Cam Tucker

Nick Bjugstad

Sounds like the Panthers could get Bjugstad (hand) back this week

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Nick Bjugstad hasn’t played a game all season for the Florida Panthers, but that could soon change.

Bjugstad, 24, suffered a broken hand before the regular season began and he has remained out of the lineup, despite reports earlier this month suggesting he could soon return to game action.

The towering center wasn’t in the Panthers lineup Sunday against the New York Rangers. But, per reports (here and here) earlier in the day, he could play Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers, provided he gets clearance from doctors.

That would be good news for a Panthers team that was dealt some brutal injury news earlier in the season, particularly with the loss of Jonathan Huberdeau.

Last season, Bjugstad scored 15 goals and 34 points. Two seasons ago, he hit the 24-goal plateau.

‘Disrespectful to the game’ — Trotz believes Foligno embellished, leading to Blue Jackets winning goal

NASHVILLE, TN - JANUARY 29:  Head Coach Barry Trotz of the Washington Capitals speaks during Media Day for the 2016 NHL All-Star Game at Bridgestone Arena on January 29, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

A late power play goal gave the Columbus Blue Jackets a win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday.

But Capitals coach Barry Trotz has taken issue with the high-sticking call against his player, Nicklas Backstrom, that led to the opportunity with 1:34 remaining in regulation and the scored tied at two goals apiece.

Trotz strongly suggested embellishment on the part of Blue Jackets forward Nick Foligno and that the league will look at the play. A first citation for embellishment results in a fine for the player. A second citation results in a $2,000 fine.

“If you look at it … he doesn’t really touch him. And then (Foligno’s head) pops up when (Backstrom’s) stick is already on the way down,” Trotz told reporters.

“That’s just a little bit disrespectful to the game. So, the league will look at that and we have fines for that. I’m sure that will be something they took advantage of. I wouldn’t be too happy if I was a referee.”

Backstrom maintained afterward that his stick didn’t make contact with Foligno.

“Last two minutes if you get a penalty that’s not a penalty, that’s tough,” said Backstrom.

Blues hand Predators another disappointing defeat

St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko, of Russia, celebrates after scoring during the second period in Game 2 of an NHL hockey first-round Stanley Cup playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks, Friday, April 15, 2016, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

ST. LOUIS (AP) Kyle Brodziak and Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the third period, lifting the St. Louis Blues over the Nashville Predators 3-1 on Saturday night.

David Perron also scored and Jake Allen made 30 saves, helping the Blues finish 3-0 on their homestand. St. Louis is 8-1-2 at home this season.

Mike Ribeiro scored and Pekka Rinne made 31 saves for Nashville, which finished a three-game trip 1-2.

The Blues snapped a two-game losing streak vs. Nashville but have dominated the Predators at Scottrade Center, winning five straight. Overall, the Blues have won six of eight against the Predators.

Brodziak snapped a 1-1 tie with his second goal in three games 7:28 into the third period. Brodziak put in a rebound off Scottie Upshall‘s shot after the pair entered on a 2-on-1 following P.K. Subban‘s turnover.

Tarasenko ripped a wrist shot past Rinne to make it 3-1 with 8:24 left for his team-high seventh goal of the season. The goal came off a rush following Allen’s save on Mattias Ekholm‘s chance from the slot moments earlier.

Perron put the Blues up 1-0 3:09 into the second period with a backhand rebound off Jay Bouwmeester‘s shot from the point. Perron has a point in each of the last four games.

Ribeiro tied it with a power-play goal 8:59 into the second by pouncing on a puck in the crease that had trickled through Allen after he got a piece of Craig Smith‘s shot. The Blues couldn’t convert on two chances to clear the puck leading to the goal.

James Neal had his six-game goal streak snapped for the Predators.

Blackhawks come storming back to defeat struggling Canucks in OT thriller


It was all going so well for the beleaguered Canucks.

A Loui Eriksson goal? Check.

A (rare) lead? Check.

A (rare) three-goal lead after two periods against the Chicago Blackhawks on home ice? Well, that’s icing on the cake.

And then it all went wrong.

The Blackhawks came roaring back with four answered goals, Marian Hossa scoring the winner in overtime for a 4-3 victory. Jonathan Toews appeared to score the winner earlier in the extra period, but the goal was called back after a review showed Chicago was offside.

The Canucks deserved credit for stifling the Blackhawks, keeping them to only 11 shots on goal through two periods.

Chicago then put it into another gear, with 17 shots on Jacob Markstrom in the final 20 minutes. They scored three times and had chances to win it in regulation, too, because the Canucks were reeling.

