James O'Brien

Ryan Callahan, Victor Hedman

Lightning clinch playoff berth, but did they lose Hedman?


The Tampa Bay Lightning earned a big win on Monday, yet in an increasingly disturbing trend, the biggest news might be a troubling injury.

By beating the Montreal Canadiens 5-3, the Lightning clinched a playoff berth for the eighth time in franchise history. They also swept the 2014-15 season series against the Habs in the process.

That would be cause for celebration … if there wasn’t concern about a possible injury to Norris-level defenseman Victor Hedman. Hedman only skated one shift in the third period, so we’ll need to wait and see if there any updates.

It may not be clear how injured Hedman is until Tuesday or later:

If it isn’t clear enough that the Lightning’s defense is under fire, consider this:

Maybe the Lightning should dress the rest of their best players in bubble wrap during the final two weeks (or so) of the regular season.

Hubris or smart business? Bruins to start selling playoff tickets Friday

Detroit Red Wings v Boston Bruins

Fearing the jinx isn’t a trait of every sports fan, yet it’s present in many minds. You just don’t do things like announcing a championship parade route before the Fat Lady Sings.

The nail-biting subsection of Boston Bruins fans probably aren’t too happy that the team announced that first-round playoff tickets will go on sale on Friday, then.

Putting playoff tickets on sale might just be a matter of good business, yet some will see it as a sign of hubris.

This weekend definitely opened the door for a little overconfidence, after all. Just considering Sunday alone: the Bruins’ playoff odds jumped up almost 20 percent to 72.7 percent while the Ottawa Senators’ chances plummeted by almost 30 to 25.3 percent, according to Sports Club Stats. It’s the kind of swing that would have bolder fans puffing out their chests a bit.

Anxious Bruins fans should at least feel like they have company. TSN’s Steve Lloyd made a reference to Ottawa’s concerns about a Sens Mile celebration jinxing the team when he heard about Boston’s upcoming ticket drive.

(More on that here and here.)

Does any of it really matter, though? Well, it probably depends upon whom you ask.

Video: Your much-needed Engblom injury update

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It’s probably fair to say that the “between the glass” gig is the most dangerous hockey job off the ice.

NBCSN’s own Brian Engblom showed why on Sunday, as a deflected puck hit him in the forehead, causing him to get nine stitches. A day later, it sounds like the former NHL defenseman is shaking off that painful incident, and we can take the “day-to-day” label off of him:

It’s nice of Sidney Crosby to show some concern for Engblom, isn’t it?

WATCH LIVE: Kings at Blackhawks

Chicago Blackhawks v Los Angeles Kings

If you ignore history and just look at modern matches, Chicago Blackhawks vs. Los Angeles Kings may just be the NHL’s golden standard, at least at the moment.

Under most circumstances, we think of their battles in terms of conference final clashes. Tonight may present a different wrinkle, however: can Chicago thwart the Kings early by greatly damaging Los Angeles’ postseason hopes? (The ‘Hawks did something similar to the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday, after all.)

Either way, it should be a fantastic game. You can watch on NBCSN and/or stream it via NBC Sports Live Extra.


For more, check out this preview.

Quick healer: Paquette’s playing for Lightning

Cedric Paquette

Just two days ago, Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette suffered a fall that brought back unsettling memories of Steven Stamkos’ ruinous crash. Despite that scary scene, Paquette’s in the starting lineup against the Montreal Canadiens tonight.

If you cannot see that Tweet, note that Paquette is skating with Ryan Callahan and Jonathan Drouin, at least to start things off.

It’s quite the turnaround by Paquette. Feel free to file this under “Why hockey players are tough.”

Tampa Bay made an adjustment with Paquette back.