James O'Brien

Video: Marc Staal hits Alex Ovechkin below the belt

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Now, this isn’t very nice.

Considering the long recent history of New York Rangers – Washington Capitals playoff series, Marc Staal and Alex Ovechkin probably aren’t huge fans of each other. At least when they actually get on the ice.

Maybe that explains the, um, transgression above?

We don’t know how if that was more of a light tap or a severe blow, but either way, it seems fair to share this bit of “low-sticking.”

Do you think a fine might come Staal’s way?

Update: Ovechkin got a measure of revenge with a nice goal, but the Rangers ended up winning 5-2.

WATCH LIVE: Los Angeles Kings at St. Louis Blues

St. Louis Blues v Los Angeles Kings
AP

Despite dealing with injuries that might cause other teams to fall apart, the St. Louis Blues keep finding ways to win.

The Los Angeles Kings dealt with their own bumps in the road – albeit maybe more about their own mistakes – with an early slump, but now they’re roaring their way back to relevance.

With that, the stage is set for an interesting test of two of the West’s best teams, even if the Kings own a significant edge in all ways playoffs. You can watch the game on NBCSN and also stream it via the link below.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Video: Who did it better — Bishop or Johnson?

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If an earlier debate regarding backhanded passes wasn’t enough for you, PHT’s own Mike Halford and Jason Brough also mixed it up on two jaw-dropping saves.

In one corner: You have Ben Bishop‘s desperate stick save on a wide-open Matt Duchene, which was captured pretty nicely by the Associated Press photo that is this post’s main image.

On the other hand: There’s Chad Johnson‘s equally desperate, sprawling stop, which helped the Buffalo Sabres secure an overtime win against the Philadelphia Flyers.

So, who do you pick?

Desperately needed: Ducks grab second win of 2015-16

Chris Stewart
AP
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It wasn’t always pretty, but the Anaheim Ducks will absolutely, positively take it.

You can pick Sunday’s 4-2 win against the Nashville Predators in a number of ways.

The Predators were on the back end of a back-to-back set while Anaheim hadn’t played since Thursday.

Frederik Andersen needed to make 40 saves to secure the win, and Anaheim suffered another curiously quiet third period.

You know what? Those are all concerns for another night, even if Bruce Boudreau may air a misgiving or two after this game.

For now, most Ducks fans – and probably plenty members of the organization – will just breathe a sigh of relief.

This marks the common Stanley Cup favorite’s second win of the season, boosting them to 2-7-2 (while Nashville, in contrast, falls to 7-2-2).

This also ends a five-game losing streak that began with a 5-1 drubbing at the hands of the Predators.

More than anything else, we’ll now see if Anaheim’s organizational patience might pay off.

Tonight’s game began a glorious opportunity, as they’ll play two more home games, skip out to San Jose on Nov. 7 and then play three more in Anaheim.

That’s six of seven games at home, a stretch that might just help Boudreau & Co. to release some of the tension in the air after a shockingly cold opening.

If nothing else, they got off to the start they needed, and they’ll get to rest up with their next game coming against the Panthers on Wednesday.

Note: In less-ideal Ducks news, Jiri Sekac suffered a lower-body injury and did not return.

Scrappy Sabres earn Bylsma’s praise (and so does Ullmark)

Dan Bylsma
AP
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A season after “tanking,” the Buffalo Sabres are soldering on.

They’re not just stacking up moral victories in Dan Bylsma’s first season in Buffalo, either. By beating the John Tavares-less New York Islanders 2-1 on Sunday, they’ve now won two in a row and three of their last four.

(They also played some excellent hockey in that loss, firing 53 shots against Bylsma’s former team, the Pittsburgh Penguins.)

Those efforts haven’t slipped by Bylsma, who praised his team for being feisty and his current goalie – Linus Ullmark – for being calm.

The Buffalo News’ Mike Harrington believes that Ullmark is seizing an opportunity with Robin Lehner on the shelf.

For the Islanders, it’s a tough weekend – just a single standings point in losses to the Sabres and New Jersey Devils, teams that at least came into this season with low expectations – and a reminder of just how important Tavares can be.

Then again, the way Buffalo’s been playing, maybe the outcome would have been the same anyway.