Los Angeles Kings v San Jose Sharks

Gaborik’s heroics steal Game 1 in OT for the Kings

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The Los Angeles Kings “weren’t supposed” to come back from a 0-3 deficit against the San Jose Sharks in round one. Down some defensemen and undoubtedly a little winded from that clash with San Jose, it seemed like they were supposed to lose to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 on Saturday.

… But that’s why you acquire players like Marian Gaborik. It wasn’t enough for the talented winger (and pending unrestricted free agent) to score the game-tying goal with just seven seconds left; he also scored the game-winner in overtime to give the Kings a 3-2 OT win and 1-0 series lead.

While the shots were close to even (36-35 for the Kings), there were times that Los Angeles seemed addled, yet they scraped out a win that could be crucial over the long haul.

Here’s video of the game-tying goal with some interesting details:

And here’s footage of that overtime-clincher:

Let’s look at other facets of tonight’s game:

Getting testy early

With little surprise, things got heated between the two in-state rivals, with this exchange ranking among the most heated:

While Robyn Regehr seemingly suffered an injury he couldn’t return from – the Kings unsurprisingly weren’t forthcoming about it – other players managed to shake off ailments and even contribute on the offensive and/or defensive side. Ryan Getzlaf stood out in that regard:

Ducks control certain spans of play

Chalk it up to fatigue or two strong teams refusing to give up space against each other, but there were some moments when offense was definitely difficult to come by. Much was made about the Kings failing to register a shot on goal for more than 17 minutes of game time (though the exact amount of time seemed to be in question).

Teemu Selanne scored a big goal – and his first of the playoffs – thanks to this move on Jonathan Quick:

The Ducks carried much of the play through the first chunk of overtime, but there were heroic moments like these:

***

Ultimately, it came down to huge breakthroughs in desperation moments for the Kings. Game 2 of this series takes place in Anaheim on Monday on NBCSN. If the Kings show us anything, it’s that a series often boasts plenty of highs and lows, so stay tuned.

Ducks likely to recall Khudobin after Gibson injury

Chicago Blackhawks' Richard Panik (14), of Slovakia, collides with Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Chicago. Anaheim won 3-2 in overtime. (AP Photo/Paul Beaty)
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“Costly victories” may have been one of the themes of Saturday night, as some teams paired impressive wins with worrisome injuries.

The good news is that, in each case, it appears that the early word is optimistic about those players (Tyler Seguin got stitched up in the Stars’ win, for example).

The Anaheim Ducks are reportedly readying to recall Anton Khudobin on Sunday after John Gibson suffered an upper-body injury during a collision with Chicago Blackhawks forward Richard Panik.

Again, so far the hope/expectation is that this might not be a major issue:

The pessimistic take would be to wonder “Uh oh, is the Ducks goalie carousel starting again?”

Frederik Andersen has seen some runs as Anaheim’s No. 1 guy, so maybe this issue is a reminder that the Ducks may be better off keeping both Gibson and Andersen around … at least while they can.

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)
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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.