Toni Lydman got absolutely decked in Game Three.
Will Anaheim Ducks defenseman Toni Lydman miss more time than Justin Abdelkader will for hurting him?
That’s a very real possibility.
Abdelkaber received a two-game suspension for his high hit on Lydman in Game Three and the Duck blueliner will definitely not play in Game Four Monday as a result of his head injury.
Further, Lydman’s status for the rest of the series is in doubt.
Did Abdelkaber’s hit warrant the suspension?
You be the judge.
With Lydman out, Sheldon Souray will suit up. Souray was a healthy scratch in Game Three after a pair of awful penalties in Game Two — including one that led to Detroit’s overtime winner. His offensive upside, however, is unquestioned.
Abdelkaber sounded remorseful for the hit and said he’s learned his lesson: “You’ve got to really get low on the hits. You can’t get anywhere near the head.”
No kidding, dude.
With Abdelkader out, Todd Bertuzzi gets another shot, although he played so sparingly in Game Two that he barely made a blip. The big beneficiary of Abdelkader’s suspension is Mikael Samuelsson, who will shift up to the Wings’ top line. Samuelsson has had an injury-plagued season, and he just made his playoff debut in Game Three, so the rust is still being shaken off. He took one penalty and managed a couple of shots on goal, but Detroit could sure use the Vancouver version of Samuelsson if it is going to come back in this series.
While Detroit got shut out and looked pretty awful at home in Game Three, it’s just one win away from turning this into a best of three series, so there’s really no need to panic — especially considering how much playoff experience the Coach Mike Babcock’s crew has.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs have shaken off their playoff nerves and now get to host their first postseason game since 2004 with a chance to take control of their first round series against the Boston Bruins. If you live in Toronto, get ready for gridlock downtown should the Leafs win Monday. Add a minimum of two hours travel time to get through all that pent-up douchebaggery. After looking so outmatched in Game One, the Leafs really turned the tables in Game Two. We wouldn’t be shocked to see some of those nerves creep back in for Game Three at home — at least early on, as Boston looks to reclaim home ice advantage by winning at least one of the next two games.
- One of the main reasons that Washington heads to New York up two games to nothing on the Rangers is because Braden Holtby has outplayed Henrik Lundquist, the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy winner. It’s not like Lundquist has been bad; in fact, he’s upped his game since the games really started counting (1.90 GAA, 9.41 save percentage). However, Holtby has been playing out of his mind good (0.47 GAA, .983 save percentage). It doesn’t help that the Rangers have played with the puck like a bag of toys, but the fact is that when they do get the puck through, he’s been there to stonewall them. As a result, Monday is pretty much do or die for the Rangers, who came into this season with Stanley Cup aspirations, but had to kick and scratch just to make the playoffs and now face early elimination.
- Finally, the defending champion Los Angeles Kings need to win Monday to square their series with the Blues or else risk having to head back to St. Louis down three games to one. If you’re all about the goals, this series is not for you, but these two foes are starting to develop a serious hate-on for each other — which makes for some awesome hockey. Okay, so we haven’t had a Game Three Ottawa-Montreal boil over yet, but you can sense that should one of these teams ever get a lead of two or three goals, things could get very nasty, very quickly. Since Detroit won back-to-back titles in 1997 and 1998, we have not seen a repeat champion and if the Kings don’t find their offense very soon, that streak will continue, regardless of how good Jonathan Quick has been (when he’s not trying to handle the puck, that is).