All posts by Sean O'Leary

Bergeron, Rielly, Aho named NHL’s 3 stars of the week

Boston Bruins forward Patrice Bergeron, Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly, and Carolina Hurricanes forward Sebastian Aho have been named the NHL's three stars for the second week of the 2018-19 season.

The first star, Bergeron registered nine points (four goals, five assists) over three games for the Bruins, including his fourth career hat trick in the club's home opener.

Rielly continued to be a key contributor for the Maple Leafs' scorching offense. He racked up one goal and six assists over three games in the week to sit second in the league's scoring race with 13 points.

Aho was named the third star after collecting three goals and four assists across three games for the surging Hurricanes. The 21-year-old became the sixth player in Hurricanes/Whalers franchise history to open a season with a point in six consecutive contests.

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Pens’ Schultz expected to miss 4 months with fractured leg

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Justin Schultz is expected to miss the next four months after undergoing surgery to repair a fracture in his lower left leg, general manager Jim Rutherford announced Monday.

Schultz was helped off the ice by teammates during Saturday's game against the Montreal Canadiens in the first period after an awkward collision along the boards with Tomas Plekanec.

The 28-year-old plays a massive role on Pittsburgh's blue line and recorded four assists in four games to open the season before his injury.

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Pettersson out with concussion from Matheson hit

Vancouver Canucks rookie sensation Elias Pettersson is in concussion protocol after he was driven into the boards and slammed to the ice by Florida Panthers defenseman Mike Matheson on Saturday, head coach Travis Green confirmed Monday.

There's no clear timeline on a return, but TSN's Bob McKenzie reports it'll be a minimum of seven-to-10 days as he recovers from his symptoms.

Here's Matheson's hit on Pettersson:

Following the game, Canucks head coach Travis Green labeled the hit a dirty play, while teammate Sven Baertschi likened the collision to one he'd see in the WWE.

Matheson will have a phone hearing with the NHL's Department of Player Safety on Monday over the hit.

Before the injury, Pettersson had recorded five goals and eight points in the first five games of his NHL career.

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Rielly sets modern-era record for points by defenseman in 1st 5 games

Morgan Rielly's red-hot start to the 2018-19 season has earned him a spot in the NHL's history books.

With a goal and an assist on Thursday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs top-pairing blue-liner bumped up his point total to 12, making him the highest-scoring defenseman in the NHL's modern era (since 1943) through five contests, per Sportsnet Stats.

Here's a look at the names he passed:

Rielly now sits ahead of some legendary defenseman, and he's also tied with teammate Auston Matthews for the league lead in points.

Rielly, 24, broke out offensively last season, posting a career-high 52 points in 72 games, and he looks poised to set a new personal benchmark in his sixth NHL campaign.

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Flyers’ Patrick out at least a week with upper-body injury

Philadelphia Flyers sophomore Nolan Patrick will be out of action for seven-to-10 days due to an upper-body injury, general manager Ron Hextall announced Thursday.

Patrick was injured in Wednesday's win over the Ottawa Senators. He left the contest after playing just 3:30 and was unable to return. He joins winger James van Riemsdyk, who was recently ruled out for five-to-six weeks, on the shelf as the Flyers' forward corps has been bitten early by injuries.

The 2017 second-overall pick recorded 30 points in his rookie season but hasn't found the scoresheet in four games to open the new campaign.

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Kuznetsov when asked if he’s a top 5 player: ‘I don’t give a s— about that’

Warning: Story contains course language

Fresh off a four-point performance in a Stanley Cup Final rematch against the Vegas Golden Knights, Evgeny Kuznetsov wasn't going to waste his time with player rankings.

After his dominant effort, which featured one goal and three primary helpers, Kuznetsov was asked if he's ever considered himself a top-five player in today's NHL.

"No, no. I don't give a shit about that," he said, per Stephen Whyno of The Associated Press.

While he can't be bothered with his place among the league's best, Kuzentsov's recently built a compelling case to put his name in the conversation he doesn't want to have. After recording a career-high 83 points in the 2017-18 regular season, the Capitals top center went on to lead all players in postseason scoring with 32 points in 24 games as Washington captured its first championship in franchise history.

The 26-year-old's follow-up act is off to a grand start, too, notching seven points in the first three games.

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Sharks’ DeBoer says Thornton’s knee has no structural damage

The San Jose Sharks received some good news on the status of Joe Thornton's aching knee, as the swelling that sent him to injured reserve on Sunday was apparently caused by an infection rather than structural damage, head coach Peter DeBoer told Paul Gackle of The Mercury News.

"Nothing structurally. It looks like an infection, put him on antibiotics," DeBoer said. "He should be fine."

Thornton experienced swelling after Friday's win over the Los Angeles Kings. He was then placed on IR and sent home from the club's four-game East Coast road trip for precautionary reasons.

At the earliest, Jumbo Joe could rejoin the Sharks on Oct. 14, but a firm timetable is still unclear. The update has to be considered a positive for the Sharks, though, as the 39-year-old has undergone two knee surgeries in the past 17 months.

Over the first two contests of the new season, Thornton recorded one assist and sits on the precipice of two personal milestones. With five more games played and three more goals, the No. 1 overall pick from the 1997 draft will reach 1,500 and 400, respectively, for his career.

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Matthews, Toews, Bishop named NHL’s 3 stars of opening week

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, and Dallas Stars netminder Ben Bishop have been named the NHL's three stars of the season's opening week.

Matthews has been lights out to start the new campaign, recording five goals and three assists in the Maple Leafs' first three games. He netted the overtime winner in the club's season opener and currently leads the NHL in both goals and points.

Toews appears poised for a major bounce-back season, as he's matched Matthews' five goals and has tacked on an assist for the Blackhawks during their 2-0-1 start.

Bishop has been a brick wall for the Stars early on, stopping 62 of 63 shots in his first two starts of the season.

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Matthews, Toews, Bishop named NHL’s 3 stars of opening week

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews, Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, and Dallas Stars netminder Ben Bishop have been named the NHL's three stars of the season's opening week.

Matthews has been lights out to start the new campaign, recording five goals and three assists in the Maple Leafs' first three games. He netted the overtime winner in the club's season opener and currently leads the NHL in both goals and points.

Toews appears poised for a major bounce-back season, as he's matched Matthews' five goals and has tacked on an assist for the Blackhawks during their 2-0-1 start.

Bishop has been a brick wall for the Stars early on, stopping 62 of 63 shots in his first two starts of the season.

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Luongo out 2-4 weeks with MCL injury

Florida Panthers netminder Roberto Luongo will be out longer than initially thought, as he's scheduled to miss two-to-four weeks with a Grade 1 MCL injury, head coach Bob Boughner said Monday.

On Sunday, it was reported that Luongo would miss at least a week after teammate Frank Vatrano fell on his leg in the Panthers' season opener.

With Luongo out, James Reimer will take over the starter role. Michael Hutchinson has been recalled from the AHL to serve as the backup.

The 39-year-old Luongo missed 27 games with a lower-body injury last season while posting a .929 save percentage across 33 starts. His health going forward will be a key factor for the Panthers and their playoff hopes.

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