Virtanen got a couple of games without pay or play for his blindside hit on Roman Polak. The NHL described the hit as a “late, forceful, blindside check.” It was his first offense and the fact that Polak was not injure may have saved him a game or two.
Keith on the other hand looks to be in serious trouble. He swung his stick viciously and connected with the head of Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle. The NHL is requesting an in-person hearing and that usually means at least five games. Keith has been suspended before and if he gets more than five games it will continue into the playoffs as the Blackhawks have only five games remaining in the regular season.
The outcome should be interesting and it could affect how the Blackhawks perform in the first round as Keith is their top defenseman.
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OTTAWA 2 WINNIPEG 1
Alex Chiasson’s eighth goal of the season was the winner as Ottawa picked up a rare win Wednesday.
Mark Scheifele continued his red hot pace in the second half as he scored the lone goal for the Jets. He now has 25 goals and has 52 points with 14 goals and 26 points coming in the last 21 games. He should be drafted fairly high next season as he has come into his own.
Blake Wheeler picked up his 49th assist of the season on Scheifele’s goal.
Andrew Hammond turned aside 20 shots to move his record to 7-9-4, a far cry from the 20-1-2 mark he recorded last season.
Michael Hutchinson took the loss as he was able to stop only 17 shots that were sent his way. He is 8-16-3 with a .905 save percentage and a 2.88 GAA.
Smith, Codi Cecil and Joel Armia led the way with four hits apiece.
PHILADELPHIA 2 WASHINGTON 1 (Shootout)
Nick Cousins and Sam Gagner scored the only two goals in the shootout to give the Flyers a 2-1 win over Washington and move two points up on the Detroit Red Wings for the final playoff spot, while still having a game in hand.
Evgeny Kuznetsov broke a five game pointless streak with his 54th assist of the season as he has 74 points in 76 games to lead the Capitals.
Steve Mason turned aside 29 shots and both in the shootout for his 21st victory of the season as he lowered his GAA to 2.49 while his save percentage is now .919.
Braden Holtby made 33 saves in the Washington cage but couldn’t match that effort in the shootout as he remains stuck on 46 wins, two in arrears of Martin Brodeur’s record for most wins in a season. He is now 46-9-5 with a 2.17 GAA and a .924 save percentage.
ANAHEIM 8 CALGARY 3
Ryan Kesler led an offensive explosion with a goal and three assists to spark Anaheim to an 8-3 win over the lowly Calgary Flames.
Mark Giordano led the Flames with a goal and an assist as T.J. Brodie also scored. Hunter Shinkaruk scored his first ever National Hockey League goal but it was in vain as the Flames were burned by the Ducks.
Jonas Hiller got the start between the pipes for Calgary but he was pulled after only 6:51 of the opening period as he gave up three goals on only five shots.
He was replaced by Niklas Backstrom who stopped just 17 of 22 shots in taking the loss as his record dropped to 2-2-1. He has a poor .836 save percentage and his GAA is poor as well at 4.16.
John Gibson got the win with 21 saves on a similar amount of shots but was taken off close to the halfway mark of the second period when he collided with teammate Shea Theodore. Frederik Andersen made only two saves on five shots in relief. The good news was that Gibson was well enough to start the third period and finish the game.
Ryan Getzlaf had a pair of assists.