Canadiens head to Game 7 with 4-3 win over Penguins

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Habs3.jpgMontreal Canadiens 4, Pittsburgh Penguins 3

Series tied 3-3

With
all due respect to the diehard, and very vocal, Penguins fans out
there, I wish there was some way the next game could be played right
back at the Bell Centre.

With one of the loudest and most
electric crowds I’ve ever seen backing them the Canadiens stunned the
Penguins with a stellar performance, sending the series back to
Pittsburgh with a big 4-3 in yet another impressive Game 6 performance.
This time Jaroslav Halak didn’t have to be miraculous, merely great, as
the Habs turned in yet another great team performance.

A team
performance is exactly what was needed, as the Canadiens found some way
to keep Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby under control with two of their
top defensemen out and Jarolav Spacek returning from his injury. While
some of the tactics were certainly borderline, the team as a whole did
just enough to constantly frustrate Crosby, especially in the third
period.

What was most impressive was the way the Habs responded to
an early second period surge by the Penguins, one that put Pittsburgh
up 2-1 after Kris Letang’s power play goal. The Habs regrouped and
scored two quick goals of their own, stunning the Penguins and heading
to the second intermission with a 3-2 lead and every ounce of momentum.

The
Penguins would be held in check for most of the third, until Sergei
Gonchar gave the Pens new life with his goal with just over a minute
remaining. Yet with Fleury pulled, the Penguins were unable to muster
another sustained attack and the Habs escaped with another big win.

For
the second time in two rounds, the Montreal Canadiens are headed to a
Game 7 on the road, with the chance to take out Sidney Crosby and the
defending Stanley Cup Champions. Their big victory over Washington in
the first round will give the team all the confidence they’ll need to
win, but you have to think that the Penguins will put up a much tougher
fight than they did tonight.

Sidney Crosby  and Evgeni Malkin have
combined for just two goals and six assists in the series, as the Habs
have focused on taking out the two centers and daring the Penguins’
wingers to beat them. It’s a strategy that overall has worked, and one
that the Canadiens will look to continue to use in Game 7. For the
Penguins, there’s no doubt this team needs more of an effort from its
role players, the Max Talbot’s and the Tyler Kennedy’s and the Bill
Guerin’s.

The Canadiens have proven that it’s not what your
superstars do, it’s what the team does that counts. They’ll try and
prove it once more in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

‘It’s embarrassing,’ says Gulutzan after lopsided loss to Oilers

DALLAS, TX - NOVEMBER 21:  Head coach Glen Gulutzan of the Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on November 21, 2011 in Dallas, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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The Battle of Alberta was a tad lopsided Saturday.

The Edmonton Oilers scored early. They scored often. And despite holding a distinct advantage in shots on goal and puck possession, the rival Calgary Flames couldn’t get much going until the third period and by then the damage had been done.

The Oilers, tied in points with the San Jose Sharks, are one point back of the Anaheim Ducks for the Pacific Division lead after their 7-3 win over the Flames. Laurent Brossoit also collected his first career NHL victory.

This game wasn’t even six minutes old when Jordan Eberle scored to give Edmonton a three-goal lead. Chad Johnson was promptly pulled from the Calgary net, making one save on four shots faced.

The Flames were bad from the start. They didn’t get any better in the second period, falling behind five goals after 40 minutes and watching as the likes of Eberle and Connor McDavid piled on for a regular-season series sweep of Calgary.

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan had some strong words to describe the play of his team, which still holds down a wild card spot in the West.

“It’s embarrassing,” he said, per the Calgary Sun. “Our resolve to stick to it wasn’t there.”

“That’s a bunch of games in a row now where we’ve fallen behind and haven’t been able to get any push-back. And in our rink, it’s unacceptable,” added Mark Giordano.

The coach was utterly perplexed by his team’s breakdown on Edmonton’s third goal, which started off as a rush in the neutral zone and finished with Eberle, wide open down the right wing with a clear path to the net, beating Johnson on the shot.

“I don’t know what we were doing,” said Gulutzan. “I actually have no explanation for what our ‘D’ were doing on the third goal. It was a complete mistake.”

That should be concerning for the Flames.

They hold a playoff spot, but just barely with the Vancouver Canucks one point back and with two games in hand.

Talk about a Wild comeback for Minnesota

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The Minnesota Wild took back sole possession of the lead in the Central Division, thanks to a thrilling comeback win over the Pacific Division-leading Anaheim Ducks on Saturday.

Minnesota trailed 3-1 early in the second period. Jason Zucker closed the deficit in the middle period, before they took the lead for good thanks to a frenzy of three goals from Erik Haula, Ryan Suter and Zucker in 1:59 late in regulation for a 5-3 victory.

“When we came in in between the second and third, knowing we were only down a goal, and knowing our history, we didn’t think we were out of it,” said coach Bruce Boudreau, per the Pioneer Press.

And so the Wild remain one of the hottest teams in the league, leading Chicago by two points.

While it’s a comeback for them, the Ducks don’t quite see it the same way.

“It’s not what they did, to be honest. We self-imploded. Gave up too many opportunities, left our goalie out to dry,” said Cam Fowler.

Additional bad news for the Ducks, however, was that goalie John Gibson left the game in the second period with an upper-body injury, and didn’t return.

 

Bust a move: Capitals win includes unlikely OT hero and dad’s dancing in Dallas

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The usual suspects contributed for the Washington Capitals on Saturday. Down a pair of goals entering the third period, Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie helped ignite the comeback on the power play.

But then an unlikely hero emerged.

Jay Beagle scored his 10th goal of the season and the overtime winner to give Washington a 4-3 victory over the Dallas Stars. That aforementioned goal total matches his previous career high from two seasons ago.

He initially accomplished the feat over the course of 62 games. This time, he hits 10 goals in 46 games played.

Officials needed to review the play, although replays quickly showed the puck over the line from the Beagle shot in the slot.

The comeback win led to a memorable post-game celebration.

Disclaimer: Don’t try this at home.

The Capitals maintain their lead in the Metropolitan Division ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

This game versus the Stars included some feisty moments, particularly in the first period when tempers boiled over. Tom Wilson and Brett Ritchie dropped the gloves for a lengthy fight. Three seconds later, Daniel Winnik fought Antoine Roussel.

Ducks goalie Gibson leaves game versus Wild with upper-body injury

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 01:  Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks in action during the preseason NHL game against Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on October 1, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) Anaheim goaltender John Gibson has left Saturday’s game against Minnesota with an upper-body injury.

A short-angle shot from Mikko Koivu appeared to hit Gibson in the upper chest with 5:39 to play in the first period. The goaltender immediately went down on one knee and was quickly attended to by a trainer. Gibson gingerly skated to the bench and went straight to the locker room.

Anaheim announced that Gibson is doubtful to return.

Gibson is 7-1-1 with two shutouts in his past nine starts. He was replaced by Jonathan Bernier.

Gibson stopped four of five shots he faced while making his fourth straight start.