- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy44 mins ago
The St. Louis Blues have Vladimir Tarasenko. The Minnesota Wild don’t. And it was this advantage that proved the difference for the Blues on their Saturday Game 2 first round 4-1 win over the Wild, on the scoreboard and on nightly highlight shows. Because when Tarasenko scores, it always looks amazing.
Tarasenko notched a hat trick against the Wild to even the series 1-1 as it heads back to Minnesota for Game 3.
"This is a win. This is 100 percent [a] win," Tarasenko said. "There's no time to celebrate. We have a tough couple games coming [up]. Just bring the good part and make the next step right now. We just win. It doesn't matter how many goals you have."
This was an important victory for the Blues after a Game 1 mis-step against the Wild. Most importantly, rookie goaltender Jake Allen bounced back with 24 saves on 25 Wild shots on goal in his third career NHL playoff start.
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- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy47 mins ago
Before the Pittsburgh Penguins’ Game 2 against the New York Rangers, Sportsnet had the latest in a series of “what’s wrong with Sidney Crosby?” segments, as the captain had one goal in his last 19 postseason games.
(He had nine assists in that span, but c’mon, that doesn’t fit the narrative.)
After the Penguins’ 4-3 win over the Rangers on Saturday night, the story changed: Sidney Crosby is still Sidney Crosby, with two goals in 4:39 late in the second period that blew open the game.
His first goal came on a backhand shot off a rebound, thanks to Patric Hornqvist’s strong drive to the net:
His second goal came on a diving tip off a Chris Kunitz shot:
Just like that, the Penguins had emphatically rallied from a 1-0 hole created by Derek Stepan’s first-period goal.
Was it perfect? Not at all. The Penguins took seven minor penalties, their second straight undisciplined game. But the Rangers managed only one power-play goal on seven chances, and the Penguins posted two power-play goals of their own via Brandon Sutter and Chris Kunitz.
Crosby also had a scary moment in the third period, colliding with Carl Hagelin of the Rangers.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy58 mins ago
Maybe Detroit coach Mike Babcock doesn’t have the magic touch after all. After tagging Petr Mrazek as the team’s starter for Game 1 against Tampa, and Mrazek coming up with a sterling performance, Mrazek turned into a pumpkin in Game 2. Or something like that.
Tampa won 5-1 to even the series at 1-1 and Mrazek was yanked after allowing four goals on 18 shots on goal.
"I think Petr played good, we have to give him a chance," Babcock said. "We didn’t make a lot of mistakes, but when we did, they capitalized, and you can’t expect your goalie to make all those saves. So it’s a five-game series now and we’ll focus on Game 3."
Maybe it was more Tampa’s offense and its fast forwards than Mrazek.
Just look at this absurd Tyler Johnson goal. Nice wheels:
"We knew we had to step up our [game] and we did, it’s nice to be able to contribute," Johnson said. "It was a physical game. We were frustrated we didn’t win Game 1 and I thought the guys came out with that spirit right away. Our mentality is to get better with every game."
He had two scores in the game.
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- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
Edmonton general manager Craig MacTavish was predictably pumped after his team won the NHL draft lottery and the chance to pick Connor McDavid at the 2015 selection process.
“Any team would have been over the moon about winning the lottery. We’re the same. It’s a game-changer,” he said.
Yes … it is perhaps. If there’s one organization that should caution success over drafting No. 1, it is Edmonton. Taylor Hall was a game-changer. Just like Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was. And Nail Yakupov – though maybe less than the previous two.
NHL Network launched an entire series about the Oilers and their rebuild. It premiered during the 2010-11 season. It was called Oil Change. It eventually ran its course. They could probably do it again.
And such is the issue with the Oilers, a team that has made a science of messing up top prospects. Nugent-Hopkins hasn’t progressed. Hall’s name was listed in trade rumors this year. Yakupov has been all over the place, though he has finally started to show his prodigious goal scoring gifts under new coach Todd Nelson.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy3 hrs ago
GM Tim Murray of the Buffalo Sabres knows there’s a silver lining to the NHL Draft Lottery.
He knows that the Edmonton Oilers’ winning the right to draft Connor McDavid – moving up to the No. 1 pick, from their third-worst record and third-best odds – leaves them with a chance to select Jack Eichel, a Boston University center and a franchise player in his own right.
