Jason Brough

Flyers condemn fans who threw bracelets

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia Flyers have condemned the fans who threw promotional bracelets on the ice during a playoff game against the Washington Capitals.

The Flyers also say there were never any plans to issue bracelets again before Game 4 on Wednesday night.

The wristbands were used as part of a pregame lights show. Fans started tossing them onto the ice in the third period as Washington turned the game into a rout, eventually winning 6-1 to take a 3-0 series lead.

Flyers public address announcer Lou Nolan demanded fans “show some class” and warned the Flyers would be hit with a penalty if they kept littering the ice with bracelets and other garbage.

Sure enough, the wristbands kept coming, and the Flyers were whistled for a bench minor for delay of game. Nolan said, “way to go,” and the fans cheered as if they were proud of the penalty.

Team officials say the behavior “cannot be condoned or tolerated.”

Doughty on Sharks: ‘You know they’re thinking a little bit about it’

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In 2014, after San Jose failed to complete the sweep of Los Angeles, Drew Doughty said the Kings could see the fear in the Sharks’ eyes.

“Once we won that first game of the San Jose series, we kind of had a feeling we were going to come back and win that series,” Doughty said. “And you could see it in their eyes and their team and their captains and leaders that they were worried about us coming back.”

Two years later and Doughty believes the Sharks have to be worried about blowing it again.

“You know they’re thinking a little bit about it now, so we’re right where we want to be,” he told reporters after last night’s overtime victory by the Kings that cut the Sharks’ series lead from 2-0 to 2-1.

It’s a savvy bit of gamesmanship from Doughty.

It’s also undoubtedly the truth. The Sharks are probably thinking about it a bit. They may even be thinking about it a lot. As soon as they went into Los Angeles and won the first two games, the big question became, But can they close it out this time?

Granted, the Sharks are still in the driver’s seat. Game 4 is in San Jose, and their opponents are down a key defenseman.

But lose Game 4 and the Kings will have home-ice advantage again.

And win Game 4 and it’s right back to that big question.

Bottom line — however this series ends, it’s going to be fascinating.

Blackhawks’ Rundblad told to ‘be ready’ to play tonight

Columbus Blue Jackets v Chicago Blackhawks
Getty
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Defenseman David Rundblad — after playing more games in Switzerland than in the NHL during the regular season — could suit up for the Chicago Blackhawks tonight in Game 4 of their series with the St. Louis Blues.

“I told [Rundblad] to be ready to get into the series today,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said this morning, per Mark Lazerus of the Sun-Times.

Rundblad, 25, last played for the ‘Hawks on Dec. 13. He was loaned to the ZSC Lions in January, and proceeded to rack up 15 points (2G, 13A) in 11 games for the Zurich-based club. The ‘Hawks recalled him from AHL Rockford last week.

“He was always fine,” Quenneville told reporters. “He’s got real good play recognition, patience with the puck, he’s positionally fine. It’s in the puck area, defending around the net, that he has to get better at. He’s a good puck mover, has good feel for the game on the offensive point. Around the net, I think he’s made inroads and improvement in that area. He’s come back here, and he looks better.”

Viktor Svedberg is the most likely candidate to be replaced by Rundblad. Svedberg logged just 5:00 of ice time in Sunday’s 3-2 loss to the Blues.

St. Louis has a 2-1 series lead over the defending champions.

Rundblad in 2015-16 (via hockeydb)

Rundblad

No Fleury for Game 3; Murray an ‘option’ for Penguins

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Jeff Zatkoff (37) replaces goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) is goal during the second period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
AP
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Marc-Andre Fleury will not make his return tonight in New York. He remains “day-to-day,” according to Penguins coach Mike Sullivan.

It remains to be seen who will be in goal for Pittsburgh against the Rangers.

Jeff Zatkoff — the starter in Games 1 and 2 — was the first goalie off the ice this morning, which would typically identify him as the starter.

But rookie Matt Murray reportedly “worked in the starter’s net” during the game-day skate, after which Sullivan said that Murray was an “option” for tonight.

As for defenseman Olli Maatta, it does not sound like he’ll be a healthy scratch for Game 3.

“We believe in him,” said Sullivan. “We know he’s a good player. When you play that many minutes, you are going to make mistakes out there.”

Maatta had a tough outing Saturday in the Penguins’ 4-2 loss, and there was speculation he could be sitting tonight.

The Penguins and Rangers are tied 1-1 in their first-round series.

Flyers’ Bellemare to have hearing for hitting Orlov from behind

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Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare will have a hearing today for checking Washington’s Dmitry Orlov from behind last night in Philadelphia.

The NHL’s Department of Player Safety made the announcement this morning on Twitter.

Bellemare’s hit left Orlov down on the ice, as skirmishes broke out around him. Though Orlov was ultimately able to remain in the game, Bellemare received a five-minute major and was ejected.

Game 4 of the series goes tomorrow at Wells Fargo Center. The Capitals can eliminate the Flyers with a victory.

Related: Fallout from Bellemare hit, Flyers fans’ actions