, losing 1-0.
The Bruins were all over the Blackhawks in the first period. They held a wide edge in shots on goal, but the Blackhawks were able to escape on the strength of some solid goaltending. They just hung around, and were able to break through in the third period.
The Bruins are still in a playoff position in the Atlantic Division. They are the top puck possession team in the league (although they have the second lowest shooting percentage at five-on-five) and Julien has had plenty of success behind that bench, helping guide the organization to a Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and a run to the Final in the lockout shortened campaign.
It would seem unfair to pin this roster’s shortcomings on the coach, especially given the offseason plans initially set out by Bruins management.
Though this loss likely puts Claude Julien Watch on high alert.
The Buffalo Sabres will be down a defenseman for the remainder of Friday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Jake McCabe has left the game due to a shoulder injury suffered during the first period and will not return, the club stated during the second period.
Signed to a three-year, $4.8 million contract extension last summer, the 23-year-old McCabe has one goal and 10 points in 44 games this season for Buffalo
More recently, McCabe drew the immediate ire of the Winnipeg Jets after he delivered an open-ice hit on rookie Patrik Laine, who suffered a concussion on the play.
Darren Helm is back in the Detroit Red Wings lineup Friday, after missing the last two months with a shoulder injury.
Helm last played on Nov. 15, and was initially expected to miss at least six weeks with a dislocated shoulder. According to reports, he’ll make his return to game action against the Buffalo Sabres.
The Red Wings are searching for a fourth consecutive win, as they look to gain ground in the Eastern Conference wild card race.
“He’s ultra-fast, he’s ultra-competitive,” said coach Jeff Blashill, per MLive.com. “I thought he had an excellent start to the year. It was obviously unfortunate he got hurt, but we all deal with it. The good thing with him is he’s such a skater and such a competitor that when he gets back into the lineup after a long layoff I expect him to be pretty good.”
In 17 games this season before his injury, Helm had four goals and seven points.