Game recaps, plus updates on Patrick Kane, Henrik Zetterberg, Chris Kunitz, Steve Mason and more.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: The Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 win over the Florida Panthers was overshadowed by the loss of leading scorer Patrick Kane, who left the game in the first period after falling awkwardly against the boards from a small shove by Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic. Though there’s no official word yet on the injury and how long Kane will be sidelined, it’s rumored he suffered a broken collarbone and could miss between six-to-ten weeks.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s a serious blow for the Blackhawks. They have the depth in forwards to offset Kane’s absence, but his offensive production will be missed. Worst case scenario is he’s out until the start of the playoffs.
THE TENNESSEAN: The Nashville Predators downed the Colorado Avalanche 5-2, giving them a league-leading 89 points in 61 games, surpassing their point total of last season. They also have the league’s best home record at 26-3-1.
NEWSDAY: Kael Mouillierat scored his first NHL goal and collected his first assist to help the New York Islanders to a 5-1 win over the Arizona Coyotes. It was the Islanders 40th win of the season, which is only the fifth time since 1984-85 they’ve reached that mark.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s also the earliest they’ve reached 40 wins since 1983-84, when they won 50 games. At this pace the Isles should reach or exceed that number this season.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: The Kings picked up their eighth straight win as Justin Williams scored the game’s only goal and Jonathan Quick collected his 35th career shutout in a 1-0 blanking of the Detroit Red Wings. Earlier in the day, the Kings announced the re-signing of forward Jordan Nolan to a three-year, $2.85 million contract extension. He’ll earn $950k per season.
NEWSOBSERVER.COM: Cam Ward earned his 240th career NHL win in his 500th career game as he backstopped the Carolina Hurricanes to a 4-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
THE BUFFALO NEWS: The Sabres 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets was a costly one, losing forwards Zemgus Girgensons (right foot) and Tyler Ennis (upper body) to injuries. Girgensons appears the worst, taking a James Wisniewski slapshot off his foot.
NOTE: As always, games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner.”
DETROIT FREE PRESS: Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg still isn’t feeling 100 percent after taking a blow to the head from Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn in a recent game. He said he’s never had a concussion before and doesn’t believe he’s suffering from one right now, but he and the club prefer to address this situation with caution.
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: The Penguins hope reuniting winger Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin can spark Kunitz’s and the team’s recent poor offensive numbers.
CSNPHILLY.COM: Flyers starting goalie Steve Mason, currently recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, is hoping to return to the lineup by Saturday.
CSNNE.COM: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman maintains the league has received little feedback from fans suggesting they would like to see a CapGeek-style system of tracking player salaries and team payrolls on the NHL website.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If you disagree with the commissioner about this issue, why not tell him? Here’s the link: http://www.nhl.com/ice/feedback.htm?pageRef=/
SI.COM: More talk about the NHL expanding its playoff format from 16 to 20 teams.