Another playoff night, another costly “Too Many Men on the Ice” penalty. There have been 18 so far this playoffs, according to TSN.
Montreal Canadiens 2, Washington Capitals 1
Capitals lead series 3-2
This time, the Washington Capitals were confused while trying to pull Semyon Varlamov for an extra man and ended up taking the suddenly widespread penalty in the last minutes of a Game 5 they would go on to lose 2-1 against Montreal. Coach Bruce Boudreau’s face can often look like a mood ring when he gets angry; I’m thinking behind that irritation was at least a partial feeling of humiliation.
I’ve yet to see the Alex Ovechkin-era Capitals win a series with much ease; could it be that the team needs to be in tough spots or else they get bored and lose focus? To be fair, Jaroslav Halak had a nice 37 save performance, but I still expected a bit more out of a Capitals team that could have earned itself a nice early rest.
Buffalo Sabres 4, Boston Bruins 1
Bruins lead series 3-2
While Montreal almost seemed to “back in” to a sixth game in their series, Buffalo bludgeoned Boston in Game 5. Despite the fact that Ryan Miller was unable to get a shutout, the Sabres dominated most of the game and were rewarded with a commanding victory to stay alive in the series. I wrote earlier that Buffalo has the best chance of any team to come back from a 3-1 series deficit and I think this game showed that in a big way.
It wouldn’t be a regular season game without a Columbus Blue Jackets injury, right?
OK, the Blue Jackets hope that 2015-16 looks different from the medically challenged mess of last season, but at least one player is banged up tonight.
Alexander Wennberg suffered an upper-body injury and won’t return on Friday, as the team noted.
There’s no word yet regarding how serious the issue might be. It looks like he might have suffered an injury thanks to a Chris Kreider check:
Naturally, the Blue Jackets must hope that this doesn’t begin another trend.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.