James O'Brien

Panthers grab rare win in Washington thanks to Huberdeau, Montoya

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From a possession standpoint, the Washington Capitals looked dominant at times on Tuesday night, even with Alex Ovechkin and Braden Holtby out of the lineup.

The most obvious place you could see the difference was also the most important: the scoreboard.

Jonathan Huberdeau, Jaromir Jagr and Aleksander Barkov provided a showcase for their underrated top line while Al Montoya cleaned up plenty of messes in the Florida Panthers’ 5-2 win against Washington.

The Caps generated a 38-19 shots on goal advantage, yet the Panthers broke their slump in D.C., nabbing their first road win against Washington since Dec. 9, 2010.

The bigger picture is even more impressive for Florida. They’re now on a four-game winning streak, and a brief stumble following their record run now seems an afterthought; they’re an impressive 16-3-1 in their last 20 contests.

In other words, there were times when the Capitals looked the part of a team that’s towering over the rest of the East … but the Panthers countered with an argument for why they’re comfortable atop the Atlantic Division.

Check out the Maple Leafs’ new logo for next season

leafslogos
via Maple Leafs
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The wait is over for anxious fans (of the team and uniform designs), as the Toronto Maple Leafs unveiled the logo they’ll use for their centennial season in 2016-17.

It may be wrong to truly call it new, as Brendan Shanahan points out that it evokes the team’s storied history.

“As an organization, we wanted to get back to our roots, when Conn Smythe first changed the team logo to the Maple Leaf in 1927 … ” Shanahan said.

Take a look and share your thoughts:

leafslogos

Sports Logos.net features the team’s history of logos, if you want to see how this compares to previous looks.

The Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle provides the different logos in one useful tweet:

(Pauses for a few “Does Steven Stamkos approve of the new logo?” jokes …)

A little more from the Leafs:

• The new Maple Leaf has 31 points, a nod to the year 1931 and a defining moment in team history with the opening of Maple Leaf Gardens. The new logo maintains a strong connection to the classic Leafs logo of the past while offering a fresh take on it for the future.

• The new badge contains a total of 17 veins, representing the year the franchise was founded (1917), and includes 13 veins at the top of the crest to commemorate the club’s Stanley Cup Championships.

• The outline, seen in the most recent version of this Maple Leaf from 1963-67, has been removed to create a cleaner, bolder look.

The Maple Leafs will unveil the team’s new uniforms incorporating the logo at the 2016 NHL Draft to be held June 24-25 in Buffalo, New York.

In keeping with past traditions, the Toronto Marlies will also adopt the Maple Leaf’s new mark which will incorporate the historic Marlies crown into the logo.

This is how the Marlies’ version will appear:

Red-hot Crosby could make Pens a flawed (but dangerous) dark horse

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) celebrates a second-period goal with teammates Evgeni Malkin (71) and Kris Letang (58) during during the team's NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
AP
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There’s no denying it: the Pittsburgh Penguins are far from a sure bet to make the playoffs.

It just so happens that they’re starting to look like a team that could be scary if they do make it.

It’s one thing to be a squad with obvious issues when you’re sitting at the top of the league’s standings, setting expectations oh-so high. Playing the relative underdog might just be the perfect thing for this Penguins team, instead.

Tuesday was a prime example of how they can be a flawed-yet-dangerous dark horse. Sidney Crosby generated a hat trick (plus an assist) in a track meet of a game as the Penguins edged the Ottawa Senators by a score of 6-5.

Crosby’s looking like Crosby, although he’s scoring goals on an especially sizzling pace.

He’s the author of an eight-game point streak, and the league points out that he’s scored at least one goal in his last eight home games.

This marks four straight wins for the Penguins, by the way.

When you consider Kris Letang‘s status as a player of the month and how dominant Evgeni Malkin looked at the All-Star Game alone, the Penguins suddenly seem like the team many of us expected.

Now just imagine if they improve in their own end.

(Other teams would rather not.)

Video: Bjugstad’s sweet no-look dish to Barkov

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Blame it on Braden Holtby and Alex Ovechkin being out of the lineup if you’d like, but the bottom line is that the Florida Panthers are silencing the Washington Capitals and their crowd so far on Tuesday.

As of this writing, the Panthers are up 3-0.

Al Montoya‘s a big reason why so far, yet there are also flourishes of brilliant offense, especially seen in this 5-on-3 goal where Nick Bjugstad sends a sweet pass to Aleksander Barkov for a goal.

Watch it in the video above.

It’s the sort of thing that reminds you that the best may be yet to come for the Panthers.

Jury awards Semyon Varlamov $126K in damages in civil suit

Semyon Varlamov
AP
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The Denver Post and other outlets report that the jury sided with Semyon Varlamov in a civil case stemming from domestic abuse charges, awarding the Colorado Avalanche goalie $126K in damages.

Varlamov’s lawyers label claims made by his ex-girlfriend Evgeniya Vavrinyuk as “groundless and completely unsupported.”

His lawyers provided the following release.

For far more detail on the situation and the legal parameters, read the Denver Post article.

BSN Avalanche goes through some more of the ins and outs of the case, as well:

Aside from games missed, it doesn’t appear as if there will be additional on-ice ramifications for Varlamov.

(Mile High Hockey provides even more perspective here.)