NHL Playoffs update: Don't blame Carey Price

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There were a few big games tonight in the NHL, and the games were
just as entertaining as you’d hoped they would be. What’s even more
interesting is the immediate, knee jerk reactions you see after some of
these games by fans (and sometimes the media). No, Carey Price should
not be buried for tonight’s loss and let’s not make the Capitals win
over Pittsburgh anything more than really is: a good, regular season
win.

Also, the shootout is the absolute worst way to end a close
game with playoff positioning on the line.

Buffalo 3,
Montreal 2 (SO)
– After the game (and even during the game) the
outcry by Habs fans over Carey Price’s play was impossible to
ignore..and completely unfounded. If anything, the Canadiens should be
thanking Price they were able to actually walk away from the game with
at least one point. He withstood 42 shots total in the game, including
18 in the third period and overtime. The game tying goal with less than a
minute to play is more the fault of the hapless Montreal defensemen
standing around and watching, than the multiple saves Price made with
the puck on his doorstep.

Washington 4, Pittsburgh 3 (SO) –
Alex Ovechkin had an assist and finished, yet again, with a plus-2
rating. So he now has about a 3,471 lead on plus/minus on anyone not
wearing a Caps jersey. The player of the game was Jose Theodore,
however, as he withstood 42 shots by the Penguins and made several
great, acrobatic saves. Mike Knuble gets the ‘unlikely shootout hero’
award, as his goal in the fourth round of the shootout iced the win for
the Caps.

But don’t let this win go to your heads too much, Caps
fans. It’s a great victory against a great opponent on home ice (and it
was a very entertaining game to watch), but you’ve already proven this
year you can beat the Pens in the regular season. It’s in the playoffs
that the true test will come.

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.