NHL Rink Wrap: Verhaeghe stars, Crosby injured on night of comebacks

NHL Rink Wrap: Verhaeghe stars, Crosby injured on night of comebacks
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

• During a night where leads weren’t safe, neither was Sidney Crosby. The Penguins have to hope Crosby’s injury is minor, as the Rangers rallied to stay alive in Game 5.

• The Panthers’ comeback was even more dramatic against the Capitals, although maybe you’d argue that every goal is like precious gold in the sludgy series between the Stars and the Flames. Either way, the three playoff games ended with the Flames, Panthers, and Penguins being up 3-2 in their First Round series.

• Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse received a one-game suspension for head-butting Kings forward Phillip Danault. The Oilers will face elimination without a key defenseman.

Trevor Zegras, Michael Bunting, and Moritz Seider were announced as the 2022 Calder Trophy finalists.

Game 5: New York Rangers 5, Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (PIT leads 3-2)

Well, this one went places.

Early in Game 5, the Penguins went up 2-0, and the Rangers looked done. Then a Jacob Trouba hit sidelined Sidney Crosby, the Rangers scored three of four goals in a dizzying stretch, and they rallied against the Penguins to keep this series going.

Really, there’s a lot to digest. Read up on Game 5 of Penguins – Rangers here.

Game 5: Florida Panthers 5, Washington Capitals 3 (FLA leads 3-2)

With a punchless power play and facing a red-hot Ilya Samsonov, the Panthers looked listless against the Capitals. Once it was 3-0, it was fair to wonder if Washington simply turned the Presidents’ Trophy-winners toothless.

Then we witnessed maybe the clearest glimpse of the Florida Panthers team that dominated the playoffs with blazing speed, overwhelming pressure, and remarkable comebacks.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

Yes, the Panthers tied the Gretzky-era Oilers for the single-season record with 29 comeback wins, but it was still bewildering to see the Panthers impose their will (and style) on the Capitals. That’s what they did, though, as Carter Verhaeghe, Claude Giroux, Aleksander Barkov, and others conjured the return of those “Comeback Cats.”

Sergei Bobrovsky also deserves credit for frequently making saves to keep the Panthers in games during what’s been a challenging series against the Capitals.

Game 5: Calgary Flames 3, Dallas Stars 1 (CGY leads 3-2)

In a vacuum, rallying from a 1-0 deficit is the least impressive comeback of Wednesday’s playoff games. Maybe that’s true.

Yet, considering how tough it’s been to score against Jake Oettinger and the Stars, you cannot totally blame the Flames for being pumped about breaking through. Midway through the second period, Jason Robertson gave the Stars that 1-0 lead. It wasn’t until the third that Calgary started heating up.

Andrew Mangiapane assisted on Mikael Backlund‘s tying goal, then scored the eventual game-winner. The empty-netter provided that key insurance in yet another tight Stars – Flames contest.

(Hot take: the Stars might want to try to score more than a goal, just saying.)

Three Stars in NHL Playoffs on Wednesday

1. Carter Verhaeghe, Panthers

How could it be anyone other than Carter Verhaeghe?

In a desperate situation for the Panthers, Verhaeghe catalyzed the “Comeback Cats” with an outstanding two goals and three assists. Impressively, Verhaeghe didn’t just score those goals and generate those assists. Often, Verhaeghe powered sequences by gaining loose pucks, knifing through defenders, and finishing with great touch.

Verhaeghe already had a solid five points through the first four playoff games, so it’s not just one hot night. Pretty incredible stuff from a player whose NHL career took quite a while to blossom.

2. Andrew Mangiapane, Flames

Through four games, Andrew Mangiapane failed to generate a single point. That’s frustrating, for sure, but it’s been difficult for anyone to score in this slog of a series.

Mangiapane just kept plugging away, and he was rewarded for his efforts with a nice assist and a game-winning goal. Mikael Backlund contributed to that win, too, also scoring a goal and an assist as he found rhythm with Mangiapane.

3. Alexis Lafrenière, Rangers

The Rangers’ Game 5 rally was done by committee. That said, we saw some flourishes of that No. 1 overall pick talent with Alexis Lafrenière, who scored a key 2-2 goal, and assisted on Filip Chytil‘s power-play game-winner.