“We're disappointed not to get 1st, but we're happy with 2nd. Two franchise-changing guys in this draft,” Murray said, via the Sabres.
But still … Saturday night was the end of a two-year journey for Murray and the Sabres. The prize at the end was McDavid. The consolation prize, as rewarding as it is, was Eichel.
"If you could have one or two, you would naturally want one,” he said, via Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun.
He added, "I'm disappointed for our fans."
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy4 hrs ago
The Edmonton Oilers won the Connor McDavid sweepstakes.
The Oilers’ card was pulled by NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly, as a team with the third worst record and an 11.5-percent chance to win the lottery took the top spot and the chance to draft the OHL super prospect.
“It’s going to affect your entire lineup, and getting the No. 1 pick is certainly going to fill a big hole in our lineup,” said Bill Scott, assistant general manager.
Taylor Hall is ready.
Hey @cmcdavid97 left shot black tape left side
The Buffalo Sabres will draft No. 2 overall, where center Jack Eichel awaits. But the meticulous dive to the bottom of the standings for Buffalo targeted McDavid, and this lottery loss will sting – especially given Edmonton’s good fortune in the lottery.
It will be the fourth time in six years the Oilers will draft first overall, having drafted Taylor Hall (2010), Ryan-Nugent Hopkins (2011) and Nail Yakupov (2012) – all of them great offensive talents, none of them on the level of McDavid.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy5 hrs ago
The NHL Draft Lottery is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on Saturday night, and there’s unprecedented hype for it. Connor McDavid, the brilliant junior hockey star, is the top prize; Jack Eichel, the brilliant NCAA hockey star, is a heck of a consolation prize.
Please join your friends at Puck Daddy and Yahoo Sports as we cover this historic event! Chat away!
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy5 hrs ago
Scott Darling was one reasons the Chicago Blackhawks came from behind and won Game 1 of their series against the Nashville Predators. He wasn’t rewarded for being the savior and was in his familiar position as backup in Friday's Game 2. But Corey Crawford faltered again and head coach Joel Quenneville decided to make a change.
“Scotty is coming off a spectacular outing,’’ Quenneville said ahead of Sunday’s Game 3, via the Sun Times. “I think his play is deserving of getting the start here at home.’’
Darling relieved Crawford after the first period in Game 1 and stopped all 42 shots he faced during Chicago’s 4-3 overtime win. Crawford allowed three goals in the opening period of Game 1 and all six in Game 2. This is either a change to wake up the guys playing in front of Darling and Crawford, a potential changing of the guard, or both.
But is it too early to turn to Darling? The series is only 1-1 and Game 2 was a one-goal game in the third period until a disastrous 2:19 span for the Blackhawks when Nashville scored three times.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy6 hrs ago
Calgary coach Bob Hartley has been fined $50,000 for the antics by his Flames during Friday’s Game 2 line brawl against Vancouver.
And the instigator penalty on Flames defenseman Deryk Engelland who racked up 42 penalty minutes in the third period of Friday’s 4-1 loss? Rescinded by the NHL.
Why was Hartley fined?
The fine was issued in accordance with By-Law 17.3 (a) for conduct prejudicial to or against the welfare of the League.
The language of that rule is amazing.
Here’s the video of what happened:
And this is not the first time Hartley was fined for the above stated rule. Remember that whole John Tortorella running into the Flames locker room thing last season? That was caused by Hartley starting his goons against Tortorella's Canucks, which led to a $25,000 fine against the Calgary coach.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
ANAHEIM – Talking to Ondrej Pavelec, there’s a certain sense he really wants the opportunity to backstop Winnipeg to a win in Game 2 against Anaheim. And it’s more than just a pro athlete cliché type thing.
In a corner of the Honda Center, when asked about his first playoff experience and what to expect in the second game, the 6-foot-3 Pavelec starts to motion more with his hands, his answer flowing through his entire body.
“That’s why you play hockey, to play those games,” he said. “We lost Game 1, but I thought we played a really good game and we know we can play those guys. For me, the atmosphere was great. The fans were great, I’m just excited to go play. That’s why you became a hockey player – to play for a Stanley Cup, right? So now it’s time.”