Alex Ovechkin (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Author: The Hockey News
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin hits 50-goal plateau for sixth time in ten NHL seasons
By: Adam Proteau
Mar 31, 2015
Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin has been in the NHL for 10 seasons – and Tuesday against Carolina, he reached the 50-goal plateau for an incredible sixth time on a slick wrist shot past Cam Ward.
In his previous nine NHL seasons, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin reached or surpassed the 50-goal plateau five times. And the 29-year-old winger made it six times in 10 years with his 50th goal of the 2014-15 campaign.
The Capitals were home in Washington hosting the Carolina Hurricanes when their captain went to work 11 minutes into the first period, wiring a wrist shot past goalie Cam Ward:
Ovechkin's 50th gave him 472 career NHL goals (and 890 points) in 755 regular-season games. More importantly, it put the Caps up 2-0 on the Canes in a game that Washington needs in order to solidify its grip on a wild card playoff berth and potentially overtake Pittsburgh or the Islanders for second and/or third place in the Metropolitan Division.
Mike Smith suffers lower-body injury, Coyotes hoping it’s ‘short-term thing’
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 19, 2016
The Arizona Coyotes had to deal without Mike Smith for 40-plus games in 2015-16, and they’re hoping that’s not the case again after the veteran netminder suffered a lower-body injury.
Mike Smith’s strong finish to the past season had the Arizona Coyotes hoping their veteran starting netminder would have a stellar season in 2016-17. Unfortunately for Smith, though, yet another injury may derail his campaign before he even gets rolling.
Smith, 34, was forced out of Tuesday’s game against the Ottawa Senators during the third period with what the Coyotes are only calling a lower-body injury at this point. As Smith scrambled around the crease in the third, his left leg got caught under his own body as he attempted to push back to his right in the crease.
Smith immediately collapsed to the ice, flipped off his glove and was grabbing at his left leg as the referee signalled for help from the Coyotes bench. Smith was eventually helped off the ice and didn’t appear to be putting pressure on his left leg:
Following the game, Arizona coach Dave Tippett said it was too early to know exactly what was ailing Smith and said the netminder would be re-evaluated when the team arrived in Montreal ahead of Thursday’s meeting with the Canadiens.
Tippett said the injury “could be a short-term thing,” according to AZCentral’s Sarah McLellan, and that has to be the Coyotes’ hope considering how often Smith has had to battle injury over the past few seasons. Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, Smith has missed 67 games due to lower-body injuries, including a brutal 40-game absence during the 2015-16 campaign due to a core muscle injury.
If Smith can’t play for the foreseeable future, the reins will be handed to Louis Domingue, who made an impression on the Coyotes and the rest of the league last season as a rookie.
Domingue, 24, signed a two-year extension with Arizona in the off-season, and the sophomore netminder was expected to shoulder at least a part-time load for the Coyotes this coming campaign. In 39 games during the 2015-16 season, Domingue posted a 15-18-5 record with a 2.75 goals-against average and .912 save percentage.
That said, Domingue didn’t fare all too well in his season debut in relief of Smith. However, he was thrown into the fire. The first shot he faced was a point-blank attempt by Chris Kelly, which beat Domingue, and he finished out the game by allowing three goals on 11 shots in 11 minutes of action.
Dmitry Kulikov hits Jakub Voracek
Author: via Sportsnet/YouTube
Sabres’ Kulikov could be facing suspension for high, hard hit on Flyers’ Voracek
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 26, 2016
Dmitry Kulikov has a history with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, and they may be reacquainting themselves after the Sabres defenseman plowed through Flyers winger Jakub Voracek.
Buffalo Sabres defenseman Dmitry Kulikov, 25, has already had to miss one game this season due to injury, and he could find himself watching more action from the sidelines in the coming days thanks to a suspension.
In Tuesday’s game against the Flyers, Kulikov saw an opportunity to crunch Philadelphia winger Jakub Voracek and took it, but the Sabres blueliner may have crossed the line. After a turnover inside the Sabres’ zone, Voracek was able to corral the puck before throwing a quick backhand pass to Travis Konecny.
