|Evgeni Malkin's four-point performance against Philadelphia gave him seven points on the weekend. Malkin scores vs. Flyers|
Sunday’s four-point performance against Philadelphia gave Malkin seven points on the weekend, as he had two goals and an assist in Saturday’s 4-2 win against the Los Angeles Kings. The two games were the first his folks have watched him play since they arrived from Russia on a two-week trip.
"Hopefully we're going to win all these games and I'm going to play good," Malkin said, speaking through an interpreter. "I've never had a stretch like this over here in NHL or back in the Russian League.”
Few players have ever experienced a stretch like this. Malkin has 15 points during five consecutive multiple-point games and 21 points -- with eight goals -- in 10 games as Pittsburgh has gone 6-2-2 without injured captain Sidney Crosby.
"He's upgraded his game a big notch, so give him a lot of credit," said Pens coach Michel Therrien, whose team has won three straight. "He showed everyone that he is a great player. He is showing that he can be a great leader."
Malkin even admitted some displeasure for Philadelphia.
"When we play against them, we have problems like people throwing popcorn on our bench," Malkin said. "I don't really like to play against them. ... I don't like that team. It's something that's a little bit extra."
Popcorn? What, did Philly run out of batteries?
Three Out of Four Ain't Bad –Following Sunday’s 3-2 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals, the New York Rangers were taking a “glass-is-half-full” type of approach.
And why not?
Sure, the Blueshirts fell short of going 2-for-2 on a weekend trip that also featured a stop in Philadelphia. But they certainly could have fared worse than a 2-0 win against the Flyers and an overtime loss to the Caps.
"I think any time you're getting points, they can be significant at some point in time," said Rangers head coach Tom Renney. "We have to make sure that this one means a lot to us when we conclude our season. We would've liked to get two (points), naturally, but it wasn't so bad today."
As Igor says in “Young Frankenstein” … Could be worse. Could be raining.
Schneider – who left the Detroit Red Wings for the Anaheim Ducks via free agency last summer – returned to Joe Louis Arena and tallied a goal and an assist in a 3-2 victory. It wasn’t until his second-period goal that the boo birds arrived.
"I guess you expect a little bit. The fans treated me tremendously when I was here," Schneider said. "I hope there are no hard feelings."
That sound you hear is Red Wings faithful trying to flip over Schneider’s car.
Weekend At Burnsie’s – What a couple of days for Minnesota Wild defenseman Brent Burns.
First, he scores in overtime Saturday night to beat the New York Islanders. Then, he makes a gorgeous move in the shootout on Sunday to knock off the St. Louis Blues.
Burns, who stopped dead in his tracks just inches from the net before putting a forehand shot past Manny Legace, said he learned the move from his friend – Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Getzlaf.
The decision to go with Burns in the sixth round of the shootout certainly made Wild coach Jacques Lemaire look good. Not that he needs any help.
''First time on the shootout, and he made a great move,'' Lemaire said. ''He's been hot. We made the right choice and he made us look good.''
I Love L.A. – It’s been a long and winding road for Los Angeles Kings goalie Dan Cloutier.
The 31-year-old found himself in an NHL game for the first time since 2006, and he did not disappoint as the Kings earned a 3-2 shootout win over the host Columbus Blue Jackets.
Injuries and inconsistencies have prevented Cloutier from being the No. 1 goalie he wants to be. He had just four victories in 14 appearances for the American Hockey League’s Manchester Monarchs this season, with a 3.50 GAA and an .869 save percentage.
Sunday, though, he found himself in The Show. And he didn’t look out of place.
''I've waited a long time for this one,'' Cloutier said. ''I've been through a lot in the last couple of years. I'm pretty excited to come back up and get an opportunity to play.''
Home Groan – Wayne Gretzky has just about had it with his team’s inexplicable woes on home ice.
The Phoenix Coyotes fell to 11-13-2 at Jobing.com Arena with Sunday’s 6-3 loss to the Nashville Predators. To their credit, the Coyotes did rally from a 3-0 deficit. However, they also allowed three unanswered goals. Twice.
Captain Shane Doan agrees.
''We have to play with that same sense of urgency at home as on the road,'' Doan said. ''Our play at home is unacceptable.''
Hey, the New York Giants didn’t play well at home, either.
No, I’m not making a Stanley Cup prediction.
Welcome Back, Jonathan – The outcome wasn’t what he was looking for, but Jonathan Toews must have been smiling from ear to ear when he first skated onto the ice Sunday night at GM Place.
The Chicago Blackhawks’ stud rookie was inserted into the lineup at Vancouver after missing the previous 16 games with a sprained left knee. His team lost for the sixth time in seven games – a 3-2 shootout defeat – although it did pick up a point in the standings.
''We're not satisfied with a point,'' said Toews, who had an assist in his first game back. ''It's unfortunate we couldn't take advantage of that lucky bounce in the third.''
Get Well, Richard – This great game of ours became secondary the moment Olli Jokinen’s skate blade managed to find Richard Zednik’s neck during Sunday night’s game in Buffalo.
The Florida Panthers’ forward is resting comfortably at a Buffalo hospital this morning after one of the scariest moments in recent history – one that was reminiscent of the Clint Malarchuk incident back on March 22, 1989.
Truth be told, the Buffalo Sabres’ 5-3 win on Sunday night means very little in the grand scheme of things. What matters is that Richard Zednik is still with us. Yes, it was that scary. And yes, we sure hope nothing like it ever happens again.
The game was delayed for 15 minutes. Players looked both dazed and petrified.
''It was pretty solemn,” Sabres coach Lindy Ruff said. “There wasn't a lot being said. There was just more concern for Richard than anything else. ... When you see something like that, it isn't about playing anymore.''
Something tells me Ella Zednik is going to get a bear hug from Daddy in the very near future.
Get well soon, Richard.
Contact Brian Compton at: email@example.com.