Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings - Game Three

Blackhawks struggle to contain ‘That 70’s Line’ of Carter, Toffoli, Pearson


Going into the 2014 Western Conference finals, it seemed like the Chicago Blackhawks would have to be most concerned with the Los Angeles Kings’ top line of Anze Kopitar, Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik. Instead, they’ve been baffled by the less familiar combination of Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson.

Considering their numbers (Pearson is No. 70, Toffoli is No. 73 and Carter is No. 77), The Royal Half coined the nickname “That 70’s Line.” Whatever you want to call them,* takes a look at how difficult they’ve been to stop lately.

“They both have a lot of speed, they’re skilled players. Pearson’s got speed as well,” Duncan Keith said. “They skate hard, they play hard and they both have good shots. Put all those three together, they’re going to be hard to play against.”

The numbers certainly back that up.

Carter has been the most explosive of the bunch. The 29-year-old has seven points in his last two games, a five-game point streak (five goals, five assists) and 19 total points in this postseason. Three of his points came in Saturday’s 4-3 win in Game 3, including this goal:

Toffoli, 22 and Pearson, 21, have four-game point streaks of their own. Pearson has a goal and four assists in this span while Toffoli found the net three times and added one assist in four contests. Toffoli’s goal from Saturday ranks among his best of what seems like a breakthrough run:

Jonathan Toews has been able to hold up his end of the bargain when he’s been facing Kopitar & Co., but the Blackhawks badly need the likes of Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp to step up or they’ll end up being grumpier than Red Forman by the end of this series.

* – It will be tough to top “That 70’s Line.”

Here are the 10 oldest players to play a game this season

Jaromir Jagr
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This isn’t breaking news or anything. We just thought you’d like to know that three of the NHL’s 10 oldest players (who’ve played at least one game this season) are members of the Florida Panthers.

Oh, and the Panthers’ starting goalie? He’s the oldest starter in the league. (Scroll down.)

Here’s the list of skaters, topped by 43-year-old Jaromir Jagr:


Yet another veteran Panther, 36-year-old defenseman Brian Campbell, ranks 17th on the list.

Granted, the above list does not include 39-year-old Patrik Elias (who’s hurt) or 39-year-old Eric Boulton (who just re-signed with the Isles). As soon as those two play, Thornton will get pushed out of the top 10.

Now here’s the list of goalies who’ve started at least one game this season, topped by 36-year-old Roberto Luongo:


For the record, Luongo isn’t the oldest goalie under contract. That would be Minnesota’s Niklas Backstrom, who’s 37.

Related: Can Florida’s old guys hang on while the young guys get better?

Hamburglar (groin) returns, Sens demote O’Connor

Andrew Hammond
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Matt O'Connor‘s time in the Canadian capital was brief, but still noteworthy.

O’Connor, the losing netminder in Sunday’s “Battle of the Backups” against Montreal — Habs No. 2 Mike Condon got the win — has been sent down to AHL Binghamton to pave the way for Andrew Hammond‘s return from a groin injury, per the Sun.

The Hamburglar has been out since the preseason, but his return is earlier than expected.

He was originally supposed to miss the first two weeks, yet now sounds as though he’ll play one of Ottawa’s two games on an upcoming road trip through Columbus and Pittsburgh.

It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.