James O'Brien

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 5:  Zack Smith #15 of the Ottawa Senators battles during NHL game action against the Toronto Maple Leafs April 5, 2015 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Graig Abel/NHLI via Getty Images)
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Should Zack Smith’s penalty shot goal have counted?

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The Ottawa Senators ended the San Jose Sharks’ five-game winning streak on Monday, but not without some controversy.

San Jose roared back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead. Zack Smith made a great play to gain a penalty shot opportunity, and put it home for Ottawa … yet there’s plenty of debate regarding whether Smith’s goal should count.

It did, however, and the Senators managed a 4-3 shootout win. This is significant not just in ending the Sharks’ run, as Ottawa now has 50 points, as many as last wild card team Montreal (ahead of the Sens based on tie-breakers).

Ottawa winning makes that Smith goal a little more controversial (let’s face it, if San Jose won this situation would fade a lot quicker).

Check out the goal for yourself:

And here’s the explanation:

Some thought it was a good goal; others weren’t so convinced.

Smith told TSN that he believes it was a good goal, although if he had a chance to do it over, he wouldn’t have made it “that close.”

While that Smith goal was debatable, there’s no denying the beauty of this one:

Yikes, Mike Hoffman went sprawling into Sharks’ net (Video)

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Losing Mike Hoffman could be a serious problem for the Ottawa Senators, but that seems like a real possibility after his fall tonight.

Check it out in the video above; Hoffman goes sprawling into the San Jose Sharks’ net, his helmet flying off in the resulting collision.

Another wrinkle that adds some concern is his injury history:

As of this writing, the Senators only say that he won’t return to the game.

We’ve already seen the Edmonton Oilers lose Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to a long-term injury tonight, so this could be a costly evening despite a fairly light schedule.

Stastny’s four-point night powers Blues past Pens

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In a way, Paul Stastny‘s trajectory parallels that of his team, the St. Louis Blues: pretty good, yet at times wildly disappointing.

Both looked pretty promising on Monday, however, as Stastny scored four points to help St. Louis beat the Pittsburgh Penguins by a score of 5-2.

Stastny was involved in all three of the Blues’ third period goals as St. Louis overwhelmed Pittsburgh to turn a 2-2 tie into a 5-2 victory.

It’s plausible that the Penguins ran out of gas as they were closing off a back-to-back set. The Penguins generated a 31-17 shots on goal advantage through the first 40 minutes, yet Brian Elliott‘s strong work helped keep it 2-2 going into the second intermission.

(No one could stop Evgeni Malkin or Vladimir Tarasenko on their goals, mind you.)

After that, the Blues pulled away, with an empty-netter inflating the margin of victory just a bit.

What’s next

Following a five-game losing streak, the Blues are now winners of four of their last five games.

Does this mean they’ve turned the corner? Perhaps we’ll get a better idea based on how St. Louis handles a challenging four-game road trip.

Meanwhile, the Penguins remain a work in progress, even if their hard work is showing more often with Mike Sullivan behind the bench.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out long-term with broken hand

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Update: The Edmonton Oilers announced that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out long-term with a broken hand. Ouch, in more ways than one.

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For a while, it looked like Monday would be a great night for the Edmonton Oilers.

Taylor Hall broke his scoring slump with two goals (and maybe counting). The Oilers went off to a 2-0 lead against the Florida Panthers and Matt Hendricks answered the bell for his hit on Aaron Ekblad.

The Oilers just won 4-2, but most of the enjoyment from that win is washed away amid concerns regarding the health of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.

He won’t return to tonight’s game after blocking a shot in the video above.

It must be quite frustrating for “RNH” to suffer another significant injury. As lucky as the Oilers can be with draft picks, those players sure seem to be unlucky health-wise.

Zbynek Michalek’s contribution to hockey toughness

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You probably know the drill by now: hockey players are tough.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Zbynek Michalek added the latest entry in the “returning after being bloodied by an errant puck” chapter/folder/whatever by bouncing back despite being bloodied during tonight’s game against Buffalo.

That scary scene is depicted in the video above.

Here’s what his face looks like now:

Just another day at the office.