Antti Raanta probably doesn’t dislike Scott Darling,* but could you blame him if he did?
You could argue that the Chicago Blackhawks allowed Raanta to leave because they were confident in Darling, and you could also argue that Darling got the best of Raanta in a 2-1 win for the Blackhawks against the Rangers on Tuesday.
Darling made some daring saves, stopping 33 of 34 shots, while Raanta gave up that one extra goal. In the case of tonight, it was this silky, soupy pass by Brian Campbell leading to a nice Artem Anisimov game-winner:
These Blackhawks – Rangers games have been tight at MSG lately, and this game was no exception.
It certainly wasn’t a bad night from Raanta, but chances are pretty strong that the Rangers will go back to Henrik Lundqvist after this loss. Darling simply was just that good, and he’s been a rock for Chicago with Corey Crawford out in a less voluntary fashion.
While Jonathan Toews looked sharp and Duncan Keith – Brent Seabrook did their thing, the Blackhawks “second” line stole the show in some ways. Anisimov also had an assist, Artemi Panarin collected two helpers and PHT’s Joey Alfieri notes this moment for Patrick Kane (even if he didn’t score):
The Blackhawks improve to 18-8-4 while the Rangers slip to 20-9-1. It’s plausible that this game served as a genuine litmus test for two big-name teams with championship aspirations.
* – The two goalies almost certainly like (or at least respect) each other.
Breaking: the Pittsburgh Penguins and Philadelphia Flyers don’t like each other.
The stakes might be higher for the Penguins than the Flyers – aside from those who still believe Philly has a shot at a playoff run – their rivalry rarely subsides.
With that in mind, it’s no surprise that Sunday featured at least one fight, with Cameron Gaunce squaring off against Brandon Manning in a pretty spirited bout.
Manning isn’t shy about fighting, by the way; this was his seventh bout of the season, according to Hockey Fights.
Higher on the radar for the Penguins is the situation for Conor Sheary, who has been absent from the ice since about midway through the first period. PHT will keep an eye out for updates on what could be yet another injury for the health-challenged Pens.
Life is difficult, complex and confusing. Good thing we have dog videos.
Forgive this video being one night late, but for those of us who watch cute animal clips, time is a furry circle. Or something like that.
Anyway, this golden retriever got a little “ice time” before the Washington Capitals’ game against the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday in what would end up being a 4-1 win for the Caps. It’s an excellent video featuring a top-notch, hilarious pooch.
Alternate joke: Now that is some puck retrieval.
Patrik Laine and Auston Matthews are locked with identical goals (34), assists (27) and points (61) on Sunday, which is remarkable since Laine has played in 67 games versus 75 for Matthews. He won’t get a chance to beef up his numbers on Sunday, either.
It looks like the high-scoring rookie is missing the Winnipeg Jets’ contest against the Vancouver Canucks because of an illness, according to TSN’s Sara Orlesky.
The Jets are almost assured to miss the playoffs, so seeing Laine lose a chance to bolster his Calder argument adds a little extra sadness to the night.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety announced a Monday hearing for San Jose Sharks tough guy Micheal Haley for his “roughing/sucker punch” on Calle Jarnkrok of the Nashville Predators.
The league didn’t specify if Haley will face a telephone or in-person hearing on Monday afternoon. They did, interestingly, use the phrase “sucker punch” in that official announcement.
Haley received a match penalty during the game. Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer was highly upset about the hit that inspired Haley’s actions.
“When you run someone from behind in a game like that, you probably deserve to get a punch in the mouth,” DeBoer told reporters.
In other bad news for the Sharks, CSN Bay Area’s Kevin Kurz reports that Logan Couture‘s situation isn’t looking promising after he was hurt on Sunday.