Blue Jackets, Blackhawks and Stars all tie their respective series, Matt Cooke suspended again, plus updates on Henrik Zetterberg, Steve Mason and more.
COLUMBUS DISPATCH/TRIBLIVE.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury gave up two soft goals (to Brandon Dubinsky late in the third and Nick Foligno in overtime) as the Penguins blew a 3-0 lead while the Blue Jackets rallied to win 4-3 to tie the series 2-2. TribLive.com columnist Dejan Kovacevic refused to hang the blame for the loss on Fleury, pointing out he’s been the Penguins best player throughout the series.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That won’t prevent fans and other pundits from suggesting Fleury’s performance late in Game Four is the sign of another imminent meltdown. Kovacevic is right, however, in pointing out his teammates were more responsible for blowing that lead, and for struggling overall in this series. The Blue Jackets have now made the series a best-of-three, they’ve outworked the Penguins for most of it, and now believe they can pull off the upset.
CHICAGO TRIBUNE/STLTODAY.COM: Patrick Kane scored in overtime to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues, knotting their series at two games apiece. The Blues had held a 2-0 series lead before it shifted to Chicago.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS/LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Dallas Stars tallied four unanswered goals overcoming an early 2-0 deficit to down the Anaheim Ducks 4-2, squaring their best-of-seven divisional semifinal at two games apiece.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen was pulled in favor of Jonas Hiller. It’ll be interesting to see who gets the start for the Ducks in Game Five.
TWINCITIES.COM: The good news is the NHL suspended Matt Cooke for kneeing Colorado’s Tyson Barrie. The bad news is Cooke, who has a lengthy suspension history, received only a seven-game suspension.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s not a slap on the wrist, but I believe he should’ve received much more than seven games.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings face a do-or-die scenario when they face off in Game Four against the San Jose Sharks. Down three games to none, the Kings are on the verge of elimination.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Flyers goalie Steve Mason (upper-body injury) has “no expectations” of starting Game Four against the NY Rangers. Mason was Ray Emery’s backup in Game Three.
MLIVE.COM: Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery) had his first good practice but remains questionable for Game Four against the Boston Bruins in their divisional semifinal.
TSN.CA: Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon, along with Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat, are the finalist for the 2014 Calder Trophy.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m surprised Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta wasn’t a finalist. He had a terrific NHL debut.
THE GLOBE AND MAIL: James Mirtle explains why hockey analytics is here to stay.