Cam Tucker

Getty

The stars shine as Penguins defeat Oilers in a thriller

6 Comments

Sidney Crosby versus Connor McDavid, Round Two, turned out to be a thriller between the Penguins and Oilers.

After a slow start for the home team, getting outshot 14-8 and trailing 2-0 after Pittsburgh goals from Nick Bonino and Evgeni Malkin, his 32nd of the season, the Oilers battled back to eventually tie the game on a power play goal from McDavid, forcing an edge-of-your-seat three-on-three overtime session.

Both teams had their chances.

With Crosby on the ice, McDavid ended up with a breakaway to win the game but lost control of the puck after getting tangled up with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury as Edmonton’s star tried to stop suddenly and move to his forehand. Fleury made another pad save on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, keeping his team in it.

The stars came out once again in the shootout. Let’s be honest: It can be a buzzkill to go from the chaotic pace of three-on-three overtime to the slower and systematic process of the shootout. But then again, this particular occasion showcased the elite talent on both teams. Crosby and McDavid each scored, before Phil Kessel absolutely ripped a wrist shot by Cam Talbot and off the back bar for the winning goal in a 3-2 victory.

(Watch the video below: On the Kessel shot, it’s like you can’t even see the puck until it finally slows down after hitting the back bar.)

“That was a great hockey game with chances both ways,” said McDavid.

“To say it’s a normal game … would be lying. [Crosby is] somebody I’ve looked up to my whole life and to play against him is fun,” McDavid continued.

The Penguins won their fourth in a row to move within three points of the Washington Capitals for first place in the Metropolitan Division.

For the Oilers, they still hold on to third in the Pacific Division, one point back of Anaheim.

But the red-hot Calgary Flames — yeah, that was intended — are right there, one point back of Edmonton thanks to eight consecutive wins, which only adds further intrigue to the battle for second and third in that division.

The Blues have started up another winning streak … after a rare Joel Edmundson goal

Getty

Talk about an unlikely hero.

With two goals in 119 games for his NHL career, you probably didn’t have Joel Edmundson scoring for the St. Louis Blues against the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. But with 19 seconds remaining in regulation, the 23-year-old defenseman buried the decisive goal, and the second of his season, in a 4-3 win.

An unlikely hero with terrific timing.

That’s another important win for the Blues, too. It’s their third in a row — after a stretch of five straight losses — and it puts them three points ahead of the L.A. Kings for the final wild card spot in the Western Conference.

While they got the win, the Blues played the entire third period without defenseman Colton Parayko, who left the game with an apparent injury.

For Ducks fans, there may have been some anxious moments when Scottie Upshall made contact with goalie John Gibson behind the net on the forecheck. Slow motion replays show Upshall’s right shoulder made contact with the head of Gibson, sending him to the ice and causing a scrum.

Upshall received a minor penalty for goalie interference, while Gibson remained in the game for Anaheim.

Blue Jackets close in on Capitals after franchise record-tying win

Getty
5 Comments

The Columbus Blue Jackets got one step closer to franchise history on Friday.

Sergei Bobrovsky, in a bid for a fourth consecutive game without allowing a goal, came close but ultimately couldn’t set a new mark for the longest shutout streak in franchise history.

Evan Rodrigues ended Bobrovsky’s shutout streak at just over 182 minutes, opening the scoring for the Buffalo Sabres before the Blue Jackets came back and eventually won 4-3. While Bobrovsky’s shot at club history was spoiled early, the Blue Jackets saw another new record set.

Zach Werenski recorded an assist in the first period, giving him 40 points, which sets the new club record for most points in a single season by a rookie. The achievement is all the more impressive because he’s a defenseman, known to be a difficult position for young players in the NHL, and won’t turn 20 years old until July.

His play quickly matched the high expectations placed upon him by management, and he’s continued to be productive since then. If it wasn’t for the fact his freshman class includes stars like Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Mitch Marner, you could probably pencil Werenski in as a potential Calder Trophy favorite.

Tonight’s result gives Columbus its 43rd victory — which ties the franchise record set in 2013-14, per the Blue Jackets. They also tied the franchise record for most home victories in a single season. And there is still 16 games remaining on their schedule.

More importantly, the Blue Jackets’ recent three-game winning streak, and seven wins in their last 10 games, has kept them in the race for the Metropolitan Division. Granted, they’ve had some help with the Capitals having lost two in a row, and they visit the L.A. Kings and Anaheim Ducks in a back-to-back this weekend. Those are never easy. Columbus is now just three points back of Washington, and both teams are even at 66 games played. They also play each other twice down the stretch.

The Blue Jackets play the Sabres again tomorrow. They can make franchise history for most wins in a single season. And it’s only the middle of March.

Hockey Hall of Fame unveils ‘mountain of a man’ Gordie Howe statue

Getty
1 Comment

TORONTO (AP) Gordie Howe is watching over the Hockey Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame unveiled a nearly 8-foot statue of the late Detroit Red Wings star Friday. Howe’s sons, Mark and Marty, participated in the ceremony.

“When I was young I’d see all these kids come up to Gordie Howe and he looked like this mountain of a man,” said Mark Howe, a Hall of Fame inductee in 2011. “Now people from of all walks of life are going to come here and see he was truly a mountain of a man.

“For Dad to be honored this way, he would never say it but, yeah, he deserved it. I think the Hall has done a wonderful thing and Marty and I are glad to be here and try to continue the legacy of Gordie Howe.”

Howe died in June at 88.

The Hall of Fame also opened the NHL Centennial Exhibition, which pays tribute to the league’s top players and moments from 1917 to 2017. Some featured items include Jacques Plante’s first goalie mask, Howe’s 1960 Hart Trophy plaque, Bobby Orr’s knee brace, the stick and equipment Wayne Gretzky wore when he scored his 802nd career goal and the 1917 minute book that defined the birth of the NHL.

Related: Who’s No. 1? Gretzky, Lemieux and Orr say it’s Gordie Howe

Video: Tempers flare as Abdelkader crushes Campbell with high hit

7 Comments

Things got heated between the Detroit Red Wings and Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

Justin Abdelkader leveled Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell with a high hit in the corner, leading Trevor van Riemsdyk to immediately proceed toward Abdelkader, as the two dropped the gloves.

Abdelkader was initially called for charging, before his fighting major was tacked on. van Riemsdyk was given a fighting major, an instigating minor and a misconduct penalty, totaling 17 penalty minutes for him.

Now, as for the hit on Campbell, it certainly appeared high but resulted in only the minor penalty. Campbell also remained in the game.