Playoff game recaps, Capitals’ Orpik suspended, Masterton Trophy nominees revealed & more in today’s collection of notable NHL morning headlines.
NHL Playoff Recaps
ST.LOUIS POST-DISPATCH/THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: St. Louis Blues captain David Backes gave himself a present on his 32nd birthday by scoring in overtime to lift his club to a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars to even their best-of-seven series at a game apiece. The Blues had taken a 3-1 lead in the first period, prompting the Stars to lift goalie Kari Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi. The move seemed to provide a spark for the Stars, who forced overtime on third-period goals by Mattias Janmark and Jamie Benn. Blues goalie Brian Elliott had a moment of concern when a Jason Spezza slapshot struck him in the mask hard enough to dislodge one of his contact lenses. Fortunately, Elliott was unhurt and able to continue the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: A significant win for the Blues to avoid falling into a 2-0 deficit as the series shifts to St. Louis for the next two games. The Blues seemed to have everything going their way until the third period, when the Stars rallied back to tie the game. Speaking of the Stars, their special teams (especially their power play) struggled in this one. They certainly miss sidelined forwards Tyler Seguin and Patrick Eaves on the PP.
THE MERCURY NEWS/YAHOO SPORTS: Joe Pavelski scored the go-ahead and Martin Jones made 37 saves to give the San Jose Sharks a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators, taking a 2-0 lead in their best-of-seven series. Joe Thornton’s empty-netter proved to be the winner as the Predators Ryan Johnansen scored with 3.2 seconds remaining in the game. Sharks defenseman Marc-Edouard Vlasic had a scary moment when a Shea Weber slapshot struck him directly on the visor. Though shaken up, Vlasic left the ice on his own and would return to the game.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can you imagine how seriously injured Vlasic would’ve been if not for his visor? On second thought, don’t try to imagine it because it’s too horrifying. Anyway, the Sharks now carry a significant lead to Nashville, where Games 3 and 4 of this series will be played. The Predators must win both of those or risk either elimination on home ice or falling into a 3-1 series deficit with the series returning to San Jose for Game 5.
Notable NHL Headlines.
NHL.COM: Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr, New York Rangers winger Mats Zuccarello and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Pascal Dupuis are this year’s finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy.
THE WASHINGTON POST: Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik was suspended for three games for interference on Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta in Game Two of their best-of-seven series.
TRIBLIVE.COM: Penguins blueliners Justin Schultz or Derrick Pouliot could take Maatta’s place for Game 3 of their series against the Capitals. No word on how long Maatta will be sidelined.
TAMPA BAY TIMES: Jonathan Drouin’s trade holdout served as a wakeup call for the young winger, whose performance has noticeably improved since returning to the lineup.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once a fixture in the trade rumor mill, Drouin’s performance has prompted many observers now suggesting he might not be dealt after all.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS: Islanders head coach Jack Capuano isn’t satisfied with the work of his power-play unit thus far in their series against the Lightning.