For the second time in as many games, an NHL official has been hurt during a game in Calgary.
Unlike the Dennis Wideman-Don Henderson situation, this latest incident is likely to be without controversy.
On Wednesday, in a game between the Calgary Flames and visiting Carolina Hurricanes, veteran referee Mike Leggo was accidentally hit in the face with a puck from a clearing attempt late in the first period.
Leggo appeared to be cut on the left side of his face. But he did return to the game.
In terms of offence, this has been a down year for Tyler Johnson of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
A dynamic offensive threat in each of the last two seasons, but especially in 2014-15 when he helped the Bolts to the Stanley Cup Final, Johnson’s production has declined this season with five goals and 16 points prior to Wednesday’s game with Detroit.
But perhaps he can use his performance against the Red Wings as a boost for the stretch drive.
In just over 16 minutes of ice time, Johnson scored once — the winner in the second period — and had a team-best five shots on goal as the Lightning defeated Detroit by a final score of 3-1.
It was just over a month ago that Johnson said his wrist was finally fully healed after it was broken during the Stanley Cup Final against Chicago last June.
With the win, the Lightning move into sole possession of second in the Atlantic Division, five points back of the once again red-hot Florida Panthers, winners of four straight.
The collapse continues.
It was back in October the Montreal Canadiens were going for a record-breaking start to their season, before eventually settling for a 9-1-0 record after 10 games. That seems so long ago now. They’ve been in a free-fall for months, going from the top of the Atlantic Division to well out of a Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
They’re five points back of Pittsburgh for that spot. They would also have to leapfrog five teams to qualify for the playoffs, so yes, they’re in a difficult spot.
The Habs resumed their schedule out of the break with a loss to Philadelphia on Tuesday. How did they fare the following night against the Buffalo Sabres? They took a lead into the third period, before giving up three unanswered goals in the final 13 minutes in a 4-2 loss to Buffalo.
It’s gotten this bad:
That’s four losses in a row for Montreal, a team that is without its back bone — injured goalie Carey Price — and at last check, the recovery process was going “slower than expected.” That’s seven straight games the Habs have been held to two goals or less in regulation.
(They did hit the three-mark versus Toronto back on Jan. 23, but that third goal was from the shootout.)
Tempers flared briefly between Red Wings forward Gustav Nyquist and Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov during the second period of Wednesday’s game.
Nyquist was bumped into Bolts goalie Ben Bishop, before knocking him over entirely with a follow through on the right arm as they both felt to the ice.
That’s when Nesterov stepped in, grabbing Nyquist with his left arm before officials intervened.
A quick glance at the NHL standings illustrates how tight the playoff race is in this league of parity.
Eight teams from each conference — three from each division, plus two wild card teams in each conference — qualify for the Stanley Cup tournament under the current alignment. But could a possible change or addition to the playoff format be on the way?
Hockey insider Bob McKenzie explained on NBCSN that, given how difficult it is to actually make the playoffs, 16 of 30 general managers recently polled would be in favor of a playoff play-in game. Two didn’t respond, one was “undecided” and 11 said ‘No.’
However, five of those 11 GMs who weren’t in favor of a playoff play-in game — similar to baseball — actually wanted a best-of-three series for all four of the Wild Card positions, according to McKenzie.