Bloody hit on Lars Eller overshadows Senators win over Canadiens, Blues take two-game series lead over the Kings, Red Wings even their series with the Ducks, Capitals down the Rangers, and more.
OTTAWA CITIZEN/MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Ottawa Senators scored three unanswered third period goals and Craig Anderson made 48 saves to down the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 and grab a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven conference quarterfinal.
Overshadowing the victory and Anderson’s stellar performance, however, was a blindside hit by Senators defenseman Eric Gryba on Canadiens forward Lars Eller which left Eller a bloody mess on the ice. Gryba received a five-minute major and a game misconduct, and faces a disciplinary hearing later today. The two clubs face each other again tonight for Game 2 in Montreal.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Viewing the replays, while Gryba’s hit is a blindside on Eller, he didn’t target the latter’s head; rather, there was incidental contact with Eller’s head, as Gryba’s intent appears to be the body of the Habs forward. Eller suffered his horrific injuries (concussion, broken nose, facial and dental fractures) striking the ice face-first. It remains to be seen how long Eller will be sidelined, but I’m guessing he’s out for at least the rest of this series. His absence is also a serious blow for the Canadiens, as he was their best center and had been enjoying a breakthrough season.
STLTODAY.COM/LOS ANGELES TIMES: Barrett Jackman’s goal with less than a minute remaining in the game lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the LA Kings and a 2-0 series lead heading to Los Angeles.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kings captain Dustin Brown is fortunate he didn’t injure Blues forward Jaden Schwartz with this hit or he would’ve been facing his second suspension in as many weeks. That would’ve further depleted the Kings sputtering offense, which has managed only two goals in this series thus far.
DETROIT NEWS/LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Detroit Red Wings blew a four-goal lead, but rookie Gustav Nyquist’s overtime goal (his first career NHL playoff goal) lifted the Wings to a 5-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks, knotting their series at a game apiece as the series shifts to Detroit.
WASHINGTON POST/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: The Capitals scored three unanswered goals in the second period overcoming an early 1-0 deficit to down the NY Rangers 3-1 and take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven conference quarterfinal. Braden Holtby made 35 saves for the win. The Rangers got a bit of good news, as playing in last night’s game means forward Mats Zuccarello becomes a restricted free agent this summer, rather than an unrestricted free agent.
TSN.CA: The NHL has suspended Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference one game for his hit to the head (elbow) of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mikhail Grabovski on Wednesday.
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW: Penguins captain Sidney Crosby skated with regular linemates Chris Kunitz and Pascal Dupuis on Thursday, but stil has no timetable for his return to game action. The Penguins face off against the NY Islanders tonight in Game Two of their conference quarterfinal
MERCURYNEWS.COM: It appears the mysterious injury sidelining San Jose Sharks forward Martin Havlat may have been a sneaky spear to the groin by Vancouver Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa during Game One of their conference quarterfinal series.
CSNCHICAGO.COM: Ray Emery and Dave Bolland remain sidelined as the Blackhawks face off tonight against the Minnesota Wild in Game Two of their conference quarterfinal.