TANKWATCH2018: Not a good night for the Canucks and their aspirations to finish in 31st, as the two teams beneath them lost in regulation. The last place Buffalo Sabres fell 5-2 to the Toronto Maple Leafs (who are without Auston Matthews and Frederik Andersen), and the Arizona Coyotes made it close but dropped a 3-2 decision to the Nashville Predators.
There’s three games to keep an eye on tonight for those of you tracking the race to the bottom: The Ottawa Senators are hosting the Dallas Stars, while the Detroit Red Wings are in Anaheim to take on the Ducks. While they’re a bit higher in the standings, the New York Islanders are playing the tail end of a back to back against Washington. The Caps took a 7-3 win in the first contest, one that featured Tom Wilson a whole lot.
You have to think the DoPS will be calling Wilson. He clearly leaves his feet in this hit on Cizikas. The Islanders responded later, with Cal Clutterbuck appearing to suggest rather than settling it with fisticuffs, that he would prefer to get into a ‘Who’s the bigger douche’ contest:
Clutterbuck is the hero Brooklyn needs right now pic.twitter.com/gQS6w5wtop— Buddy (@BudGSN) March 16, 2018
Yes, that’s Cal Clutterbuck giving Wilson a jab in the plums. Two wrongs don’t make a right, and both of these a-holes need to get the boot for this.
AROUND THE LEAGUE: Evgeni Malkin scored his 40th of the season, moving him to just two behind Alex Ovechkin for the Rocket Richard Trophy as his Penguins beat the Canadiens 5-3... The Florida Panthers got a 46 save shutout from James Reimer as they inched closer to a Wild Card spot, taking down the red-hot Boston Bruins 3-0. Since we’ve been covering douchebags, didn’t David Backes return from a 3 game suspension the other day? I wonder how his game went?
David Backes just got a match penalty for a hit from behind on this hit.— PRINCIPAL POINT CONTACTER (@bruinshockeynow) March 16, 2018
Yes, hit from behind. pic.twitter.com/zlrKRehFvJ
You’ll note the screen name of the Twitter account posting this. Obviously this Bruins fan feels that this was a clean hit because of course they do. And you may be wondering to yourself “How exactly is this a hit from behind?”, but I like the way this was called. Backes takes a run at Vincent Trocheck, who does not see him coming and as a result is completely vulnerable. Backes does not come North to South on Trocheck, but instead comes in from the side. Also, it’s literally impossible with this replay to state definitively that the head is not the primary point of contact (which is literally a BS argument anyway, because if the hit is on a vulnerable, unsuspecting player engaged with another opponent, it’s a dirty hit, full stop. Backes received a 2, 5 and 10 and the hearing is automatic because of the match penalty. The usual Bruins apologists are out in force over this one, and one of the funniest things is that it’s some kind of anti-Bruins conspiracy because Backes was never suspended before he came to Boston. As a fan of a team from the Western Conference, I can say confidently that just because a player hasn’t been suspended, it does not mean they’re not a douchebag. Remember, when Duncan Keith tried to take Daniel Sedin’s head off, his lack of suspensions was held us as some type of defence against him being a dirty player, despite a handful of videos that showed him targeting the heads of opponents and not being punished for them. Incompetence from on and off ice officials are to blame for that, but it doesn’t make the player any less dirty... Colorado continues to cling to a Wild Card spot with a 4-1 win over St Louis. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen each scored twice for the Avs... Cam Atkinson notched a hat trick as Columbus took down the Philadelphia Flyers 5-3. Columbus has now won 6 straight games... Patrik Laine extended his points streak to 14 games as the Winnipeg Jets beat Chicago 6-2. The streak is the longest for a teenager in NHL history... The Los Angeles Kings leapfrogged into 3rd place in the Pacific with, beating Detroit 4-1. Anze Kopitar had a goal and 2 assists in the win... 3 games to watch tonight feature Nashville in Colorado to take on the Avs. Both teams played last night, but you have to think the altitude will favour the home squad in this one. Minnesota tries to keep their grip on 3rd in the Central as they host the Vegas Golden Knights. And the Calgary Flames look to stay in the Western Conference Wild Card hunt as they host the San Jose Sharks. The Flames are 3 points back of Dallas, who hold the last spot in the West.