Kudos to Lafrenière for engaging in the physical game, too, delivering three hits and blocking one shot in a physical contest. If nothing else, if he’s not scoring, Lafrenière might stay in Gerard Gallant’s good graces by playing rough.


Game 6: Carolina Hurricanes at Boston Bruins, 7 p.m. ET — TNT (CAR leads 3-2)
Game 6: Toronto Maple Leafs at Tampa Bay Lightning, 7:30 p.m. ET — TBS (TOR leads 3-2)
Game 6: Minnesota Wild at St. Louis Blues, 9:30 p.m. ET — TNT (STL leads 3-2)
Game 6: Edmonton Oilers at Los Angeles Kings, 10 p.m. ET — TBS (LAK leads 3-2)

PHT’s 2022 Stanley Cup previews

Maple Leafs vs. Lightning
Hurricanes vs. Bruins
Blues vs. Wild
• Avalanche vs. Predators
Oilers vs. Kings

Flames vs. Stars

NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 schedule, TV info
First Round, Stanley Cup predictions
• NHL Draft Lottery set: Canadiens have best odds for top pick
Why your team will (and will not) win the Stanley Cup

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    Sharks goalie James Reimer declines to wear Pride jersey

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    San Jose Sharks goalie James Reimer won’t take part in pregame warmups Saturday night, saying the team’s decision to wear Pride-themed jerseys in support of the LGBTQ community runs counter to his religious beliefs.

    Reimer said in a statement Saturday that he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.

    “In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in life,” Reimer said.

    Reimer is the second NHL player this season to refuse to take part in warmups with Pride-themed jerseys, with Philadelphia’s Ivan Provorov declining to in January. Reimer was not slated to start in Saturday night’s home game against the New York Islanders, which is Pride night.

    Additionally, the New York Rangers opted not to wear Pride jerseys or use Pride stick tape as part of their night in January despite previously advertising that plan.

    The Sharks said in a statement that they are proud to host Pride Night, saying the event reinforces the team’s commitment to inclusiveness.

    “As we promote these standards, we also acknowledge and accept the rights of individuals to express themselves, including how or whether they choose to express their beliefs, regardless of the cause or topic,” the team said in a statement. “As an organization, we will not waver in our support of the LGBTQIA+ community and continue to encourage others to engage in active allyship.”

    The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusiveness in sports, said the organization was disappointed in Reimer’s actions.

    “Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” the organization said. “Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”

    AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

    Panarin, Shesterkin lead Rangers to 6-0 rout of Penguins

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    NEW YORK (AP) Mika Zibanejad had a goal and two assists, Artemi Panarin scored twice and Igor Shesterkin made 33 saves as the New York Rangers routed Pittsburgh 6-0 on Saturday night for their second win over the Penguins in three days.

    Vladimir Tarasenko, Chris Kreider and Jacob Trouba also scored for the surging Rangers, who have won nine of their last 11 home games and are 12-4-0 in their past 16 at Madison Square Garden.

    Shesterkin won his fifth straight and posted his second shutout this season. He nimbly denied Pittsburgh forward Mikael Granland with a sprawling save five minutes into the third period to preserve the shutout, the 10th of his career. His other one this season was a 1-0 home win over Philadelphia on Nov. 1.

    “When you put in hard and honest work, miracles happen,” Shesterkin said through a translator. ”We played wonderfully today – scored many, many goals. Honestly, I hope the fans loved it. We’re playing for them.”

    The Penguins lost their third straight and trail the Rangers by 12 points for third place in the Metropolitan Division. Pittsburgh, still in wild-card position, is trying to reach the playoffs for the 17th straight time.

    “Tonight was a humbling experience for all of us,” coach Mike Sullivan said. ”At this time of year, you have to have a short memory. We still have control of our destiny.”

    Patrick Kane and defenseman K’Andre Miller also had two assists apiece as New York improved to 7-1-1 in its last nine home games against Pittsburgh. The Rangers are five points behind the second-place New Jersey Devils, who lost at Florida on Saturday.

