Bruins blank Ovechkin, beat Capitals 4-3 in SO

tim thomas.jpgThe story of this game was supposed to be about Alex Ovechkin’s race for the Rocket Richard and Art Ross trophies. After all, the two teams had nothing to play for; win or lose the Capitals would remain the East’s top seed and the Bruins are still in the sixth spot.

Yet, instead of being a bleary-eyed yawn fest, the final regular season NBC game morphed into a shootout thriller. Both Vezina winner turned backup Tim Thomas (34 out of 37 saves) and Semyon Varlamov (35 out of 38 saves) played well with Thomas looking especially sharp. In the beginning, it looked like this was going to be another Game of the Week slugfest, but it seemed like Thomas’ fisticuffs with Jason Chimera became the catalyst for the game to shift from goal scoring to goal stopping.

Struggling sniper Michael Ryder scored the Bruins’ first two goals and Marco Sturm tied the game with his team-leading 22nd goal (to give you an idea of how different these two teams are, Washington has 6 players with more goals than Sturm and Mike Green isn’t far behind with 19 tallies). Alex Semin started the scoring with his 40th of the season. The Capitals then received offensive support from two underrated players in Eric Belanger and a great deflection goal by Mike Knuble.

You’d expect the two teams to let up in this one, but that was far from the case. Mike Green nearly injured himself when he blocked a shot in overtime. The game needed to be decided by a shootout in which both David Krejci and Miroslav Satan absolutely undressed Varlamov with some sick backhand goals.

All of a sudden, the Bruins are on a roll going into the playoffs. The sixth seed is 6-3-1 in their last 10 games with a three game winning streak. Even if the Capitals weren’t in full-on attack mode, one has to wonder if today’s New Jersey-Buffalo second seed deciding game will take more meaning because the Bruins might just be the lower-ranked team to avoid in the East.

Either way, it was a great way to close out NBC’s regular season coverage. Who’s ready for the playoffs? (Raises hand.)

Scroll Down For:

    Bolts close gap on struggling Bruins in playoff race

    Getty
    Leave a comment

    Well, that was quite a third period.

    For the Boston Bruins, it was disastrous. For the Tampa Bay Lightning, it propelled them to a critical victory in the playoff race.

    Nikita Kucherov completed the hat trick with a pair of goals in the final period and Jonathan Drouin scored what would eventually be the winner, as Tampa Bay snapped its own three-game losing streak in a 6-3 victory, putting the Bolts within three points of the final wild card spot — held by the Bruins — in the Eastern Conference.

    The Drouin goal — his 18th of the season but first since Feb. 19, a span of 13 games — is probably one Tuukka Rask would like back.

    Drouin teed up the slap shot from the faceoff circle, beating Rask under the left arm.

    And just like that, the Bruins have lost four consecutive games. On Saturday, they face the New York Islanders, another team looking to catch Boston in the wild card race.

    Read more: Remember this stretch if Bruins settle for a wild card spot (or worse?)

    The Islanders are only two points back of Boston.

    Despite the win, there was bad news for the Lightning during this game, as defenseman Jason Garrison left with an injury.

    From NHL.com:

    The play occurred behind the Lightning goal, Garrison appearing to get his left leg rolled up from behind by a Bruin. Garrison had to be helped off the ice by Anton Stralman and Brayden Point and headed back to the Bolts’ locker room.

    The team announced during the second intermission that Garrison sustained a lower-body injury. He did not return to the game.

    Video: Ovechkin rocks custom skates for Russian Heritage Night

    Leave a comment

    As promised, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin rocked a pair of custom skates in honor of Russian Heritage Night on Thursday.

    On his right skate, he paid tribute to the United States with a custom design, and paid tribute to his home nation on his left skate while taking the pre-game warm-up prior to facing the Columbus Blue Jackets.

    He’ll be auctioning off the skates, as well.

    From CSN Mid-Atlantic:

    The skates were painted by noted custom shoe artists Nick Avery and Polo Kerber, whom Ovechkin personally selected. The skates feature the U.S. and Russia flags as well as the Capitol Building and Moscow’s St. Basil’s Cathedral.

    Video: Crosby slash leaves Methot’s finger bloodied and injured (Updated)

    16 Comments

    Sidney Crosby has made news lately for his goal scoring and his use of the stick.

    He speared Sabres forward Ryan O’Reilly below the belt the other night, and on Thursday he delivered a slash to Senators defenseman Marc Methot, who has since not returned to the game.

    The slash rendered a finger on Methot’s left hand bloodied and injured. It certainly didn’t look good as Method (calmly) skated to the bench.

    There was no call on the play.

    Updated: Methot won’t return to this game.

    Show me the money! Nylander sets Leafs rookie record with latest assist

    AP
    Leave a comment

    Toronto’s talented rookies were back at it again Thursday, as William Nylander and Auston Matthews combined to set up the Maple Leafs’ first goal versus the New Jersey Devils.

    Nylander added the second assist on the power play goal, giving him 35 helpers on the season.

    That’s significant for a couple of reasons: He extends his point streak to 10 games, which sets a new Leafs rookie record. And the assist reportedly secured him another entry-level bonus:

    Not bad.