Montreal (6-1-1) at Minnesota (6-2-1), 8:00 p.m. EDT
ST. PAUL, Minnesota (Ticker) -- The Montreal Canadiens begin a
four-game road trip on Thursday, when they visit the Minnesota
Wild in a clash between two of the league's hottest teams.
Montreal finished a fine 4-1-0 homestand with a 3-2 shootout
victory over the Carolina Hurricanes on Tuesday. Carey Price
stopped all three attempts he faced in the shootout and finished
with 31 saves in the win.
Canadiens captain Saku Koivu and defenseman Andrei Markov lead
the team with 10 points apiece, although both will have to start
a new scoring streak. Markov had recorded a point in seven
straight games before Tuesday's win, while Koivu had his
six-game points streak snapped.
Minnesota is looking to bounce back after a rare loss as it
dropped a 4-2 decision at Dallas on Wednesday.
Niklas Backstrom was pulled after allowing three first-period
goals on 13 shots for the Wild, who are 3-0-1 at home this
season. The Finnish netminder has started every game for
Minnesota thus far.
It will be Montreal's first visit to Minnesota since a 4-3
overtime loss on December 17, 2005.
Stars’ Sharp sidelined after suffering ‘concussion-like symptoms’ following huge hit
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 21, 2016
The Stars don't know exactly when they can expect Sharp’s return, which means yet another player has been added to Dallas’ growing injury list.
The Dallas Stars are going to be without Patrick Sharp, but they don’t know just how long the veteran winger will be on the shelf.
Sharp, 34, was forced to leave Thursday’s game against the Kings during the second period after being walloped along the boards by Los Angeles blueliner Brayden McNabb. Early in the frame, with Dallas on a power play, Sharp took a pass from Devin Shore and stepped over the blueline with Jeff Carter giving chase. In order to sidestep Carter, Sharp moved along the right wing boards where he was met with a solid jolt from McNabb.
No penalty was called on the play, and the replay shows that McNabb caught Sharp about as square on the shoulder as possible.
Regardless of how clean the hit may have been, though, Sharp immediately grabbed his head and was slow to get to his feet. He remained out on the power play for another 20 seconds before leaving the ice, but after heading to the bench, Sharp left the game. The Stars later announced he wouldn’t return due to “concussion-like symptoms,” and Stars coach Lindy Ruff said Sharp’s absence will go beyond Thursday’s game.
“Sharp will be out,” Ruff said, according to Mark Stepneski. “He missed the rest of the game on the hit but I don’t know what the time frame is.”
And even if Sharp is diagnosed with a concussion, that won’t make his timeframe for return any more clear. Unlike other injuries where it’s easier to gauge recovery times, a concussion can sideline a player for a few games or for months at a time.
The good news for Sharp, though, is that he doesn’t have a long history of serious head injures. In October 2010, Sharp, then with the Chicago Blackhawks, was forced out of the lineup with what was at the time called a “slight concussion,” but he returned after missing just one game and hasn’t missed any time with head injuries since.
The timing of the injury is brutal for Dallas, especially after an off-season in which seemingly none of their key top-six players could stay healthy. Already, the Stars are without Jiri Hudler (flu), Ales Hemsky (groin), Cody Eakin (knee), Mattias Janmark (knee) and Jason Dickinson (hip), so losing Sharp — and possibly Patrick Eaves, who also left the contest Thursday after a blocked shot — would be another serious blow to the dynamic Dallas offense.
Through four games this season, Sharp had mustered just one assist but had put 10 shots on goal.
Author: Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images
Alexei Kovalev makes comeback after two-year retirement, registers assist
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 18, 2016
Alexei Kovalev hadn’t played professional hockey in two seasons, but he suited up as an injury replacement Tuesday and picked up an assist. His night didn’t end well, though.
Alexei Kovalev has spent the past two years enjoying retirement, but duty called in the Swiss second league and the 43-year-old answered.
ECH Visp announced ahead of Tuesday’s game against EV Zug’s Academy team that Kovalev, who retired after a season with the team in 2013-14 was hired on to be the team’s manager this season, was going to be coming out of retirement as an injury replacement.
While Kovalev coming out of retirement may seem completely out of left field, it may not have been so shocking to those within the club. According to the team’s release, Kovalev had been suiting up with the squad in practice since the start of the season and with 26-year-old winger William Rapuzzi injured, Kovalev decided to jump back into the lineup.
