–By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about Chris Pronger‘s hit on Justin Bieber during last weekend’s Celebrity All-Star Shootout in Los Angeles. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch it by clicking here. Pronger, who works for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, jokingly said he fined himself $5 for the hit. (Associated Press)
–Canadian golfer MacKenzie Hughes brought a little bit of Canada to Scottsdale, Arizona. Hughes put on an Auston Matthews jersey while he was on the 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale (Matthews’ hometown). You don’t see that every day. (BarDown)
–You might not have known this, but Brayden Schenn currently leads the NHL in power play goals with 12. He credits a lot of his success on the man-advantage to former teammate Scott Hartnell. “He was always good to me and helping me out along the way. Just watching him and his shot. He scored a lot of goals from that spot. If you watch him, he was always smart and got to the right areas and that’s something you can just pick up from a guy.” (Sports Illustrated)
—Mika Zibanejad, J.T. Miller and Chris Kreider combined to score the game-winning goal in overtime in the Rangers’ 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night. You can watch that pretty goal by clicking the video at the top of the page.
–The Detroit Red Wings have a 25-year playoff streak on the line, but is that a good enough reason to make a push for a spot in the postseason? The ESPN roundtable debated whether or not they should try to make the playoffs or rebuild instead. Some of the answers may surprise you. For example, hockey insider Pierre LeBrun suggests that a weak 2017 draft class could put the rebuild on hold. (ESPN)
–No hockey player enjoys being a healthy scratch, but as he gets older, Sens forward Curtis Lazar has learned how to handle those kind of situations. “It’s never fun being out, but we have some great depth here. There’s no point in me pouting or letting the emotions get the better of me. I did that sometimes before the All-Star break. It’s about being a good teammate.” (Ottawa Citizen)
—Alex Ovechkin has hit a number of different milestones throughout his career. On Wednesday night, he scored his 550th goal, which put him ahead of Ron Francis for 27th on the all-time list. Even though he likes the individual spotlight, Ovechkin would prefer (finally) winning that elusive Stanley Cup ring. (NHL.com)
There was apparently an issue with a microphone used for the national anthems prior to Game 3 between the Ducks and Oilers in Edmonton.
Canadian country music star Brett Kissel was supposed to perform the anthems, however, as he stepped up to the mic, he soon discovered that there seemed to be a malfunction.
With some quick encouragement from Kissel, fans at Rogers Place stole the show with stirring renditions of both the American and Canadian national anthems.
Here is the Star Spangled Banner:
Here is O Canada:
Good news for the Anaheim Ducks, who trail the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 in their second round series.
Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen returns to the lineup Sunday for Game 3 — his first game since April 13, which was the opener of Anaheim’s first-round series with Calgary, because of an upper-body injury.
However, the Ducks will be without Kevin Bieksa, who is dealing with a lower-body injury.
The Nashville Predators have snapped their one-game funk in these Stanley Cup playoffs, taking back the series lead over the St. Louis Blues.
For long stretches of Sunday’s contest, the Predators kept the puck away from and stifled the Blues, including a stretch of almost nine minutes at the beginning of the second period in which St. Louis failed to register a shot attempt.
The Predators’ 3-1 victory in Game 3 was eventually secured on an unbelievably dominant shift late in the third period.
Joel Edmundson‘s (costly) turnover led to a dizzying attack from Predators, who had sustained puck possession inside the St. Louis zone for about 1:10.
By the end, Edmundson and Colton Parayko had exhausted themselves as the Predators tossed the puck around with increasing ease before Roman Josi halted the madness with a slap shot to the top corner, giving Nashville a two-goal lead.
That continues an impressive trend for the Predators.
They have scored nine goals in this series, with at least one defenseman contributing directly with either a goal or an assist on eight of those goals. Nashville’s group of blueliners — including Ryan Ellis, who has been on quite a productive roll throughout these playoffs — have combined for 11 points through three games in this series.
This series resumes Tuesday in Nashville, with the Predators leading 2-1.
Playing in Nashville over the years it has been easy for Ryan Ellis to get overlooked, always playing in the shadow of bigger name stars on the team’s blue line.
Shea Weber (before he was traded). Roman Josi. P.K. Subban.
But Ellis has been a major part of the Predators’ blue line and he had a career-year in 2016-17, setting new personal bests in goals (16) and points (38) while matching his previous career high in assists (22).
He has continued that strong play in the postseason and is currently the team’s leading scorer after he netted his third goal of the playoffs (and eighth total point) on Sunday afternoon to give the Predators a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues.
You can see it in the video above.
After being held without a point in the Predators’ first playoff game, Ellis has now picked up at least one point in every playoff game since them and is now riding a six-game point streak.
The first half of Sunday’s game has been a defensive clinic by the Predators, by the way, limiting St. Louis to just 10 shots on goal through the first 34 minutes, and none through the first 14 minutes of the second period.
The Predators extended their lead to 2-0 in the second period when Cody McLeod deflected in his first goal of the playoffs to give the Predators some unexpected scoring depth. He had just five goals in 59 games during the regular season between the Predators and Colorado Avalanche.