Stars’ Tyler Seguin likely sidelined for at least the first two games against Blues

Jared Clinton
Tyler Seguin (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The Dallas Stars lost Tyler Seguin in mid-March to an Achilles injury when the skate of Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman sliced the right ankle of the Stars winger. The diagnosis was that Seguin had a 15 percent cut to his Achilles tendon, and the belief was he would be out of action for 3-4 weeks.

Now, six weeks later, Seguin has played in just one game since the injury, skated nearly four minutes less than his average ice time when he did get into Game 2 against the Minnesota Wild and there seems to be another injury plaguing the 24-year-old. It’s not just that Seguin hasn’t played since Game 2, which was nearly two weeks ago, but that he’s struggled to even get back on the ice. And according to GM Jim Nill, it could still be a while before Seguin’s back in action.

“He can’t skate yet, I can say that,” Nill told the Dallas Morning News’ Mike Heika. “He’s day to day, and once he gets on the ice, it’s probably four to five days from there.” Read more

Lightning get good news as Stamkos practices, Stralman closing in on return

Jared Clinton
Jonathan Drouin, Steven Stamkos and Anton Stralman (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

The Tampa Bay Lightning came two wins shy of winning the Stanley Cup last season, but they’re already through Round One as the franchise chases its second championship. And as difficult as the pursuit of Cup No. 2 is going to be, the Lightning’s chances are going to improve that much more if they can start to get healthy as the playoff wear on.

Tampa Bay got some good news in that regard ahead of Game 1 of the second-round matchup against the New York Islanders.

At Tuesday’s practice, Steven Stamkos took the ice for the first time since undergoing surgery to remove a blood clot that was in his arm. The most incredible part about Stamkos’ return is that it comes three weeks after he had surgery to remove the clot, which is one week ahead of what was given as the earliest timeline for return, and well ahead of the worst-case scenario, which was a three-month absence from the lineup for Stamkos.

Stamkos took part in line rushes, but sat out contact drills. The issue moving forward will be when Stamkos will be cleared for contact, and there’s no definite timeline on when that could be. According to the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith, Stamkos said the “million dollar question” will be how long he needs to remain on blood thinners before getting back in the lineup. Read more

Penguins’ Fleury calls concussion ‘one of the toughest things’ of his career

Jared Clinton
Marc-Andre Fleury (Gregory Shamus/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Penguins are preparing to head to Washington to play the rival Capitals in the second round of the post-season, and while nothing is set in stone, goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury might not be able to suit up for Pittsburgh in Game 1 as he’s still battling back from a concussion.

Fleury, 31, has been sidelined since the beginning of April with a concussion, and he told media Monday that he’s still experiencing some of the symptoms of the head injury. Fleury’s concussion dates back to a March 31 game against the Nashville Predators, and it was the second time this season — and second time in four months — that Fleury sustained a head injury. The first concussion caused him to miss eight games and he’s already in double digits with the current injury.

“It’s one of the toughest things I’ve been though,” Fleury said. “There are some good days where you think you’re back, and bad days where you think it’s never going to get fixed. Lots of ups and downs. And in the playoffs, it’s such a fun time of year to play hockey and every game is so intense and meaningful. It’s tough to just be watching.” Read more

Panthers without Bjugstad for Game 6, listed as day-to-day after frightening injury

Jared Clinton
Nick Bjugstad (via Sportsnet/YouTube)

The Florida Panthers face their first must-win game of the post-season Sunday evening, and if the Cats are going to extend their season they’ll need to do it without one of their young impact players.

Panthers center Nick Bjugstad has been ruled out of Game 6 after suffering a scary injury during the second overtime period of Game 5. When chasing a puck in the New York Islanders’ zone during Friday’s game, Bjugstad toe-picked as he approached the boards and slammed headfirst into the half wall. Immediately, Bjugstad was clutching his head and he needed to be helped off the ice by teammates and the Panthers’ training staff: Read more

Tyler Seguin, Marc-Andre Fleury sidelined at least one more game each

Tyler Seguin (Norm Hall/NHLI via Getty Images)

Two teams in control of their respective series must soldier on without key contributors for at least one more game in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Dallas Stars center and second-leading regular season scorer Tyler Seguin will officially miss Game 5 against the Minnesota Wild as he continues to recover from his lacerated Achilles, reports Stars beat writer and THN correspondent Mike Heika. Seguin sustained the injury March 17 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and missed a month, returning only for Game 2 against Minnesota April 16.

Did Seguin aggravate his injury by returning too early last week? Not exactly, reports Heika. He asked coach Lindy Ruff and got the following answer: “Not his injury, but this is kind of related and might be kind of a fallout of all of the sudden playing at a high pace.”

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Penguins should not start Marc-Andre Fleury in Game 2, no matter what

Marc-Andre Fleury. (Derek Leung/Getty Images)

The Pittsburgh Penguins could not have wished a better Game 1 result into existence than what occurred Wednesday night versus the New York Rangers. The Pens won on home ice, Patric Hornqvist notched a hat trick, and captain Sidney Crosby exploded the highlight reels with a beautiful breakaway goal.

And between the pipes is where things really broke Pittsburgh’s way. Third-string goaltender Jeff Zatkoff was forced into duty for Game 1 with Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) and Matt Murray (head) unavailable. Zatkoff had a strong case for jitters considering he’d never played a minute of NHL playoff hockey before. To make matters worse, he’d start opposite future Hall of Famer Henrik Lundqvist.

But the adage, “that’s why they play the games” rang true Wednesday. Lundqvist lasted one period. A stick in the eye through his mask forced him out of the game after he returned briefly. Zatkoff was superb in the Pittsburgh net, turning aside 35 of 37 shots and making several bookmark-worthy saves.

Game 1 was a basket of puppies for the Penguins – and it creates a conundrum for Game 2. Starting goalie Marc-Andre Fleury practised Friday and has a chance to return for Game 2. But have the Penguins suddenly gained the luxury of resting Fleury at least one more game, even if he’s cleared to play?

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Update: Flyers’ Couturier knocked out of series after big hit by Capitals’ Ovechkin

Sean Couturier (via NHL/Streamable)

Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin didn’t make an impact on the score sheet in Game 1 against the Philadelphia Flyers, but his physical play may have helped shift the series further in Washington’s favor.

Ovechkin’s big hit came midway through the second period when he was chasing Sean Couturier through the neutral zone. As Couturier laid a puck back into the middle of the ice that was intended for Brayden Schenn, Ovechkin caught up to the Flyers center and shoved him into the boards. The hit resulted in Couturier crashing into the boards shoulder first, and it was immediately evident Couturier was in pain. He remained on the ice for a few seconds, but was nursing his left shoulder. Read more

Team speed and goaltending give Penguins decided advantage in Game 1

Patric Hornqvist, Antti Raanta, Phil Kessel  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

Going into their first round playoff series, the New York Rangers had two decided advantages over the Pittsburgh Penguins. One of them was in goal and the other was that Sidney Crosby hadn’t exactly been a force in the playoffs against the Rangers.

Funny how things go in the playoffs. It took almost no time for things to be turned on their ear and for those two advantages for the Rangers to be extinguished by the Penguins. Jeff Zatkoff, a 28-year-old minor leaguer who has a 3-8-0 record and a 4.26 goals-against average in the American League playoffs, is the second-last player listed in the NHL Guide and Record Book. And he was probably the last player anyone would have expected to emerge as a hero in Game 1 of the NHL playoffs.

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