Jason Brough

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)

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


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


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

Coyotes to purchase Springfield Falcons and move them to Tucson

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' Jean-Sebastien Dea, right, moves the puck past the Springfield Falcons' Jordan Szwarz during an AHL hockey game at Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. on Tuesday, March 29, 2016. (Christopher Dolan/The Citizens' Voice via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT

The Arizona Coyotes have signed an agreement to purchase the AHL’s Springfield Falcons, the club announced this morning.

The Coyotes, confirming an earlier report, say they intend to move the Falcons to Tucson, where they’d play at the Tucson Convention Center starting next season.

“The agreement is contingent upon AHL Board of Governor approval, finalizing closing conditions, and signing an arena lease agreement,” the Coyotes wrote in a release.

Falcons owner Charlie Pompea has confirmed the sale agreement to The Republican newspaper in Springfield.

From The Republican:

Pompea did not disclose terms of the deal but said it was definite. Owner of the Falcons since December of 2010, he spoke in tones tinged with regret but said he was convinced that he and his staff had done their best.

“I really wanted this to work. We needed, at the very least, an average of 4,000 fans per game. We didn’t come close.

“I love the fans we had, and I will always be grateful to them. I’m very sad and unhappy, but I want it known I don’t have any gripes. I just got to the point where I didn’t think the city could support a pro hockey team.”

The sale of the Falcons does not assure that hockey is dead in a city that has housed an AHL team since 1936, with the exception of a brief hiatus in the early 1950s. Pompea said some NHL teams have expressed interest in relocating their minor league affiliation in Springfield, but he did not elaborate.

The Falcons became the Coyotes’ AHL affiliate a year ago, after the Falcons’ previous NHL parent, the Columbus Blue Jackets, signed a deal with Lake Erie.

Coach Cooper would love the Lightning to knock it off with all the penalties

Detroit Red Wings left wing Henrik Zetterberg (40) scores on Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) in the second period of Game 3 in a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Sunday, April 17, 2016, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

As good as the Tampa Bay Lightning’s penalty-killing has looked in these playoffs, their head coach, Jon Cooper, would be happier if his players just stayed out of the box instead.

“It disrupts your flow. It’s taxing on your penalty killers,” Cooper told reporters about being shorthanded so much. “You’re spending your whole time in the D zone.”

Sunday in Detroit, the Bolts went a perfect 7-for-7 on the PK, but lost the game, 2-0, after managing just 16 shots on goalie Petr Mrazek.

Defenseman Jason Garrison led the Bolts in shorthanded ice time (6:24) in Game 3, followed by Ryan Callahan (5:55), Brian Boyle (5:15), Valtteri Filppula (5:08), Braydon Coburn (4:30), and Victor Hedman (4:20).

That’s a lot of time for good two-way players to spend defending, while offensive types like Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson, and Jonathan Drouin sit on the bench watching.

The Red Wings, meanwhile, have been busy thinking of ways to actually convert with the man advantage. In three games, they’re a disappointing 1-for-17.

“We’ve certainly looked at everything as we go through the decision process,” coach Jeff Blashill said, per MLive. “Is there any ways that we can help ourselves do better in any area, including the power play? I would certainly give lots of credit to Tampa’s penalty kill. I think they were one of the top penalty-killing units in the last 2-3 months down the stretch. They do a really good job, so let’s make sure they get lots of credit there.”

Everyone’s talking about video review

After consulting with the video judge, referee Dave Jackson waves off an apparent goal by Vancouver Canucks' Henrik Sedin, of Sweden, against the Phoenix Coyotes during the third period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz.  The Coyotes defeated the Canucks 1-0. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

CHICAGO (AP) Aaron Ekblad had a big goal for the Florida Panthers, and then it was gone. Same for Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis last week. Andrew Shaw of the Chicago Blackhawks and Derick Brassard of the New York Rangers got to keep their clutch scores.

The breakout star of the first round of the NHL playoffs is the coach’s challenge, and it seems as if no one is quite sure how they feel about that.

There were a couple more on Sunday, including an offside ruling that negated Ekblad’s goal in the second period of Florida’s 4-3 overtime loss at the New York Islanders.

“The rule is there, it’s in place and you have to do as good a job as possible as a staff and as a group to execute within the rule,” Philadelphia coach Dave Hakstol said. “We’re seeing how important and how much of an impact it’s had on a couple of games.”

The NHL approved the coach’s challenge system last summer, and it was used 266 times in the regular season, with 68 plays overturned. The system was mostly praised, save for the occasional display from a coach or player upset when a reversal went against their team.

The addition of blue-line cameras for the playoffs has created additional scrutiny – and set the table for discussions on how to improve things.

“That’s probably for summer-time conversation,” St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said when asked if the coach’s challenge is good for the game.

A pair of challenges went against the Blues in the third period of their 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their first-round series. Tarasenko’s tiebreaking goal was wiped out by a razor-thin offside ruling on Jori Lehtera based on video from the blue-line cameras. There was a video review of Shaw’s tiebreaking goal before Hitchcock unsuccessfully challenged the play, arguing goaltender Brian Elliott had been pushed into the net on the score.

There is a lot of waiting.

“They get the OK from Toronto before the challenge and then we challenge and then there’s another seven or eight minutes,” Blues center Paul Stastny said. “I think the game’s changed so much, I guess that’s the only downside to the challenges. You don’t mind them for certain reasons, but you want to get an answer in 30 seconds, a minute, two minutes, quick; almost like a quick timeout basically.”

Florida almost had a 3-0 lead in the second period against New York, but Ekblad’s first career playoff goal was thrown out when Islanders video coach Matt Bertani got coach Jack Capuano to challenge the play and video showed Florida was offside when it entered the zone.

“That was the turning point,” Capuano said. “Down by two is a lot different than down by three.”