Montreal Canadiens

Leafs’ Panik latest to be fined for diving

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Toronto forward Richard Panik has become the seventh player to be fined for diving this season, the NHL announced on Thursday:

Panik was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 824 at Montreal on Feb. 14. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 936 at Washington on Mar. 1.

Capitals defenseman Mike Green received a minor penalty for holding on the play, at 10:57 of the second period.

Here’s video of the incident against the Caps:

With that, Panik joins Islanders goalie Michal Neuvirth (fine occurred while with Buffalo), Montreal’s P.K. Subban, the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Florida’s Vincent Trocheck and Nashville’s James Neal as the seven players to be publicly outed as divers, under new rules put forth by the league this season.

Ducks move to top spot in NHL standings with win over Habs

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The race for the playoffs is heating up, and so is the race for the Presidents’ Trophy for the NHL’s top regular season team. Right now, the Anaheim Ducks are slightly out in front of the pack.

In what would be a battle of the top team from the West versus the top team from the East, the Ducks soundly defeated the visiting Montreal Canadiens by a final score of 3-1, giving them 91 points, which puts them two ahead of the Nashville Predators, who are second in the league’s overall standings.

John Gibson made 37 saves for the win. The Ducks are now on a four-game winning streak.

Playing against his former team, Ducks winger Jiri Sekac, acquired from Montreal in exchange for Devante Smith-Pelly on Feb. 24, set up what would be the winning goal off the stick of Rickard Rakell in the second period.

Video: P.K. Subban illustrates hockey instincts through GoPro camera perspective

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First, it was Sidney Crosby to show off his skills from the perspective of the GoPro camera. Now, it’s Montreal Canadiens star P.K. Subban’s turn.

The dynamic defenseman shows off his stickhandling and shooting abilities that have helped turn him into one of the most exciting players in the league when at the top of his game.

“A lot of the stuff becomes instinctual,” says Subban in the video. “It’s like muscle memory. It’s repetitive.”

Not dealt at deadline, Beleskey still working on extension with Ducks

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Pending UFA and breakout scoring sensation Matt Beleskey is still an Anaheim Duck, having stayed put through yesterday’s trade deadline — despite serious interest form other teams.

To hear Beleskey’s agent explain it, staying put is a good thing. Anaheim is where Beleskey wants to be long-term, and now the two sides can keep negotiating a new deal.

“We continue to work through the process,” Beleskey’s agent, Murray Kuntz, told PHT via email on Tuesday. “Matt’s priority is to remain in Anaheim for many years to come.

“Hopefully we can make that happen.”

Beleskey is currently sidelined with a shoulder ailment, one of the few negatives in an otherwise stellar campaign. The 26-year-old has 21 goals this season — more than Sidney Crosby, Jeff Carter and Marian Hossa — which has added a bonafide offensive component to his gritty, hardworking game.

That, combined with his contractual status, made Beleskey a prized target on Monday.

ESPN reported several teams called Ducks GM Bob Murray about making a deal, and CSNNE suggested the Bruins were among the interested parties. Once Monday’s dust settled and Beleskey remained a Duck, Murray confirmed there were suitors looking to bring him aboard.

“You’re torn, but I felt that for this hockey team it was more important to keep Matt and take our chances in the future,” Murray said, per the L.A. Daily News. “We’ll see what happens in the summer.

“He’s an important part of our team. I got asked [by other GMs about trading Beleskey]. I just wasn’t going to do it.”

In light of this, it’ll be interesting to see what Beleskey’s next deal will look like. The Ducks clearly value him, but at what price? It’s also worth noting Murray has numerous key players needing new contracts both this offseason and the next, including a slew of RFAs (Emerson Etem and Jakov Silfverberg this summer; Sami Vatanen, Hampus Lindholm, Kyle Palmieri, Rickard Rakell, Jiri Sekac and Simon Despres the one following.)

Video: Defenseman Burns makes big save in Stalock’s shutout

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San Jose Sharks goaltender Alex Stalock turned aside 20 shots to earn his second shutout of the season in a 4-0 victory over the Montreal Canadiens. It was a big night for him, but defenseman Brent Burns also deserves credit for the outcome.

Midway through the third period, Burns managed to whack a shot from Montreal’s David Desharnais that was destined for the back of the net out of midair at the goal line.

Although the Sharks went 3-8-2 in February, they’re still very much in the playoff race. Getting two points against Montreal tonight helps, but they need to stay sharp in their back-to-back games against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday and Saturday. If the Sharks take both of those contests, then they’ll be within striking distance of not just a postseason spot, but perhaps even the second seed in the Pacific Division and the home ice advantage in the first round that comes with it.