This will be a game that got away from the Canucks.

“Getting a point from the Blackhawks is normally a good thing. Not tonight. We should had two,” said Henrik Sedin.

After getting new life in overtime, they were unable to convert on their numerous opportunities, including an Eriksson breakaway that resulted in a great Scott Darling save. Bo Horvat and Markus Granlund had chances, too. Couldn’t score.

It all adds up to another disappointing loss in Vancouver and for its fan base.

There has been speculation for weeks about the future of head coach Willie Desjardins and with three days until their next game, which starts a three-game road trip, this loss — especially with the way it unfolded in the third period — won’t do anything to quell that.

Desjardins said his message to his team after two periods was not to sit back. That plan never materialized.

“We had to go after it and basically keep playing the same way. But we didn’t want to sit back and let them come to us,” he told reporters. “If you look at the period, we didn’t execute it very well, obviously. (The Blackhawks) got a lot of chances.”

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks maintain their lead in the Central Division with eight wins in their last 10 games.

“Guys are saying, we’re coming back, there’s no way we’re losing this one. It’s definitely cool to hear that,” said Blackhawks forward Vince Hinostroza, who had a three-point night, per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.

O’Reilly and the Sabres stun Penguins to end losing streak

Buffalo Sabres' Evander Kane (9) celebrates with teammate Ryan O'Reilly (90) after O'Reilly scored the winning goal during the overtime session of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings, Saturday Dec. 12, 2015 in Buffalo, N.Y. Buffalo won 2-1. (AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Cal O’Reilly scored the lone goal in a shootout, and the Buffalo Sabres snapped a six-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

William Carrier scored his first NHL goal and Sabres goalie Anders Nilsson stopped 46 shots through overtime plus all three shootout attempts he faced.

Buffalo snapped an 0-4-2 skid and ended a nine-game slide against the Penguins. The Sabres had gone 0-8-1 versus Pittsburgh since a 4-2 road win on April 23, 2013.

Sidney Crosby scored for Pittsburgh, which has alternated losses and wins over its past five games since a 9-2-2 start.

O’Reilly’s shootout goal came after he was called up from Buffalo’s AHL affiliate in Rochester earlier in the day.

After Buffalo’s Kyle Okposo and Sam Reinhart were stopped on their shootout attempts, O’Reilly drove in on the right wing, cut to the front of the net and beat Marc-Andre Fleury with a snap shot to the glove side.

Nilsson then sealed the win by stopping the Penguins’ final try, when Kris Letang attempted to beat the goalie through the legs.

Nilsson’s best save came with 2:55 left in overtime, when he kicked out his left pad at the last moment to foil Letang on a breakaway.

Though outshot 18-6 in the first period, the Sabres led 1-0 after capitalizing on one of their few chances.

Penguins forward Matt Cullen misplayed Bryan Rust‘s pass along the left boards in his own zone. The puck went directly to Sabres defenseman Taylor Fedun at the point and he immediately snapped it toward the net, where Carrier deflected it in for his first career goal.

The Penguins took 31 shots before finally beating Nilsson on Crosby’s power-play goal with 14:14 left.

On the faceoff after defenseman Cody Franson was called for interference, Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin started the play by getting a hard shot off from the left circle. Nilsson stopped it, but couldn’t control the rebound, which dribbled into the slot. Chris Kunitz immediately swept the puck to an open Crosby, who snapped a shot inside the right post.

Crosby has essentially owned the Sabres during his career. It was his 15th goal and 50th point in 32 career games against Buffalo.

The goal was also Crosby’s 12th of the season and 350th of his career.

Fleury was particularly sharp 2 minutes into the third period, when he got his glove up to stop Evander Kane‘s shot from the left circle. Fleury then got across to his left to bat down Brian Gionta‘s off-balance shot from the slot.

It was a bounce-back performance for Fleury, who finished with 32 saves through overtime. He had allowed 15 goals in going 1-1-1 in his previous four appearances.

The Sabres improved to 2-4-2 in eight home games, a stretch in which Buffalo has been outscored 18-9.

Home or away, the Sabres haven’t scored more than two goals in regulation in 10 games, since a 3-1 win at Winnipeg on Oct. 30. That also marked the last time Buffalo has held a two-goal lead.

Overtime was a back-and-forth display of scoring opportunities.

Fleury got his right arm up to stop Okposo’s shot from the slot with 1:37 remaining. A half-minute later, Fleury got across to his right in time to stop Reinhart, who was set up alone in front.