The Minnesota Wild and Nashville Predators can really clamp things down when they’re on task, yet the two teams are showing that they also boast the skill to score impressive goals.
Thursday featured a nice stretch of second-period tallies, as Craig Smith made his 20th goal one of those rare efforts:
While it wasn’t as exciting as Smith’s effort, Nino Niederreiter answered nicely, scoring his 20th as well in impressive fashion just a little more than a minute later:
The Wild carry a 3-2 lead into the third period. You can watch the game on NBCSN and also stream it via the link below:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
The mainstream hockey public might not be fully aware of how impressive the Nashville Predators have been this season, but Thursday is a chance to see Pekka Rinne & Co. in action.
The Minnesota Wild hope to spoil that impression and improve their playoff odds in the process. You can see this game – which is especially significant for Minnesota – on NBCSN but also by streaming via NBC Sports Live Extra.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Want more on this game? Read this preview from earlier today.
All the latest from the blue paint…
Zepp goes for Flyers
Philly will turn to Rob Zepp for the fourth straight game when it takes on the Leafs in Toronto this evening.
Zepp, 33, has fared reasonably well in his first-ever NHL campaign. He’s posted a 5-2-0 record, though his GAA (2.80) and save percentage (.893) leave something to be desired.
At the same time, the Flyers need wins right now — they head into tonight’s action four points back of Boston for the final wild card spot in the Eastern Conference — and Zepp has provided those; he’s won two of his last three starts, which included impressive victories against the NHL-leading Predators and Washington, who currently holds the east’s other wild card.
For Toronto, Jonathan Bernier will be in goal.
Canucks at Sabres: Eddie Lack vs. Michal Neuvirth (more here)
Coyotes at Rangers: Mike Smith vs. Cam Talbot
Habs at Jackets: Carey Price vs. Curtis McElhinney
Hawks at Panthers: (No word on a Chicago starter yet) vs. Roberto Luongo
Blues at Jets: Brian Elliott vs. Michael Hutchinson
Wild at Preds: (Devan Dubnyk likely) vs. Pekka Rinne
Sens at Kings: (No word on an Ottawa starter yet) vs. Jonathan Quick
Wings at Sharks: (No word on a Detroit starter yet vs. Antti Niemi
Buffalo’s Michal Neuvirth has become the sixth player — and first goalie — to be fined for diving this season, the NHL announced on Wednesday:
Neuvirth was issued a Warning following an incident flagged by NHL Hockey Operations during NHL Game No. 251 vs. Toronto on Nov. 15. His second Citation, which triggered the $2,000 fine, was issued for an incident during NHL Game No. 886 vs. Nashville on Feb. 22.
Predators forward Mike Santorelli received a minor penalty for interference on the goaltender on the play, at 2:23 of the second period.
The incident involving Santorelli that led to the fine:
With that, Neuvirth joins Montreal’s P.K. Subban, the Islanders’ Cal Clutterbuck, Detroit’s Gustav Nyquist, Florida’s Vincent Trocheck and Nashville’s James Neal as the six players to be publicly outed as divers, under new rules put forth by the league this season.
Last spring during the Stanley Cup playoffs, we all witnessed as Patrick Roy pulled his goalie far quicker than most coaches would, giving his Colorado Avalanche an extended advantage with the extra skater.
He took that to a new level Tuesday against the Nashville Predators. With the Avalanche on a power play and trailing by three goals, Roy pulled Reto Berra with around 12 minutes remaining in the third period.
It backfired. Eric Nystrom scored into the empty net for the short-handed goal. That made it 5-1 Nashville.
The Predators defeated the Avalanche 5-2.