Game recaps, the Flyers re-sign Nick Schultz, plus updates on Nicklas Backstrom, Ryan McDonagh and more.
MLIVE.COM: Jimmy Howard collected his first shootout win in eight attempts this season, backstopping the Detroit Red Wings to a 3-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Los Angeles Kings won their six straight game, downing the Colorado Avalanche 4-1. Jeff Carter scored twice and Jonathan Quick made 42 saves for the win.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Anton Stralman, Nikita Kucherov, Tyler Johnson and Stephen Stamkos scored to give the Tampa Bay Lightning a 4-1 win over the now-struggling Anaheim Ducks. The win puts the Lightning into a tie with Montreal for first in the Eastern Conference.
Note: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
PHILLY.COM: The Philadelphia Flyers re-signed defenseman Nick Schultz to a two-year, $4.5 million contract. Schultz was eligible for unrestricted free agency in July.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signed as a spare last summer, Schultz saved his NHL career with his solid performance on the otherwise porous Flyers defense corps. It’s an affordable deal by the Flyers, who desperately need stability on the blueline. Schultz could also take on the role of mentor for the young blueliners the Flyers could bring up next season.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Despite lack of all-star recognition, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom continues to dazzle.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Backstrom plays in the shadow of his superstar linemate Alexander Ovechkin, which explains why he’s been unfairly passed over for all-star recognition.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Ryan McDonagh has struggled with inconsistency after returning from an early-season injury, but his confident play was crucial in the Rangers recent win over the New York Islanders.
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS: The San Jose Sharks’ struggles through February are threatening their playoff hopes. GM Doug Wilson says now’s the time for his club to reverse their fortunes.
NBC SPORTS: There’s concern among some NHL general managers that the players won’t use their five percent escalator clause to bump up the salary cap for next season. That could result in trades involving unrestricted free agents near the trade deadline instead of players with term on their contracts.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the players vote against the escalator clause, the salary cap could actually drop to $68 million. The reason they could do that is their unhappiness over the high percentage of escrow being clawed back from their salaries. It recently rose to 16 percent for this quarter of the season. While such a move could hurt players who are eligible for free agent status this summer, over 500 NHL players are under contract for next season, and they’re the ones who will ultimately influence the outcome of the vote.