Last season, in what was almost certainly a big ‘choke job’ by the
San Jose Sharks in the playoffs, Dan Boyle was as outspoken as ever
against his team. He was upset with the lack of effort from the players,
with the coaching staff’s preparations and just about frustrated with
everything in general when it came to the Sharks.
This year, after a sweep at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks at
the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks, how does Boyle feel about his team? From
“Last year I was critical of some of the effort, but I
think guys worked really hard. I can’t be critical of the effort we
gave,” said Boyle, who had the puck on his stick, skating alone when
the final buzzer sounded.
“It’s a sweep on the board,” Boyle said,
“and a lot of people are going to say it was a one-way series, and
that’s fine. But anybody who knows anything about hockey, three of those
four games could certainly have gone our way.”
I know that saying this wasn’t a ‘choke’ by the Sharks and that you
have to be happy with their effort will certainly do little to alleviate
the pain of the loss, but there’s no doubt that this season was
different for the Sharks. Sure, it’s incredibly disappointing and you
have to wonder how a team with so much promise fell short time after
time each postseason.
The Sharks are now facing an uncertain future, after revamping their
roster last season in a last-ditch effort to make a final push for the
Stanley Cup. That they fell short may speak to just how much the Sharks’
core of players may need to change. With Marleau and Nabokov facing
free agency, that’s certainly a possibility.
But the chance for at least a single point slipped at the worst possible time, as Jonathan Toews scored with 1:18 left in regulation and then set up an empty net goal from Marian Hossa just a few seconds later to secure the 4-2 win.
The Canucks remain stuck at five wins — just five wins — on the road. They have the 29th-ranked road record in the entire NHL. Only the Arizona Coyotes have been worse away from home ice. So, that’s a problem that needs to be fixed down the stretch.
Vancouver had a chance to move into a wild card spot. Instead, they let the Blackhawks regain momentum as the period went on, and as a result, they remain on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture for right now.
Corey Crawford earned his 200th career win, making 26 saves. That’s a milestone night for him. For Toews, that’s his most productive night of the season, as he factored into all four Chicago goals, which, of course, included the winner.
So overtime against the New York Islanders seemed like a perfect time for captain Claude Giroux to bust his scoring slump.
Without a goal in his last 12 games, or since Dec. 21 before the holiday break, Giroux finished the Flyers comeback with an overtime goal to give Philly a 3-2 victory on Sunday. Jakub Voracek did great work along the boards to force a turnover from John Tavares, and Shayne Gostisbehere followed up his chance with a quick pass to a wide-open Giroux at the top of the crease.
That comeback win — Philly trailed by two goals early in the second period — bumps the Flyers back into a wild card spot.
Steve Mason had a big game in net for Philly, with 36 saves, while the Flyers fired 47 shots on goal toward Thomas Greiss, although it’s a difficult task trying to re-set and stop Giroux — an accomplished scorer in the NHL — on the doorstep.
Goals, goals and more goals! Blue Jackets outlast Senators for overtime win
Plenty of goals. A little three-on-three overtime. Seemed like an enjoyable afternoon of hockey between the Ottawa Senators and Columbus Blue Jackets.
Well, maybe the goalies, Mike Condon and Joonas Korpisalo, didn’t enjoy it as much.
The Blue Jackets prevailed for a 7-6 overtime win, with Cam Atkinson scoring just 1:09 into the extra period. That’s his 23rd goal of the season. Only two players — Jeff Carter (24) and Sidney Crosby (28) — have scored more goals than Atkinson this season.
With the win, and the Capitals sitting idle today, the Blue Jackets move back into a tie with Washington at 68 points in the fight for first place in the Metropolitan Division.
There were some anxious moments for Columbus.
Rookie defenseman Zach Werenski was hurt blocking a shot in the third period. He briefly left the game, unable to put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off.
The good news: He only missed a few minutes, returning late in regulation and for the overtime as well, which is important for the Blue Jackets.
#CBJ Zach Werenski said on @FOXSportsOH post-game he "thought it was broken" and "long term" injury when he blocked the shot.
“He’s made a couple of huge mistakes in a game and he comes to the bench, shakes it off and then goes out and makes a great play. For a 19-year-old playing that position and the amount of time he’s getting in key situations with this organization, it’s pretty impressive.”