Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno left Friday’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes in the third period and did not return after being on the receiving end of a Brad Malone hit that Foligno’s teammate, Brandon Dubinsky, has taken issue with.
Foligno had just made a pass inside the Carolina zone off the rush, when he was hit by Malone.
Foligno remained down on the ice for a few minutes as he was tended to by a member of the Blue Jackets’ training staff. He did manage to skate off mostly under his own power.
There was no call on the play.
Adding insult to injury, the Blue Jackets lost the game by a final score of 4-1.
It didn’t take long for Jonathan Drouin to make an instant impact for the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch on Friday.
And he did so with reportedly plenty of scouts in attendance and speculation swirling after his request to be traded out of Tampa Bay became public on Sunday.
The 20-year-old Drouin, selected third overall by the Lightning in the 2013 draft and reassigned to Syracuse last weekend, scored twice for the Crunch in the first period — the goals coming just over seven minutes apart — against the Albany Devils.
He finished the game with a team-high five shots on goal.
Both goals were beauties, too.
Using his speed, he split the Albany defense to gain a breakaway, snapping a shot low, stick side on Yann Danis for his first goal. He then knocked down a pass and deked to the backhand, beating Danis once again later in the period.
Here’s goal No. 1:
Here’s goal No. 2:
Welcome to the Nashville Predators, Ryan Johansen.
Making his debut for the Predators on Friday, following a blockbuster trade from Columbus earlier this week, Johansen scored on his first shot on goal, beating Colorado goalie Semyon Varlamov with a wrist shot from a difficult angle on the power play.
It didn’t take a long time to make an impact. First shot, first goal, which came 2:35 into the game.
It’s possible that by the time the weekend is over, Alex Ovechkin could hit another career milestone — 500 NHL goals.
The Washington Capitals star, now 30 years old, is sitting on 497 goals. The Capitals play the New York Rangers on Saturday, and, as Dan Rosen of NHL.com pointed out, there is the chance Ovechkin could hit 500 in what would be his 800th regular season game. He would need a hat trick, of course. But it’s possible.
If he doesn’t get there Saturday, he can achieve that mark the following day against the Ottawa Senators.
Ovechkin also would become the first Russian-born player to score 500 goals in the NHL. He became the leading scorer among Russian-born NHL players earlier this season, when he passed Sergei Fedorov by scoring his 484th goal on Nov. 19.
“I think the Russian one got a lot of play, when he passed Fedorov, and I think he was more nervous on that one than he is now,” Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s going to score a lot more than 500 goals, I’m pretty sure on that. It’s a big milestone. I think he’s got other milestones that he wants to achieve as well, but 500 will be nice.”
But one of his best — one of those efforts that could make fans jump out of their seats — came against the then Phoenix Coyotes, coach at the time by none other than Wayne Gretzky.
And as Ovechkin approaches this milestone, this goal is certainly worth another look.
Emerson Etem has been a scorer in the past, with the Medicine Hat Tigers in junior, and a solid point producer in the American Hockey League as well.
Canucks’ general manager Jim Benning is hoping that same speed and skill Etem has shown in previous years — and at times in the NHL — can translate into a much needed offensive threat in Vancouver.
The Canucks acquired Etem from the New York Rangers on Friday in exchange for Nicklas Jensen, a former first-round pick that saw more and more prospects in Vancouver’s system surpass him over the last two years.
In 2011-12, Etem scored 61 goals and 107 points in 65 games for the Tigers after he had been taken late in the first round of the 2010 draft by the Anaheim Ducks.
In his second full season in the AHL, Etem produced at better than a point-per-game rate. He hasn’t come close to producing those same lofty numbers in the NHL — in 131 career games and he was without a goal in 19 games in New York prior to the deal — but Benning clearly sees potential for that to change with the Canucks.
“He’s a guy that is going to bring us speed and he’s got strength to get to the net,” Benning told TSN 1040 on Friday.
“He’s proven he can score in the past and so I expect him, when he comes in here and gets his confidence, to be a scorer for us.”
Benning believed a fresh start could also benefit Jensen, who opened eyes for at least a couple of weeks with three goals and six points in 17 games with the Canucks on a recall in 2013-14. He had been playing for the AHL’s Utica Comets and will stay in the minors — for now, anyway.
Meanwhile, Canucks speedy forward Jannik Hansen, who suffered an injury against the Carolina Hurricanes on Wednesday, has been put on injured reserve, as per the team’s website.