Crosby captivated during a great night for the Penguins


Earlier this season, Sidney Crosby was scoring on an unsustainable percentage of his shots … yet many wondered: “This is Sidney Crosby, is it possible that he could just keep doing this?”

Well, the bounces have slowed a touch – he came into Friday with a 17.1 shooting percentage – but he justified such doubts by absurdly scoring a goal off of Henrik Lundqvist‘s head.

… And he did it on purpose.

That goal came after Crosby began the night’s scoring with an assist on a Jake Guentzel goal, which placed him second all-time in Penguins history in assists, ahead of Jaromir Jagr.

One has to feel a bit for Lundqvist, both for being the victim of that bit of Crosby genius and for the notion that his flurry of first-period saves has likely been made irrelevant.

Crosby has scored 22 goals against Lundqvist, easily the most he’s generated vs. any goalie.

Update: The Penguins nabbed a 4-3 shootout win thanks a (wait for it) shootout-winner by Crosby.

Matt Murray made a fantastic stop in overtime, too:

Furthermore, Friday was very friendly to the Penguins, as both the Blue Jackets and Capitals lost in regulation.

The Penguins are unlikely to catch the Capitals in such a small period of time, but a round of home-ice advantage became far more plausible after this night:

1. Capitals – 110 points in 77 games
2. Blue Jackets – 106 points in 77 games
3. Penguins – 105 points in 77 games

Pittsburgh’s next two games are interesting, as they host the desperate and red-hot Hurricanes on Sunday and the Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Both of those games are at home, and then they close out 2016-17 with three consecutive contests on the road.

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.