Recaps of Tuesday’s NHL games (those involving Canadian teams can be found in “Canadian Corner”), plus updates on the NHL Awards, participation in the Sochi Olympics and more.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/MERCURYNEWS.COM: The Chicago Blackhawks rallied from a 3-1 deficit to down the San Jose Sharks 5-3. Patrick Kane scored twice and Corey Crawford made 30 saves for the Blackhawks. The game was not without controversy, as Sharks defenseman Andrew Desjardins received a match penalty for what was in fact a clean hit on Jamal Mayers of the Sharks. The penalty has been rescinded by the league.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s the second phantom head shot penalty in the NHL in less than a week. St. Louis’ David Backes also received a match penalty, which was subsequently rescinded, for a clean hit on Detroit’s Kent Huskins.
LOS ANGELES TIMES/COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Justin Williams collected 3 assists and Mike Richards had a goal and an assist as the LA Kings doubled up the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-2. Richards and Blue Jackets forward Brandon Dubinsky renewed their physical rivalry from their Eastern Conference days, as the two dropped the gloves for a second period tilt after Dubinsky boarded Richards’ teammate Rob Scuderi.
PHILLY.COM/TAMPA BAY TIMES: Tom Sestito’s two goals were all the Philadelphia Flyers needed to edge the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1. Ilya Bryzgalov continued his solid play this season for the Flyers, kicking out 25 shots for the win. The game saw two notable fights, the first between the Lightning’s B.J. Crombeen and Zac Rinaldo, the second between Vincent Lecavalier tangling with Max Talbot.
THE TENNESSEAN/STLTODAY.COM: The struggling Nashville Predators offense came alive to pound the St. Louis Blues 6-1. Martin Erat led the way with a three-point effort (1G, 2 A) while Pekka Rinne turned aside 31 shots. Blues goalie Brian Elliott was given the hook after giving up four goals on 11 shots.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE/NEWSDAY: The Pittsburgh Penguins held off a late rally by the New York Islanders to emerge with a 4-2 win. Marc-Andre Fleury made 32 saves for the Penguins, whose captain, Sidney Crosby, took a puck to the nose in the second period, but later returned to the game. Michael Grabner and Brad Boyes were the goalscorers for the Islanders.
NJ.COM/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Martin Brodeur made 24 saves and David Clarkson scored twice as the New Jersey Devils beat the New York Rangers 3-1. Patrik Elias assisted on all three Devils goals. Chris Kreider netted the Rangers only goal.
ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: Viktor Fasth is mounting a challenge to Jonas Hiller for the Ducks starting goalie role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Forget about Vancouver, the real “goaltending controversy” in the Western Conference is in Anaheim.
NBC SPORTS PRO HOCKEY TALK: cited a report by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, who claimed NHL participation in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics is “just short of a foregone conclusion”.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s shouldn’t be any doubt. The last thing the NHL wants to do is pass up participation in the Sochi games, only to watch their Russian-born stars walk away from the NHL teams for two week to play for their country. That, in turn, could spur stars from other countries to do the same.
ESPN.COM: The NHL Awards won’t be held in Las Vegas this year, but it is expected the event will return there in 2014.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ve always found the NHL Awards show to be an awkward train wreck, more so since the event was moved to Vegas. The entertainment is lame, the banter forced, and the attempts at humor falls flat, while the players always look like they’d rather be at the poker tables or at their summer cottages.
DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche yesterday claimed forward Aaron Palushaj off waivers from the Montreal Canadiens.