Mike Smith is known for his ability to play the puck as a goaltender. On Saturday, well, that backfired.
Smith’s clearing attempt from behind his own net up the middle hit off the backside of Pittsburgh Penguins forward Brandon Sutter and in for a Pittsburgh goal. That got the Penguins on the board, after they trailed Smith and the Arizona Coyotes following the first period.
In that opening 20 minutes, the Penguins managed three shots on goal. They took over after that.
In the end, the Penguins recorded a 3-1 victory, snapping a four-game losing streak that included a pair of shutout losses.
Earlier this month, Ondrej Pavelec had to eventually explain himself for allowing a goal from center ice in a one-goal loss to the St. Louis Blues.
It could’ve been a disastrous defining moment in the Winnipeg Jets season, as they look to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since relocating to that hockey-mad market. Since March 10, and with the exception of one game, the Jets have been able to turn it around.
So, too, has the goalie Pavelec, who has endured ups and downs this season but has won each of his last four starts. He’s allowed four goals in that span, with 113 saves in a combined 117 shots. Facing the Washington Capitals on Saturday, he recorded a 28-save shutout, as the Jets picked up a crucial 3-0 victory on home ice.
“Goalie gets hot, plays well,” Capitals’ forward Tom Wilson told the Washington Post. “We’re obviously at the raw end of that.”
The Jets continue to hold the final Wild Card spot in the West.
“Of course it’s nice,” said Pavelec, as per the Winnipeg Free Press.
“I would lie if I said it’s not. But I’ve been here for four years, I know how things go. I stay in the middle, don’t get too high. This is what I’m trying to do. It’s nice, but tomorrow or the next game could be a different story. I know how things work here. It’s nice to hear that and the fans have been unbelievable all year long. I enjoy it.”
The Philadelphia Flyers and Edmonton Oilers, two teams outside the playoff picture, apparently weren’t too caught up on defensive details Saturday.
The Flyers, with Ray Emery in net for a surprise start, jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the first period, only to cough it up. The Oilers allowed three straight goals after grabbing an early lead. It was back-and-forth with plenty of chances.
And both teams were able to capitalize off odd-man rushes, taking advantage of the opposing team’s mistakes.
First, Jordan Eberle’s goal, his 20th of the season, which gave Edmonton a 4-3 lead early in the second period. Nice pass from Benoit Pouliot, and even better finish.
Now, here’s a look at a sweet passing play from unlikely candidates Ryan White and Zac Rinaldo. White finishes the playoff, giving Philadelphia a 3-1 lead late in the first period.
With 10 games remaining in their schedule, the San Jose Sharks are running out of time to make a miracle run for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
They now sit eight points back of the Winnipeg Jets for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. Not only are they running out of games, there are three other teams ahead of them, one of which is the L.A. Kings.
On Saturday, the Sharks fired 29 shots at Montreal Canadiens star goalie Carey Price, but failed to score. The result was a 2-0 loss. Price has now recorded a single-season career best nine shutouts this season, as well as his 40th win.
He has shutouts in back-to-back games. No. 9 on the season was another massive blow to the Sharks’ playoff hopes.
“Our guys are competing. They’re battling. They are doing the right things to give ourselves a chance to win. It’s all we can ask of them right now. … But, we’re beyond growth right now. It’s all about wins,” said head coach Todd McLellan, as per CSN Bay Area.
L.A. Kings forward Tyler Toffoli could be looking at supplemental discipline after he was ejected from Saturday’s game against the Vancouver Canucks for a dangerous hit from behind on Alex Burrows.
Toffoli was assessed a major penalty for boarding and a game misconduct. The Canucks scored on the ensuing five-on-three and went on to a crucial victory over the Kings to maintain their second-place standing in the Pacific Division.
“Yeah, it sucks,” said Toffoli, as per the L.A. Times. “I wish it didn’t happen. I wish we won the game. It feels like it’s on my shoulders right now and it’s not a good feeling.”
“I haven’t seen the replay,” he continued. “I don’t really know what happened. It all happened pretty quickly. I haven’t seen anything yet. I don’t really remember what happened.”
According to Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet, the league will look into the incident. The NHL Department of Player Safety had yet to announce if there would be a hearing.
“The good news for the Kings player is Burrows returned to the game, which usually calms down any discussion about a suspension,” Friedman said. “The NHL will review this hit, but because it’s a busy day they won’t decide if there’s any kind of hearing until after tonight’s games are over.”