Though the Blues have had to deal with a season’s worth of injuries before they had even reached the 20-game mark, St. Louis has managed to stay atop the Central Division. Through 20 games, the Blues have 27 points, just five back of the vastly improved Dallas Stars.
One major reason St. Louis has been able to keep pace in the Central is the play of goaltender Jake Allen. Allen, 25, entered the season with some uncertainty about where exactly he fit on the depth chart, but he’s battled against veteran Brian Elliott and it appears Allen is putting his stamp on the No. 1 job more and more each game. Case in point, this stop on Buffalo Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly.
With the Blues leading the Sabres 1-0 in the first frame, O’Reilly created havoc in front of the St. Louis goal and was able to knock a rebound loose. Allen was out of position when O’Reilly fired the rebound back towards the net, but a quick stick from Allen made sure the puck stayed out of the net: Read more
After four scoreless games and a couple of called-back goals, Alex Ovechkin is officially the highest scoring Russian born player in NHL history.
Ovechkin came into Thursday’s contest against the Dallas Stars stuck at 483 career goals, tied with former teammate Sergei Fedorov for the most all-time by a Russian player in the NHL. In the third period, Ovechkin finally found the goal to give him his piece of history, though. As part of a net front scramble, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom made a nifty no-look backhand pass that landed right on Ovechkin’s tape for a no-doubter: Read more
Finnish goaltender Teemu Lassila has accomplished a lot in his career. He has been a medalist in Finland’s Liiga, he’s won goaltender of the month honors in the KHL and he’s even captured World Championship gold. But when the 32-year-old netminder retires, one of the plays he’ll likely be best remembered for is an ugly slash to the face of an opponent.
In Wednesday’s Liiga game between Lassila’s TPS Turku and Porin Assat, Lassila was out to play the puck behind his net with former NHLer Josh Gratton skating towards him. Lassila beat Gratton to the puck and was able to move it up the boards, but after getting a slight bump from Gratton, Lassila swung his stick violently and caught Gratton in the face with the back edge of the paddle: Read more
Pittsburgh defenseman Olli Maatta will miss between 3-4 weeks after he suffered what the Penguins are calling an upper-body injury following a violent collision with the boards Tuesday night.
The injury, which was gruesome to watch, came when Maatta slammed hard into an opening door on the Minnesota bench after he was given a shove by Wild winger Nino Niederreiter. The impact left Maatta down on the bench wincing in pain and he had to be helped down the Wild’s tunnel by the training staff of the Penguins. After making his way back to the dressing room, Maatta was reportedly taken to the hospital on a stretcher.
Maatta, 21, remained in hospital Tuesday night and for much of the morning Wednesday, but was released shortly before noon when his 3-4 week timeline for return was announced by Penguins GM Jim Rutherford. Read more
The naysayers of Chicago netminder Corey Crawford have made a point of picking out his glove hand as his greatest weakness over the past several seasons, but it was that very same glove that was a game-saver for the Blackhawks Wednesday night.
After the Oilers had clawed back twice in the third period and knotted the game at three, Chicago and Edmonton headed to overtime. And it was in the extra frame that Crawford came up huge and almost singlehandedly helped the Blackhawks extend their winning streak to three games.
Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl was streaking down the left wing when he fired a perfect pass to Taylor Hall who had nearly the whole net to shoot at. Hall loaded up, fired and watched as Crawford flashed the leather to take away what very well should have been the overtime winner: Read more
Antti Niemi is still getting adjusted to life in Dallas, and it appears the Stars’ equipment managers are still getting used to have Niemi around. Case in point: Niemi hit the ice for warmups Tuesday with his name hilariously misspelled.
There were more than a few of those in attendance who caught the Stars’ gaffe, and that includes the MSG crew who were broadcasting the game for the hometown Buffalo Sabres. Leave it to Sabres all-time great play-by-play announcer Rick Jeanneret to point out the error in spelling like only he could: Read more
Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has dropped the gloves with some regularity in his career, but his fight with Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher might be one he remembers for a long time.
In Tuesday’s game, Bieksa and Fisher were tangled up after a whistle in the Predators’ zone and came to blows. According to HockeyFights.com, Bieksa has had more than 50 fights in the NHL, while Fisher’s battle with Bieksa was the 31st time he had dropped the gloves in his NHL career. The tilt itself was quite substantial, lasting more than 30 seconds with both players exchanging pucnhes. The moment Bieksa will remember, though, came early in the scrap when Fisher connected with a short right jab: Read more
If there has ever been a regular season contest where all eyes were on Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin, Tuesday night’s matchup with the Minnesota Wild may have been it.
Saturday, after the Penguins dropped their second in a row and third in four games, Malkin told media that the team doesn’t play right and doesn’t play hard before adding, “We’re mad at each other.” Malkin has since clarified his comments saying he misspoke and instead meant the team wasn’t happy with how they were playing.
How did Malkin respond in his first game since his comments Saturday? He drew the primary assist on the Penguins’ first goal of the night, then picked up the primary helper on Beau Bennett’s power play tally before Malkin scored one of his own eight minutes into the second frame. But he capped his night with a remarkable game-winning goal: Read more