And in his return to the ice after a two-year absence, Kovalev had quite the outing.
Just eight minutes into the game, Kovalev picked up an assist on the game’s opening goal by Jon Rheault, but it was mostly downhill from there for the veteran winger. Kovalev ended the first frame with a hooking minor and then found himself out of the game come the final minutes of the third period.
With less than five minutes remaining, Kovalev was whistled for a check from behind, handed a minor and game misconduct. After the misconduct, Kovalev would watch from the sideline as EV Zug won the contest in overtime.
Kovalev’s might get a second chance at suiting up for Visp, though. If Rapuzzi is out for the rest of the week, there’s a chance that Kovalev will suit up against HC Red Ice on Saturday, as that falls within the same one-week period.
During Kovalev’s final pro season with Visp, he was as dominant as one might expect, posting a gaudy 22 goals and 52 points in 44 games as a 41-year-old and adding another seven goals and 17 points in the post-season. Over the course of his NHL career, Kovalev played more than 1,300 games, scoring 430 goals and 1,029 points.
Capitals winger Daniel Winnik went into Thursday’s game with two ears but didn’t leave with both intact. A shot block in the third period “chewed up” a piece of Winnik’s right ear.
If blocking shots is an art, Washington Capitals winger Daniel Winnik put his body on the line to deliver the van Gogh of shot blocks in the Capitals’ 4-2 win over the Florida Panthers on Thursday.
Midway through the third period, with the Panthers on the power play and Winnik out on the penalty kill, the puck found Florida winger Reilly Smith’s tape. Smith worked his way to the middle of the ice to unleash a shot as Winnik dropped to the ice to block the attempt.
Smith’s shot stayed low and went right at Winnik’s head, and though the veteran winger was able to turn in time to avoid any serious damage to his face, the side of his head took the impact. After blocking the shot, Winnik stayed down for a short while before climbing to his feet and leaving the ice, but he was able to return before the end of the contest. Only problem was that when he returned he was missing part of his ear.
Yes, you read that right: Winnik went into the game with two whole ears, and left the contest with one and a bit. To hear Barry Trotz tell the story, one would be led to believe this is a completely normal occurrence.
Given that things could have ended much worse for Winnik had he not turned his head in time, he’ll probably be thankful that a small piece of his ear was the only casualty of the shot block. And no one can ever say he’s not willing to pay a physical price to win a game.
Author: Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images
Penguins put Pouliot on injured reserve, expected to be out for ‘a while’
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 21, 2016
Derrick Pouliot has struggled to find solid footing in the NHL, and the 22-year-old hit another bump in the road when he fell injured in his season debut Thursday.
The hope in Pittsburgh was that this would be the season that 2012 first-round pick Derrick Pouliot found his way into a full-time role and made an impact on the Penguins’ blueline. If that’s going to be the case, though, it’s going to have to come after Pouliot returns from injury.
Pouliot got his first crack at the lineup Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, and after playing 12:29 and registering one shot on goal through the first two periods of the contest, Pouliot was forced out of the remainder of the game with an undisclosed injury. Post-game, Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said he had no information about the injury to Pouliot, and the outlook doesn’t look good for the young rearguard.
It was announced Friday that Pouliot has been placed on injured reserve, and Penguins GM Jim Rutherford said he expects the 22-year-old to be sidelined for more than just a game or two.
Pouliot falling injured so early in this campaign makes for another bump in the road for the youngster, who has had big expectations surrounding him since being drafted eighth overall by the Penguins in 2012.
It took until the 2014-15 campaign for Pouliot to make his debut in the league, but he has found himself bouncing back and forth between the NHL and AHL for much of the past two seasons. In fact, Pouliot has seen a near equal split of time between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scrantion, the home of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate, but he hasn’t been able to translate his minor league performance to the big club.
In 57 NHL games, Pouliot has just two goals and 14 points and hasn’t been given a role as much more than a third-pairing or seventh defenseman, averaging less than 15:30 of ice time during the 2015-16 season. In the AHL, Pouliot has been much more successful, notching 14 goals and 47 points in 68 games while steadily skating top-four minutes.
With Pouliot sidelined, the Penguins have brought 26-year-old David Warsofsky up from the AHL. Warsofsky skated in 12 games with Pittsburgh in 2015-16, scoring one goal and averaging 17:45.