This time, it was Malkin setting up Kessel with a perfect saucer pass before Kessel ripped home that familiar wrist shot off the rush to defeat the Edmonton Oilers by a score of 2-1 on Tuesday.
Connor McDavid — who had gone six games without a goal since his season-opening hat trick against Calgary — scored late in the third period to secure at least the single point on the road for an Edmonton team looking to turn things around after a dismal and disappointing start despite heightened expectations around this group.
Contributing to Edmonton’s loss was the play of Matt Murray in net for Pittsburgh. He made 29 saves, but none better than a desperation stick stop on Mark Letestu during the second period. Count it as a Save of the Year candidate. It kept the game scoreless at the time, allowing Pittsburgh to eventually take the lead.
The win, however, came with some bad news, as injuries piled up for the Penguins throughout this contest. Defenseman Justin Schultz left the game after the first period and didn’t return.
Head coach Mike Sullivan later revealed to reporters that Schultz has been diagnosed with a concussion. Meanwhile, Carter Rowney, who was placed on injured reserve yesterday, has a fractured hand and is expected to miss at least four weeks.
The end of the first period in Monday’s Maple Leafs-Kings game brought us a big moment of confusion involving LA goaltender Jonathan Quick.
With three minutes to play, Quick took a blow to the head during a scramble in front of his net. He fell backwards into his crease, and grabbed at his mask, clearly shaken up. Play resumed for another 109 seconds before officials notified the Kings that the goaltender needed to leave the game after the independent concussion spotters called in a mandatory evaluation.
After some confusion and hesitance from Quick, he left the game and Darcy Kuemper entered for only 37 seconds before Quick returned.
“I don’t know what the [expletive] happened there,” Quick said via the LA Times. “I don’t know what happened. You have to ask the league.”
Kings head coach John Stevens explained just what happened after the game.
“[A]s we were getting Darcy ready to go in the net, they said they’ve reviewed it a second time and he doesn’t have to come out, so when we tried to put him back in the net, the referees come over said that if there’s an injury on the ice, he has to come out for one play, and I said, ‘well, he’s not injured. We were doing what we were told from the league,’ and then they came over after and said, ‘you know what? That’s never happened before.’ So that was the read on it, which is respectful. I mean, they were doing what they thought was right. We just didn’t like a guy going in with a minute left in the period. So, everybody was just doing what they were told, and in the end, we wanted to put Jonny back in because we were told he could, but then they deemed at that point that he was an injured player and had to come out for one play.”
Stevens added that Quick wasn’t evaluated for a concussion because once the spotters determined the goaltender didn’t have to come out there was no need to look at him. He also said that the entire situation was “disruptive” and the Kings want to know why he wasn’t pulled immediately if the spotters saw something.
“Removal and evaluation of a Player will be required if the Central League Spotter determines that a mandatory evaluation is warranted, even if the In-Arena League Spotter and/or Club personnel disagree that a visible sign or a mechanism of injury has occurred or been exhibited. If the Central League Spotter communicates a visible sign triggering an evaluation in the discretion of the Club’s medical personnel, and the Club’s medical personnel did not see the event, such Club medical personnel shall, as soon as reasonably possible following the communication (for example, during the next television time-out or intermission if the next break in play is the intermission), check in with the Player or review the video clip of the event, or both, to determine if an acute evaluation is warranted.”
Dive deeper into that protocol and you’ll see that Quick’s clutching of his head was an immediate trigger for the spotter to call down for a removal.
A source told Sportsnet that the reason why Quick didn’t need an evaluation was that it was determined he was hit in the head by either Zach Hyman or Derek Forbert’s stick on the play. Maybe a glancing blow to the head from a stick isn’t the same as an elbow, forearm or shoulder, but it’s still a hit to the head, no? And wouldn’t that be worthy of at least some sort of evaluation, especially given the goaltender’s reaction?
The 30-year-old netminder collided with Anders Bjork during practice on Wednesday and needed to be helped off the ice. Anton Khudobin will start Thursday night against the Canucks and Zane MacIntyre will serve as his backup.
The Bruins are 2-3-0 on the season with a minus-4 goal differential. Rask has struggled as well with an ugly .887 even strength save percentage in four starts. With four games over the next 11 days, the hope is that either Khudobin or MacIntyre can right the ship as Rask heals.
“I feel good. Camp was good and everything is fine, and I’ve started better than last year,” said Khudobin via NBC Sports Boston. “My role is just day-to-day. Today is a game day and hopefully, you get a good result, and then tomorrow is another new day.”
As the Bruins get David Backes and possibly Patrice Bergeron back, they’ve watched as Rask and Ryan Spooner (4-6 weeks) leave the lineup with injury. Having a roster in flux while you’re trying to find some consistency will be a tough ask for head coach Bruce Cassidy and his players.
The 31-year-old Khudobin has played well in two appearances this season, stopping 32 of 33 shots faced and posting a .970 ESSV%.
We already knew the Edmonton Oilers were going to be without forward Leon Draisaitl for Saturday’s game against the Ottawa Senators due to what was initially described as an eye injury and perhaps a possible concussion.
On Saturday, coach Todd McLellan confirmed that star forward is actually dealing with concussion-type symptoms.
“He’s had an eye injury, the eye was swollen shut but obviously the eye is attached to the head which leads to the concussion type symptoms,” said McLellan. “That’s what we’re dealing with.”
The Oilers have a pretty daunting schedule coming up over the next week so if they are without Draisaitl for an extended period of time it could be a struggle for them. He was injured in Monday’s game against the Winnipeg Jets, but nobody seems to know when exactly it happened.
In three games this season Draisaitl has one goal and two assists.
He signed an eight-year, $68 million contract extension with the Oilers over the summer after a 77 point (29 goal, 48 assist) season.
Okposo is ‘happy to be back’ after dealing with scary concussion-related symptoms
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) Buffalo Sabres forward Kyle Okposo happily looks to the future now that he’s fully recovered from concussion-related symptoms which nearly derailed his career in March.
Saying he’s not dwelling on the past, Okposo was eager to rejoin the Sabres after skating with numerous teammates for practice a little more than a week before the team opens training camp. Though he’s has been skating for much of the summer, Tuesday marked his first time on the ice in Buffalo since being hospitalized late last season.
“It was obviously a tough situation, a tough road,” Okposo said. “I’m just happy to be back and happy to be able to play again, and play at a high level.”
He acknowledged questioning if he would ever get better before he started feeling “clear” in May.
“It was definitely a scary thing,” Okposo said. “Your mind starts to question a lot of things.”
In a letter posted on the Sabres website in July, Okposo wrote he began losing weight and had difficulty sleeping after what he described as “a routine hit” in practice. He played one game before the symptoms worsened.
Okposo then spent nearly a week in Buffalo General Hospital’s Neuro Surgical ICU to be stabilized in April.
The 29-year-old from St. Paul, Minnesota, had 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 65 games during his first season with Buffalo. Okposo signed a $42 million, seven-year contract with the Sabres in free agency last year.