Stars and Predators fight off elimination, Panthers re-sign Gudbranson & more in this morning’s collection of NHL headlines.
NHL Playoff Recaps and News.
NBC SPORTS/THE MERCURY NEWS: Viktor Arvidsson’s first career NHL playoff goal was a big one, as his backhander lifted the Nashville Predators to a 4-3 overtime win in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series against the San Jose Sharks. The victory forces a seventh game back in San Jose on Thursday. The Preds overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits to force overtime and set the stage for Arvidsson’s heroics. Predators left wing Colin Wilson extended his points streak to seven games with the game-tying goal. The Sharks also lost forward Matt Nieto to injury in the first period and is questionable for Game 7.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Preds showed a lot of character in this game, refusing to give up after falling behind twice in this game. It’s worth noting the home team has won every game in this series, which could work in the Sharks’ favor in Game 7.
DALLAS MORNING NEWS/STLTODAY.COM: Mattias Janmark, Vernon Fiddler and Jason Spezza scored in the first period and Kari Lehtonen made 35 saves as the Dallas Stars held on for a 3-2 Game 6 victory over the St. Louis Blues, forcing a seventh and deciding game on Wednesday in Dallas. The Stars chased goalie Brian Elliott out of the game, but went into a defensive shell following the opening period that nearly proved costly. Alex Steen and Patrik Berglund scored for the Blues, who outshot the Stars 37-14.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This was a big game for Lehtonen’s, who’s come under criticism for his inconsistency. If not for him, the Stars would’ve blown this game as the Blues dominated the second and third periods.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Matt Murray will be in goal for the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 6 of their series against the Washington Capitals. The Pens lead the series three games to two.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s the right call. Murray got them this far and has earned the right to start in this game. Some observers believe Marc-Andre Fleury should get the call because he has more playoff experience, but he hasn’t played in weeks. Murray didn’t play that badly in the Penguins’ Game 5 loss and replacing him now would suggest the coaching staff lacks confidence in him after one average performance.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Defense Brooks Orpik completed his three-game suspension and returns to action tonight in Game 6 against the Penguins.
Notable NHL Headlines
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers yesterday announced the re-signing of defenseman Erik Gudbranson to a one-year, $3.5 million contract, making him eligible for unrestricted free agency in July 2017. However, it comes with the understanding the Panthers intend to re-sign him to a longer-term deal in the near future, perhaps as early as January 2017. This move was done to provide financial flexibility as they pursue long-term deals with Vincent Trochek and Aaron Ekblad.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gudbranson’s getting a $1 million pay bump over the $2.5 million he earned this season. He obviously has a future beyond next season with the Panthers and has no problem with accepting a one-year deal if there’s a better one coming next year. The Panthers have over $55.7 million invested in 19 players for 2016-17. A new deal for Trochek, a restricted free agent this summer, could eat up between $4-$5 million of it. Ekblad is a restricted free agent next summer.
NBC SPORTS: cites a report by TSN’s Darren Dreger claiming former NHL head coach Marc Crawford will join the Ottawa Senators in an assistant coach role.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: So far there’s been no formal announcement yet by the Senators. Perhaps it will come today.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: Bruins forward Brad Marchand suffered an injury during Canada’s 8-0 win over Belarus at the World Championships. Canadian officials claim he re-aggravated a pre-tournament injury and is expected to be fine.
DETROIT FREE PRESS: The Red Wings shook up some of their coaching staff. “Longtime goaltending coach Jim Bedard will not return to the organization. Assistant coach Pat Ferschweiler will remain with the organization but be moved from behind the bench.”
BOSTON HERALD: Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey, an unrestricted free agent in August, said the Bruins will definitely be among the teams on his list of potential destinations.