    “This was a big game for our goalie and our team,” Panarin said. “If you work at playing the right way, you have opportunities for goals.”

    Since Dec. 5, when they turned around their season with a 6-4 comeback win at home over St. Louis, the Rangers are 29-9-5.

    As he did on Thursday when the Rangers beat the Penguins 4-2, Zibanejad opened the scoring. He got his team-leading 36th goal at 5:10 of the first, beating Penguins goaltender Tristan Jarry. Trouba and Miller assisted.

    Panarin made it 2-0 at 19:49 on the power play, whipping the puck past Jarry from the left circle off a pass from Adam Fox.

    Tarasenko increased the lead at 3:54 of the second with his fifth goal since joining the Rangers in a trade with St. Louis on Feb. 9. Tarasenko has points in 10 of his first 18 games with the Rangers.

    Kreider made it 4-0 at 6:43 with his 31st goal and third in two games against the Penguins. Kane and Vincent Trocheck assisted on Kreider’s 260th career goal, which moved the Rangers forward within two of Vic Hadfield for fifth place on the franchise list.

    New York won Thursday when Kreider scored the go-ahead goal in the third and added an empty-netter.

    After Casey DeSmith replaced Jarry in net following Kreider’s goal, Trouba beat the replacement with a sharp-angle shot at 8:39 for his eighth to increase the margin to 5-0. Trouba has points in six of his last eight games.

    Panarin scored again at 16:38 of the second – his 22nd goal of the season – to make it 6-0, with assists to Kane and Filip Chytil.

    “We’re building chemistry, building every day and every game,” Kane said.

    Panarin has points in eight of his last 10 games and leads the Rangers with 77 points overall, while Kane has seven points in his last six games.

    “It’s nice to see that many great players on your team,” added Panarin, whose first two NHL seasons were played alongside Kane with the Chicago Blackhawks. “We’re happy tonight.”

    Zibanejad assisted on goals by Tarasenko and Trouba and has 25 points – including 14 goals – over his last 20 games.

    “It was just one of those nights when the puck goes in for us,” Zibanejad said. “And obviously Igor gives us a boost making all those saves.”

    NOTES: The Penguins were missing defenseman Jeff Petry after he was hit with an unpenalized elbow from Rangers forward Tyler Motte on Thursday. … Pittsburgh also scratched defenseman Jan Rutta and forward Dalton Heinen and played defenseman Mark Friedman for the first time since Feb. 11. … The Rangers were without injured defenseman Ryan Lindgren for the 10th straight game.


    Penguins: Host the Ottawa Senators on Monday.

    Rangers: Host the Nashville Predators on Sunday night.

    AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

    Coyotes sign Shane Doan’s son to entry-level contract

    Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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    TEMPE, Ariz. — Josh Doan is following his father’s footsteps into professional hockey.

    The Arizona Coyotes signed the 21-year-old forward to a three-year entry-level contract, beginning with the 2023-24 NHL season. He will report to the Tucson Roadrunners of the AHL and play his first game against the Calgary Wranglers.

    Doan’s father, Shane, played 21 seasons with the franchise, many of those as captain, and followed it from Winnipeg to the desert in 1996. Shane Doan now serves as Arizona’s chief hockey development officer.

    The Coyotes drafted Josh Doan in the second round of the 2021, but he opted to play for the hometown Arizona State Sun Devils.

    Josh Doan set school records for goals (12) and assists (25) as a freshman last season. He had 16 goals and 22 assists in 39 games with Arizona State this season.

    The 6-foot-1, 183-pounder also played two seasons for the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

    Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman has shoulder surgery

    Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

    CHICAGO — Chicago Blackhawks forward Cole Guttman had surgery on his right shoulder.

    The team said the operation was performed in Los Angeles. Team physician Michael Terry said the 23-year-old Guttman is expected “to be out of hockey activities for approximately four months.”

    Guttman had been a pleasant surprise for rebuilding Chicago. He made his NHL debut last month and finished the season with four goals and two assists in 14 games.

    Guttman was selected by Tampa Bay in the 2017 draft. He agreed to a two-year contract with Chicago in August 2022 that had a $950,000 salary cap hit.