Three games in, we have what looks like the first watershed moment of the season.
I was at the game tonight and my first reaction was that it was a dirty hit from behind. I didn’t have the benefit of seeing a replay right away, but watching it again, it looks like Niklas Hjalmarsson nails Pominville between the numbers, Pominville’s head smacks against the glass (which doesn’t give at all), and then he falls to the ice.
Pominville suffered a concussion and a cut above his eye, according to Lindy Ruff and it looks like his Iron Man streak of consecutive games played will be snapped at 336.
Watching Pominville get carted off clearly affected the team. The ensuing five-minute powerplay was relatively flat and they eventually coughed up their two-goal lead.
The line combinations, which seemed to be clicking early in the period (I tweeted early in the game that Hecht-Roy-Stafford reminded me of the old Hecht-Briere-Dumont line of the early 2000s), had to be jumbled and I think that messed with their mojo as well.
Believe it or not, there was actually one positive from the hit on Pominville: Tim Connolly was the first man in and did a nice job reacting to the situation (considering, you know, he’s Tim Connolly). While he didn’t have a great game, jumping in for a teammate in need was a positive moment for him.
The team has never really had to play without Jason Pominville since he’s been in Buffalo, so it will be interesting to see how they adapt to not having him in the lineup for what could be an extended period of time. With a depleted Devils team coming to town on Wednesday, it’s as good a time as any to find out.
I still have some thoughts on Kane v. Kaleta, the defense and the atrocious powerplay, but we can get to that later. We’ve got a long season ahead of us and there’s plenty of time. No reason to freak out like every caller on the WGR postgame show.