Author: Matt Reitz

New York Rangers v New York Islanders

Video: Matt Moulson’s supersized hat trick


They say that everything is bigger in Texas.  Apparently, Islanders forward Matt Moulson agrees.  Instead of stopping with the industry standard three goal hat trick, Moulson netted four goals in New York’s 5-4 win in Dallas.  It didn’t matter whether he was capitalizing on sizable rebounds or depositing the puck after ridiculous passes from his teammates.  All that mattered was that just about everything Moulson touched on Saturday night turned into gold.

For those keeping track, Moulson has scored goals in four straight games.  Not too many players can say they’ve scored seven goals over a four goal span this season.  Here are the four goals from Saturday night for your viewing pleasure:

Headshot watch: Nino Niederreiter leaves game early in Dallas

New York Islanders Blue v White Game

Early in the Islanders’ 5-4 victory in Dallas, Mark Fistric delivered a brutal shot to the head of Nino Niederreiter that should make waves around the NHL offices tomorrow. A clearly dazed Niederreiter stumbled as he returned to his feet (aided by teammates) and headed straight to the locker room. Early reports tell us the obvious: Niederreiter is out with a concussion and will be reevaluated on Sunday.

There will be plenty of talk about Fistric’s hit from those who like to debate suspensions. From Niederreiter’s hazy nature after the hit, it certainly looked like he took a shot straight to the head. Focusing on the defenseman, it looked like Fistric left his feet to make high contact with an opposing player. That’s not a good combination for someone that would want to escape Brendan Shanahan’s wrath.

Then again, Fistric wasn’t given a penalty on the play so who knows what will happen in the supplemental discipline process.

Things aren’t going smoothly for Nino Niederreiter this season. He’s bounced between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, New York Islanders, and the press box much more than he would have hoped this season. Now we can added the “quiet room” and possibly injured reserve to the list of locales this season.

Here’s the hit that knocked Niederreiter out of the game. Is this something that warranted a suspension? Did it warrant a penalty on the ice?

Video: David Perron returns in style

David Perron

It’s been almost 400 days since David Perron’s world was flipped upside down by Joe Thornton’s elbow. In that last game , we saw Perron score his fifth goal in only 10 games. It looked like a star was being born before everything faded to black.

We really didn’t know what to expect from Perron after missing so much time with the concussion.  Well, he’s back and it doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat. It only took him about six minutes remind everyone that he has a pretty sweet pair of hands. Check it out as Perron buries one right where Mama hides the cookies.

Costly win for the Kings, Richards and Mitchell hurt

Mike Richards, Jose Theodore, Simon Gagne

The Kings may have escaped with a 2-1 victory on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers, but the price may have been higher than they would have liked for two points in the standings. Top-four defenseman Willie Mitchell was only able to play a single shift in the first period before he left the game with an undisclosed “lower body injury.” The Kings were forced to play the majority of the game with only five defensemen as they clung to their one-goal lead in the third period.

Mitchell wasn’t the only player missing in the hard fought third period either. Near the end of the middle frame, Panthers forward Sean Bergenheim hit Kings center Mike Richards with a hard check along the boards. Richards looked to be dazed before he and Jarret Stoll started to follow Bergenheim around the rink for the remainder of the shift. Bergenheim wanted to part of the rough stuff, but connected with Richards face as the Kings newcomer continually tried to engage him in a fight. Whether it was the initial hit or the shot afterwards, Richards was unable to return to the game in the third period with what the Kings are calling an “upper body injury.”

Bergenheim’s hit on Richards was certainly walking the line of legality. Replays showed that Richards lowered his head position a bit immediately preceding the hit; even though Bergenheim’s hit was going to be a high shot regardless. But if it weren’t for the momentary stumble, the Panthers’ forward probably would have delievered a shoulder-on-shoulder hit. As it was, his shoulder connected with Richards head. Was the hit worthy of a penalty?  Maybe, maybe not.  Was it worth a suspension? Probably not.  But either way, it was close enough for there to be a discussion.

The Kings continued confronting Bergenheim once the third period started, but he had no interest. Bergenheim joked about the reaction after the game: “It was almost like having the dirtiest hit on Wayne Gretzky. Keep your head up. He’s a physical player himself and has done some farily dirty stuff. Actually the Booth hit under today’s standard would probably be a pretty long suspension. It was a perfect hit right in the chest.’’

In the other locker room, the comments were much more measured. When asked about the hit, Kings head coach Terry Murray was sure to choose his words wisely: “Well, the player got called for a penalty on the play. So…”

So what does that mean? That means that Richards was knocked out of the game—a game where the Kings were already down a man. Both players are being evaluated and there will be updates on their condition tomorrow.

Needless to say, a long-term injury to either player would be quite a blow to a team trying to find some consistency after twenty games.

Caps fall to Pens, Crosby and Ovechkin held scoreless

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals

When was the last time there was a Capitals/Penguins game when the Crosby/Ovechkin rivalry took a backseat to other things going on around the ice. Between Dale Hunter trying to find his footing as the Caps new head coach and Arron Asham’s one-punch knockout the last time the teams faced off, the battle of superstars almost seemed like a footnote to the rest of the game.

Good thing, because they were both held without a point during the Penguins tight 2-1 victory in Washington.

As for the other 38 guys on the bench on Thursday night, the Pens win over the Caps will have plenty of storylines to keep blogs and websites busy. John Erskine stepped up and challenged Arron Asham to a fight only five minutes into the game. Afterwards, Erskine insisted the fight wasn’t about the retribution for Asham’s actions last game, but it was to help his teammates get back into the game after the Penguins first goal of the game. OK, we’ll go with that.

Another, more disturbing storyline from the game, is the lackluster offensive the Capitals have been producing as of late. The loss was the fourth straight for the four-time defending Southeast Division champs. Worse than that, the loss is Washington’s seventh loss in their last nine games—and second straight for new head coach Dale Hunter.

Under Hunter, the Capitals have been stressing defense. Improving defense is always a good thing, but the Caps haven’t been able to generate ANY offense over the last two games. They’re only averaging about 18 shots per game and haven’t been able to score more than a single goal in either contest.  As Tomas Vokoun says, “it’s hard to win with one goal.”

For Caps fans who are ready to jump off a bridge and into the Potomac, they can take solace that their defense looked much better tonight against the Penguins. Now they’ll just need to find some goals. Who knew we’d be saying the Capitals would be alright if they could just find some scoring?