Thursday, April 19, 2012

Despres Makes Playoff Debut

Simon Despres helped the Pittsburgh Penguins avoid elimination with a 10-3 victory in Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

It was announced earlier in the day that the former Sea Dogs defensemen would suit up for his first National Hockey League playoff game with Paul Martin unavailable.

Despres saw 13:05 of ice time with 1:43 of that coming on the power play. He had no points and no shots but did finish the contest with a +2 rating.

The victory gave the Pens their first win of the playoffs and now trail the Flyers 3-1 in a bizarre series. Despres could be in the lineup on Friday night when the series shifts to Pittsburgh for Game 5.

This was the 19th NHL game Despres has played in this season. He has a total of one goal and three assists in those games. In 44 American Hockey League games this year, the ‘Big Horse’ registered five goals and 10 helpers.

Another former Sea Dog almost saw playoff action tonight as well. Mike Hoffman was recalled by the Ottawa Senators but was among the final scratches for their game against the New York Rangers tonight.

"I just want to, if I get a chance to play, go out there and play my game — work hard and compete," Hoffman told earlier in the day. "It would be a great experience for me, a young player. If I get that opportunity, I'm definitely going to take advantage of it and work as hard as I can."

Hoffman, who played with Saint John in 2009-10, had a solid season with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators. In 76 games the Kitchener native recorded 21 goals and 28 assists. He made his NHL debut with Ottawa earlier this year.

If you want to stretch the term “former Sea Dog,” Chris Kreider, the Boston College star who was drafted by Saint John, is currently playing with the Rangers with the NCAA season now over.

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