Voracek continued on after making his pass, but by the time he could swing his head around to see any oncoming defenders, he was caught by Kulikov, resulting in a huge open-ice collision. The hit jarred Voracek’s helmet loose and immediately drew a crowd. Take a look:
That sure looks like it could be worthy of supplemental discipline, especially on the reverse angle. Kulikov’s back skate appeared to come up off the ice as he went in for the hit on Voracek and the contact seemed to be primarily with Voracek’s head. The referees working the contest judged the play to be outside the lines of fair play, too, slapping Kulikov with a minor penalty for charging.
If the NHL’s Department of Player Safety does judge Kulikov’s hit to be worthy of supplemental discipline, it won’t be the first time they’ve spoken with the Russian rearguard. In February 2015, he was suspended four games for a low-bridge hit on Dallas Stars sniper Tyler Seguin.
Thankfully for the Flyers, Voracek was able to remain in the game after Kulikov’s hit, and he even got the last laugh. Philadelphia picked up a shootout victory over Buffalo, and it was Voracek who netted the winner.
Author: Kevin Sousa/NHLI via Getty Images
Watch Jonathan Drouin blister an unstoppable shot past Frederik Andersen
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 26, 2016
Both of Jonathan Drouin’s goals this season have come on picture perfect shots, and he looks like he could be on his way to a monster season for the Lightning.
Jonathan Drouin’s career-high goal total is four, but if his first six games this season are any indication, the Tampa Bay Lightning winger is going to absolutely smash that mark in 2016-17.
Drouin, 21, has scored four goals in each of the past two seasons, reaching the mark in 70 games in 2014-15 and 21 games in 2015-16, but through only a handful of games in the new campaign, he’s already halfway to his previous career high and scoring at a 27-goal pace. Given the shot he pumped past Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen Tuesday night, though, pegging Drouin for 27 goals seems low.
With four minutes left in the Lightning’s romp of the Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay on a power play, Drouin came down the right wing with two potential passing options and Matt Hunwick as the lone Toronto defender. In most instances, one might expect Drouin, most noted for his playmaking skills, to move the puck, but after looking off his two options, Drouin pulled back and unleashed a cannon of a slapshot over Andersen’s left shoulder:
It doesn’t matter who was in goal because that looked as though it would have beaten any goaltender. It’s the look off before the slapshot that really makes it so hard to stop.
It’s not just that Drouin is finding the back of the net, though. Through six games, he has now registered five points and is taking on a steady second-line role for the Lightning. His current scoring pace has him primed for a near 70-point season, which would see him more than double up his previous career-best of 32. Suffice to say the Lightning are probably quite pleased they were able to keep Drouin around.
Lightning’s Ben Bishop has two front teeth knocked out after puck to the mask
By: Jared Clinton
Oct 25, 2016
Toronto Maple Leafs winger Peter Holland did some impromptu dental work for Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop on Tuesday night.
No goaltender has the perfect career, and Ben Bishop is no different. Over the course of his time in the NHL, Bishop has lost his share of shutouts, games and series. That said, he lost something unexpected Tuesday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs: his two front teeth.
In the second period of the Lightning’s matchup against the Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay turned the puck over at their own blueline resulting in a decent scoring opportunity for Toronto winger Peter Holland. As Holland drove towards the net, he pulled the puck towards his body and used Lightning defenseman Andrej Sustr as a screen. Holland used the screen and wired a puck high, catching Bishop on the chin of his mask.
Right after Bishop took the shot to the face, there was immediate concern as he clutched at his face and fell to the ice. Play was blown dead almost instantly after Bishop fell forward and by the time training staff had reached Bishop, it was clear he had himself a new smile:
That’s quite the look for the Lightning netminder, and it’s good to see Bishop able to shake off what initially looked like a potentially scary injury. Let it never be said that Bishop isn’t tough, either, because while most players would have exited the contest for the remainder of the frame, Bishop hung tough and finished up the second period.