From a standings perspective, Pittsburgh’s 8-3 victory against Carolina was meaningless, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t noteworthy for other reasons.
Penguins forward James Neal returned from a concussion tonight after missing roughly three weeks. He ended up finding the back of the net three times and recording an assist in his return.
You can watch his heroics below:
It certainly looks like he’s ready for the Penguins’ postseason opener, although it’s worth adding that he was eased into the lineup with 13:08 minutes of ice time.
Pittsburgh defenseman Paul Martin also returned after missing about a month with a hand injury. He logged 23:31 minutes and recorded two assists.
Columbus is going into their final game of the season a bit more loaded up front.
Shawn Mitchell of The Columbus Dispatch reports center Artem Anisimov will return to the lineup on the fourth line against Nashville tonight. Anisimov will lineup with Jared Boll and Derek MacKenzie at least to start off. He has missed the last five games with concussion-like symptoms.
This season, Anisimov has been one of the more steady players for the Blue Jackets ranking third on the team in goals with 11. His 18 points are good for fifth on the team in scoring. If Columbus is able to finish the job and make the postseason, Anisimov’s help will be much needed against either Anaheim or Chicago. For now, having him against Chris Mason and the Predators tonight makes him a sight for sore eyes.
Carolina forward Alex Semin will miss the remaining two games of the regular season with a concussion, according to Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer.
It’s unclear exactly when Semin suffered the injury. He played a whopping 23:10 in a shootout win over the Islanders on Tuesday and, yesterday, head coach Kirk Muller said Semin was “OK” after missing the team skate.
The concussion is a tough end to an otherwise great campaign from the 29-year-old forward.
Semin racked up 12G-31A-44PTS in 44 games in his first year in Carolina and averaged over 20 minutes per game.
His solid play resulted in a five-year, $35 million contract extension from the ‘Canes, who were no doubt pleased with the chemistry Semin showed on the top line with Eric Staal and Jiri Tlusty.
Update: Carolina has confirmed the concussion diagnosis and that Semin will miss the final two games of the year.
Montreal is getting some help to their back line when they face Washington tonight.
Defenseman Raphael Diaz makes his return to the Habs lineup after missing 25 games with a concussion. Coach Michel Therrien says they’ll watch him closely to see how he responds to game action after such a long layoff.
“We’ll manage his ice time depending on how he feels. We’ll see how his conditioning and timing are and go from there,” Therrien said.
The Canadiens have four games left in the season and they’ve struggled a bit lately on defense. They lost Alexei Emelin for the season with a knee injury and they’ve had a hard time replacing his defensive toughness. The effect that’s had on Carey Price of late has not been good as the Habs have given up 24 goals over their last six games since losing Emelin.
Diaz won’t bring that kind of game to the ice but if he can improve upon their play as a unit, Price will be more than thankful for it.
Philadelphia Flyers GM Paul Holmgren announced that defenseman Kent Huskins suffered a concussion from a controversial Ryan White hit and won’t return on Monday.
Take another look at the check, via CSNPhilly.com:
The NHL seems to base its disciplinary decisions at least partially on how injured the recipient of a questionable hit ends up, so this news is bad for White along with Huskins.
Injuries have hit the Flyers pretty hard in 2013, particularly on the blueline. In the likely event that Huskins remains on the shelf longer than Monday, he’ll join injured defensemen Marc-Andre Bourdon, Braydon Coburn, Andrej Meszaros, Nicklas Grossmann and Chris Pronger.
Huskins was in the middle of his eighth game for the Flyers. The 33-year-old blueliner was traded to Philly from the Detroit Red Wings on March 30.