Henrik Sedin puts on show; Modano speaks

Sedin1.jpgIt was an incredible night in the NHL on Saturday, with Mike Modano
taking perhaps one last skate around an NHL rink, the Sedin twins
absolutely dominating the Flames, Evander Kane going all Holyfield on
Matt Cooke, and several teams locking up a playoff berth. Here’s some
final notes on a great night of hockey.

Henrik Sedin says to Alex Ovechkin: “Now it’s your turn.”

Ovechkin had a one point lead on Sedin coming into the night, but
Henrik decided he wasn’t going out with a fight. In a complete and
frankly embarrassing dismantling of the Calgary Flames, Henrik and twin
brother Daniel put on a show of incredible proportions. Daniel finished
with a hat trick, while brother Henrik pitched in for four assists.

Here’s video of
one of Daniel’s goals.
This just isn’t fair, folks.

This gives Henrik a three point lead over Ovechking (112-109) for the
Art Ross Trophy, setting up a great storyline for tomorrow’s Capitals
game against Boston. Ovechkin needs just three points to win the trophy,
as the first tiebreaker is most goals. Unless Crosby finds a way to get
8 points tomorrow, this will come down to Oveckin and Henrik.

It’s also tough to argue against Henrik Sedin for the Hart Trophy
after tonight. I know that many are excited by Ovechkin’s great season,
but there is absolutely no doubt how important Henrik has been to the
Canucks all season long.

More after the jump, including the greatest hockey photo ever taken?

Evander
with the KO:

Thanks to Ben Wright of the Blueland Blog (and taken by Thrashers fan
Fred Johnson), we have thisgreat photo of the knockout punch
delivered by Evander Kane on Matt Cooke:

Kaneko_041110_medium

Some thoughts from Mike Modano:

Michael Russo of the
Star-Tribune has some great post-game quotes from Mike Modano. Here is
but a small sample:

(You looked gassed in the third
period – was that old age?) There’s been
games like that a lot this year. You don’t quite have that separation
anymore from people with the puck. Sometimes I really wish I was in my
prime playing here – to have that high level of playing in front of the
fans here. Once I left it seemed to really take off for those next 16,
17 years. I wish I would have had some years here in the late 20s to
kind of really show what we were doing in Dallas and how I was playing.
Now, it’s tough. There’s games like that. But then there’s nights like
the other night where you think, ‘Maybe there is some hope there left.’

Check out his
story
for much, much more.

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    Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

    Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Matt Murray (30) deflects a puck over the net during the first period of Game 3 against the Washington Capitals in an NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals in Pittsburgh, Monday, May 2, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
    AP
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    If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

    The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

    (Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

    Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

    A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

    First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

    Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

    Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

    In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

    This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

    Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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    It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

    (You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

    There are a few things we do know already.

    For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

    Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

    In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

    There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

    Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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    Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

    ***

    As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

    Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

    Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

    Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

    Things could get ugly in Game 3:

    One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

    Also, lateness of the check:

    The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

    Fleury suits up (but won’t start) and other Caps – Pens Game 3 notes

    Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has been out of action with concussion symptoms, participates in a practice session for the NHL hockey playoffs against the New York Rangers, Monday, April 11, 2016, at their practice facility in Cranberry, Pa. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
    AP
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    The Brooks Orpik hit on Olli Maatta isn’t the only factor in lineup changes for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins.

    Maybe the most interesting change starts on the Penguins’ bench … where they likely hope that tweak will stay for at least one night.

    Marc-Andre Fleury is apparently healthy enough to suit up for the Penguins, although it appears as though Matt Murray will start:

    That’s a clear sign that “The Flower” is healthy enough to play, as Murray would be an injury or a coach’s pull away from giving up the net to Fleury. (One would assume.)

    Murray has been fantastic for the most part since taking over for Jeff Zatkoff during this postseason, yet you know how the playoffs can be; people may clamor for Fleury after a loss even if it’s not really Murray’s fault.

    Circling back to that Orpik hit, the dominoes seem to fall this way:

    Penguins: Derrick Pouliot replaces injured Maatta.

    Capitals: Dmitry Orlov in for suspended Orpik.

    PHT will make note if there are any swerves.