Cam Tucker

Blues hold on to beat Blackhawks, push defending champs to brink of elimination

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The defending Stanley Cup champions are one defeat away from having their title defense come to an end in the opening round.

The Chicago Blackhawks now trail the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in their best-of-seven series, following a 4-3 loss on home ice in Game 4 on Tuesday. Tensions between these Central Division rivals have been growing throughout this series and there were a few eruptions over the course of this game.

First, it was Chicago goalie Corey Crawford going after Blues forward Robby Fabbri after a collision in the crease, causing a massive melee in the corner. The referees decided the Blackhawks should get the power play out of it and Chicago took the lead on a Duncan Keith goal with the ensuing advantage.

The controversy subsided, however, as the Blues tied the game before the end of the middle period. Vladimir Tarasenko continued adding to his list of impressive playoff performances, scoring twice, including the tying goal on a St. Louis power play late in the second.

The Blues then opened up a two-goal lead less than five minutes into the third period. Jaden Schwartz capitalized on the power play and Alexander Steen scored 3:10 later.

Despite getting to within a goal, and having a St. Louis empty-net goal called back after it was determined the play was offside, the Blackhawks couldn’t score the equalizer in the third period.

When the clock ran out, another gathering occurred with Andrew Shaw in the midst of it. A total of 11 game misconducts were handed out at the end, as per NHL.com.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Crawford incident was just the start, as the game devolved into post-whistle scrums and facewashes and shoving matches. In the ugliest moment, Shaw, after taking his penalty for pushing Jay Bouwmeester in front of the goal, appeared to yell a homophobic slur from the penalty box.

Shaw, who flashed both middle fingers on his way to the box, neither denied nor admitted saying it.

“Emotions were high, I don’t know what I said,” Shaw said. “Obviously, I was upset with the call.”

Andersen and the Ducks shut out Predators to avoid facing elimination

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What home ice advantage?

All three games so far between the Anaheim Ducks and Nashville Predators have gone to the visiting team.

At the risk of falling behind 3-0 in this opening-round series, the Ducks regrouped with a 3-0 victory courtesy a 27-save shutout from Frederik Andersen. Nashville still leads 2-1 and can push Anaheim to the brink of elimination with a win on home ice in Game 4 on Thursday.

After losing the opening two games of this series, Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau opted to make a switch with his goaltenders, taking John Gibson out after consecutive losses and going with Andersen as the series shifted to Nashville.

Not only did the Predators lose this game, but forward Craig Smith left with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. During the regular season, Smith finished third in Nashville with 21 goals.

From The Tennessean:

Smith’s line, which also includes Filip Forsberg and Mike Ribeiro, started Tuesday’s game at Bridgestone Arena, but once Smith returned to the bench after a 24-second shift, he didn’t make another appearance until about seven minutes later, taking a 41-second shift before not returning.

 

Video: Crawford loses it on Fabbri, brawl ensues, Blackhawks get the power play

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Tempers boiled over during the second period of Game 4 between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford lost it, going after Blues rookie Robby Fabbri after a collision in the crease and inciting a brawl in the corner.

Now, despite the fact Crawford went after Fabbri, it was Chicago that came out of this with a power play, even though the closest official didn’t initially raise his arm to signal a delayed penalty on Fabbri.

Fabbri, who appeared to get bumped on the play by Jonathan Toews, was given a penalty for goalie interference, while the Blues’ Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo and the Blackhawks’ Crawford and Andrew Ladd were given roughing minors for the brouhaha.

The controversy didn’t end there. The Blackhawks scored on the ensuing power play to take a 2-1 lead.

The two teams entered the second intermission tied 2-2, courtesy this tying goal from Vladimir Tarasenko.

 

Video: Letang catches Stalberg with vicious slash to the face

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Could Kris Letang be hearing from the NHL for a vicious slash on New York Rangers winger Viktor Stalberg?

The incident occurred during the third period of Tuesday’s Game 3 between the Penguins and Rangers.

Pressured along the end boards, Letang played the puck, looked up and then followed through with his stick, whacking Stalberg right around the chin. There was no call on the play, but television cameras caught the incident and ran a slow-motion replay of the slash.

The Penguins grabbed a 2-1 series lead with a 3-1 victory at Madison Square Garden. Letang scored into the empty net to put Pittsburgh up by two goals in the final seconds of the third period.

Wild goalie Dubnyk sounds off on controversial call

Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40 blocks a shot during the first period in Game 2 in the first round of the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs against the Dallas Stars Saturday, April 16, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk is perplexed.

The Wild lost 2-1 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday, falling behind 2-0 in this first-round series. Dubnyk’s criticism seemed directed at the video review process, after a call of ‘no goal’ on the ice was overturned following a review, giving Dallas a 1-0 lead on a strange Antoine Roussel goal in the second period.

The puck hit off Roussel’s skate behind the net, onto the back of Dubnyk and eventually into the net. The net was dislodged and there was a question about whether there was a distinct kicking motion from Roussel.

Yet, after a review, the original call was overturned.

“It’s mind-boggling the outcome of that play in the playoffs,” said Dubnyk, as per the Pioneer Press.

“It’s not the ref’s fault. He waved it off. You tell me how they come up with conclusive evidence to overturn the call? It’s crazy. The ref made the right call on the ice. Somehow they have enough to overturn it in Toronto.”