Flyers hanging on despite long odds

3 Comments

Carter.jpgPhiladelphia Flyers vs. Detroit Red Wings
12:30
p.m. EST – Sunday, April 4, 2010
Live on NBC

I have to
admit that I’ve grown a soft spot for the Philadelphia Flyers this
season. They could be on their way to heart breaking collapse down the
stretch, falling out of the playoffs after working hard to get such good
position earlier in the season. The fall hasn’t been (not completely,
at least) due to poor play; injuries to several key positions have made
success that much harder to come by.

The goaltending. Oh, the
goaltending….

The Flyers signed free agent Ray Emery last summer to be the
starter, after losing both Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki in the
offseason. Unfortunately, Emery was lost for the season after December
and the Flyers carousel at goaltender began.

At the trade
deadline, the Flyers appeared open to making a move for a goaltender but
declined based on the recnt play of Michael Leighton. After all,
Leighton had emerged as a legitimate candidate to carry the torch for
the Flyers and there was no need to lose vital assets for a goaltender.

Then Leighton was hurt, like lost for the season, and now the Flyers
will rely on Brian Boucher. Or Johan Backlund, Jeremy Duchesne, or even
Sebastien Caron. Backlund looked promising, for a couple of periods,
before even he was hurt. You can’t write this stuff for Hollywood…too
outlandish.

Jeff Carter, the warrior

To add insult to
the goaltending situation the Flyers leading scorer, Jeff Carter was
supposedly lost for the season with a broken bone in his foot. He’s
going to reportedly give it a try to return to the ice by the end of the
week, based on MRI results, and the fact that he’s trying desperately
to play with a broken foot speaks to how dire the Flyers’ situation
truly is.

So the goaltending is unreliable and the team is without
its top scorer and playmaker. It’s no wonder the team has just two wins
out of the last ten games.

What’s amazing is that they have yet
to fall out of the playoff race. While the Flyers have struggled, those
around them (Boston, Montreal, Atlanta and New York) haven’t taken
advantage to overtake them in the standing. Not just yet, at least.

Tied
with the NY Rangers at 82 points and barely hanging on to 8th place
based on tie breakers, the Flyers are desperate for a win. It’s doubtful
the Flyers can manage to hold on to a playoff spot with no goaltending
and no reliable scoring.

Even if they do, they’ll just be
destroyed by the Capitals in the first round anyways. Right?

Sharks scratch Flames’ big lead, Calgary wins anyway

Calgary Flames' Mikael Backlund (11) chases down the puck against San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl (48) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
AP
Leave a comment

If you turned off Thursday’s Calgary Flames – San Jose Sharks game early, you’ll probably be stunned to see that Calgary won 6-5 via a shootout.

For instance:

  • A Sharks fan may have bitterly called it a night when Calgary went up 4-1.
  • Conversely, a Flames devotee might have retired after San Jose took a 5-4 lead, possibly with a broken remote.

The Flames only trailed for about two minutes before scoring the last “real” goal of the game, eventually taking their third straight win thanks to a shootout triumph.

It’s been a strange ride for Calgary, with its most recent win happening after Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma were punished with a healthy scratch. As strange as this game was, the “charity point” can leave both teams looking through a lot of film, yet with something gained as well.

Ultimately, the message may very well be: don’t sleep on these teams.

(In less positive news, Karri Ramo is injured, and it doesn’t look good.

Jonas Hiller closing out the game on a hot streak could be pretty important if Ramo’s out for some time.)

By winning fifth straight, Caps extend Wild’s slump to seven losses

3 Comments

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alex Ovechkin scored three times in the second period for his 14th career hat trick, and the Washington Capitals beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday night.

Ovechkin, who leads the league with 34 goals, has 13 in his past 13 games. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists and Jason Chimera added an empty-netter for Washington, which improved to a league-best 20-5-2 on the road.

Braden Holtby made 33 saves for the Capitals, who won their fifth consecutive game and became the first team to reach 40 victories this season.

Charlie Coyle, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund scored for the Wild, but Minnesota lost for the 12th time in its past 13 games (1-10-2). Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for the Wild, who have lost seven in a row at home (0-4-3).

Ovechkin’s third goal, which deflected off both the post and the back of Dubnyk into the net, was upheld following a coach’s challenge. Wild coach Mike Yeo challenged that the puck had left the zone for offsides, but the call stood after a review showed that Backstrom stopped the puck before it crossed the blue line.

The goal gave Ovechkin his first hat trick since he scored four goals against Tampa Bay on Dec. 10, 2013.

It wasn’t the only fortunate bounce for Ovechkin on the night, and the five-time 50-goal scorer capitalized on each opportunity.

A shot from T.J. Oshie deflected off of Minnesota forward Zach Parise across the ice right to Ovechkin in the left faceoff circle and Ovechkin quickly snapped off a shot to beat Dubnyk, who couldn’t get across the crease to get into position. Three minutes later, Ovechkin scored on the power play when a point shot bounced off the end boards right to Ovechkin in front of the net.

The tally provided some relief for the Capitals’ surprisingly ineffective power play. Washington had one power play in its previous six games, an empty-netter for the only goal in its previous 20 power-play chances. The Capitals were 1 of 5 on the power play on Thursday.

Coyle scored for the fifth time in eight games in the second, but second periods have doomed the Wild during their slump. Minnesota has been outscored 13-3 in the period in five straight losses.

Suter scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play in the third as Minnesota went 1 of 5 with the man advantage.

NOTES: Washington C Evgeny Kuznetsov left in the third period after he was hit in the face by the stick of Mikael Granlund off a faceoff. … Backstrom has 20 points in his last 17 games. … Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon missed his second straight game with an unspecified deep bruise. Spurgeon has returned to practice, but was held out again. … Holtby is 27-1-3 in his last 31 games with two shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

4 Comments

Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick helps him make more history

2 Comments

Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

(He also passed Jean Beliveau for 39th all-time in goals with his 509th, as NHL.com notes.)

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Update: Minnesota managed three goals, but it wasn’t enough, as Washington got the edge 4-3.