I hate using a term like slash-gate, but I have a slash-gate update for you.
On Thursday morning, Ottawa announced that Mark Stone — the recipient of a P.K. Subban slash in Wednesday’s series-opening loss to Montreal — has suffered a microfracture in his right wrist, and that his availability for the rest of the series is unknown.
Stone, Ottawa’s star rookie, got caught with the slash midway through the second period and left the game momentarily, but did return and finished with over 15 minutes of ice time.
Losing him would be a major blow.
Since Jan. 1, only four players have scored more points than Stone’s 44 — John Tavares, Alex Ovechkin, Jamie Benn and Sidney Crosby. It gives you an idea of the level Stone’s been playing at and how important he is to the Sens, especially after they dropped Game 1.
Stone didn’t skate with Ottawa on Wednesday as Milan Michalek took his spot on a line with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. Alex Chiasson took Michalek’s spot alongside Bobby Ryan and Mika Zibanejad, which meant that Chris Neil drew into the mix and rushed on the fourth line.
As for Subban, he won’t face any supplemental discipline from the league and, per reports from this morning, Sens head coach Dave Cameron won’t be fined for his threats of retaliation against Montreal for the slash.
After an incredibly unlucky run of injuries, Stefan Noesen could soon make his NHL debut.
Noesen, taken 21st overall at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, has been recalled to Anaheim from AHL Norfolk, the club announced on Friday. The 22-year-old came to the Ducks from Ottawa in the Bobby Ryan trade of ’13… and has suffered through two major injuries and rehabs since.
Just a few games into the 2013-14 campaign, Noesen ripped up his knee — tearing both his ACL and MCL — which shelved him for all of the regular season and part of Norfolk’s playoff run. While he did return to get some postseason action, Noesen was again sidelined at the start of this season when he suffered a severed Achilles following a skate cut in mid-October.
Noesen only returned to the Norfolk lineup in mid-February, but made an immediate impact. He’s scored 10 points in 19 games since coming back and could provide a boost for the Ducks heading into the playoffs; Noesen has good size (6-foot-2, 205 pounds) and his playing style has earned comparisons to his new teammate, Corey Perry — from a fairly legit source in Ottawa GM Bryan Murray, who drafted Perry to the Ducks and Noesen to the Sens.
Back in mid-February, Ottawa required nothing short of a miraculous run to get back into the playoff race. Enter 27-year-old rookie goaltender Andrew Hammond. He’s reversed the course of the team to the point where they are actually in possession of a Wild Card spot after earning a 5-2 victory against San Jose Monday night.
San Jose’s Joe Pavelski and Chris Tierney did managed to score just 30 seconds apart in the second period, but that’s all Hammond allowed in his 29-save effort. Ottawa did the rest courtesy of a third period rally with Senators forwards Mika Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan leading the charge.
Zibanejad netted Ottawa’s first two goals of the game while Ryan was credited with three assists, including the 200th of his career.
Starting with Hammond’s first start on Feb. 18, the Senators have gone on a 15-1-1 run. The sole regulation loss came during one of Craig Anderson’s two starts during that stretch. Coupled with the Bruins dropping five straight games, Ottawa now has a one-point edge over Boston in the battle for the second Wild Card seed. On top of that the Senators have played in one less game.
The stakes will be very high for the Bruins on Thursday when they take on the Anaheim Ducks.
For the Senators, as big as tonight was, there might also be a somber note to it. Although Hammond played the full 60 minutes, he suffered an ankle injury that required treatment after the contest, per the Ottawa Sun’s Bruce Garrioch. Zibanejad also blocked a shot with his arm but said he’s okay.