Jimmy Howard takes on Sidney Crosby

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Last night’s game between the Red Wings and Penguins felt like it was
played between two teams that have battled in the Stanley Cup finals in
two straight seasons. It was intense, it was emotional and in the end
it got a bit out of hand. (Video
here
)

As time expired in Detroit’s 3-1 win, Sidney Crosby took the faceoff
and immediately began to cross check Henrik Zetterberg. Again and again
as the seconds ticked down, he went after Zetterberg who was trying to
actually play defense.

As expected, the Red Wings weren’t too happy. Zetterberg went right
after Crosby, Bertuzzi got a couple of requisite shots in and then Jimmy
Howard stepped in and did his part. Here are some good quotes from both
sides on the incident, via
Ansar Khan of MLive.com
:

Jimmy Howard – “Just helping out a teammate, that’s all. It’s
become quite the rivalry, and we stick together out there. He does that
stuff all the time. Somehow he gets away with it. Z doesn’t take any of
that. He went right back at him, and I stepped in there, too.”

Sidney Crosby – “I don’t know what [Howard] was doing. It was
one of those things, a couple guys battling at the end. I knew the
linesman was in there. I don’t know whether (Howard) wanted a free
shot, but I don’t think it was any place for him to be.”

Henrik Zetterberg – “I don’t know if he gets away with it. He
plays with a lot of emotion, a lot of heart. Sometimes, it comes out
the wrong way. I might be doing the same thing if (the score) were the
other way. I saw Jimmy coming in with his glove and Crosby wasn’t there
anymore.”

Of all of these, I love Zetterberg’s reaction the
best. He could have come off the ice, spouting how Crosby is spoiled, a
dirty player and how never penalized, yadda, yadda, yadda. Instead, he
talked of Crosby’s competitiveness and the intense — and professional –
rivalry that has built between the two players. Personally, I prefer
that sort of rivalry over one that is built through hate and discontent.
But that’s just me.

As far as Crosby’s take on Howard’s reaction:
What did he expect to happen?

Video: Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

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The Pittsburgh Penguins have spoken out against a late, high hit that Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik threw on Olli Maatta early in the first period of an eventful Game 2 on Saturday.

Maatta left and didn’t return. He played only 31 seconds, and the Penguins were reduced to five defensemen for a large portion of the game. Orpik was given a minor penalty on the play, but the league’s Department of Player Safety may see it differently.

The hit occurred well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck. He struggled on his way to the dressing room for further evaluation.

Based on multiple reports, Orpik wasn’t made available to the media following the game, which went to the Penguins as they earned the split on the road.

But the Penguins have taken issue with the hit.

“I thought it was a late hit,” said Penguins coach Mike Sullivan, as per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “I thought it was a target to his head. I think it’s the type of hit everyone in hockey is trying to remove from the game.”

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.