With the rest of the Pacific division (not San Jose, they’re good to go) improving at the trade deadline, or least attempting to improve, the Dallas Stars stood by and remained quiet. Six teams didn’t make a move yesterday and two of those, Dallas and the New York Islanders, are not in a playoff spot. In fact Ottawa, San Jose and Chicago are all in the top three in their conference and one could argue that perhaps they didn’t need to make many moves. Ottawa added Andy Sutton earlier in the week, so maybe we could say that was their deadline move.
Yet the Stars are in a tough spot. They are attempting to play for this season (two points out of 8th place) while also trying to build for the future. The spoke in the wheel with this plan is an ownership situation that has GM Joe Nieuwendyk handcuffed financially.
Now the Stars did trade for Kari Lehtonen before the Olympic break and
were able to get Steve Ott signed, so it’s not as if they were
completely docile. But it had to be tough to just sit by idly while the
teams ahead of you in the division got better.
“We would have loved to get a few draft picks, and we were
listening to people, but there was nothing realistic that we could get
done,” [Joe Nieuwendyk] said. “So now we’re prepared to move forward
with what we
have. This is sort of how we went into it. We believed we made our deals
already with getting Kari Lehtonen and signing Steve Ott,
so we really didn’t expect much today.”
There were certainly a number of 2nd round draft picks being thrown
around, but I just don’t think the value was there this year to make
drastic moves worth it. You saw it a number of times (mainly from
Edmonton) but teams were trading away decent players and the most they
were getting in return was either a prospect or a draft pick.
The Stars have five players scheduled to be free agents this summer, and
none would be able to fetch anything resembling that high of a price.
So the Stars were basically forced to stay still. Perhaps the Steve Ott contract extension is crippling, but for those that were looking for a big Brenden Morrow or Mike Ribeiro trade..that wasn’t happening. It didn’t happen anywhere else in the NHL.
What a start.
This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.
This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.
What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:
This game also featured a sequence of three goals in 90 seconds and yet also some great saves by goaltenders Braden Holtby and Matt Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a controversial hit by Tom Wilson that might lead to a suspension.
There was even some odd stuff. Like how Jay Beagle got a stick stuck in his equipment.
If this game sets the tone for the rest of the series, then we should be in for a closely contested, highlight filled affair.
— Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Ben Lovejoy accounted for the Penguins’ other markers.
— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored the game’s opening goal. It was his first marker of the 2016 playoffs.
— Washington outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the first period, but Pittsburgh ended up with a 45-35 edge.
— This is the first time in the 2016 playoffs that Braden Holtby has allowed more than two goals. He surrendered just five goals in six games to Philadelphia.
— Matt Murray suffered his first career postseason loss after winning three straight contests against the New York Rangers.
Tom Wilson has already found himself in a controversy for delivering a late, knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night.
You can see that incident below:
Wilson spent two minutes in the sin bin earlier in the contest for crosschecking Evgeni Malkin, but there was no penalty on this play.
Fortunately Conor Sheary was able to stay in the game. The question now is if Wilson’s actions will lead to him being suspended prior to Game 2.
This isn’t Wilson’s first brush with controversy. He delivered a big hit to Brayden Schenn in 2013, but Wilson wasn’t suspended for that incident. Lubomir Visnovsky’s final campaign was cut short due to a check by Wilson that angered the New York Islanders. More recently, Nikita Zadorov was concussed by a crushing blow from the Capitals forward.
In 231 career regular season games, Wilson has 50 points and 486 penalty minutes.
Related: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints
For the first 30 minutes of Game 1 between Pittsburgh and Washington it looked like goaltenders Matt Murray and Braden Holtby might outshine these star-studded offenses. Then the floodgates opened up, if only for a moment.
Washington already had a 1-0 lead going into the second frame courtesy of Andre Burakovsky‘s first marker of the 2016 playoffs, but Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals within the span of 57 seconds midway through the second period to tilt the scale in Pittsburgh’s favor. That lead didn’t last for long though as Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got a breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it.
In total, there were three goals scored in the span of just 90 seconds and you can see all of them below:
After that sequence, the 2-2 tie held for the remainder of the frame. However, Oshie was able to reassert Washington’s edge just 3:23 minutes into the third period.
Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.
Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below: