Preseason quick recaps – September 28th

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NHL.gifHere’s the recap of tonight’s preseason action. Soak it in.

Washington 3 – Boston 2

Plus: Alex Semin had a goal for Washington. Michael Neuvirth played well for the Caps in goal. Brad Marchand had a goal for Boston.

Minus: Alex Ovechkin got a bit grumpy in this one and exchanged some spirited words with Gregory Campbell. It also offered up this photo from Russian Machine Never Breaks that will surely get overanalyzed by everyone with access to a computer.

Buffalo 2 – Ottawa 1

Plus: Ryan Miller played the whole way and did well to earn the win. Jason Pominville scored the game-winner for the Sabres. Patrick Wiercioch scored Ottawa’s only goal.

Minus: Ottawa goalie Robin Lehner misplayed a puck on the small ice surface in Dundas, Ontario that lead to a Rob Niedermayer shorthanded goal. Oops. The rink was ten feet shorter in length and five feet lesser in width.

Pittsburgh 4 – Chicago 1

Plus: Evgeni Malkin played a strong game, adding a goal while Pens defenseman Paul Martin had two assists. Brent Johnson stopped 21 shots in the win. Kyle Beach continued his strong camp scoring Chicago’s lone goal.

Minus: Chicago goaltending was in rough shape tonight getting hung out to dry by their defense to the tune of 39 shots.

Columbus 3 – Minnesota 2 (F/SO)

Plus: Nikita Filatov had a strong game for the Jackets scoring in regulation and the shootout. Matt Cullen played well for the Wild scoring once.

Minus: Yes, another preseason shootout. Brutal. Just as brutal? The Wild. They rolled out what was essentially their opening night lineup against Columbus’ B/C team and still lost. Confidence is very low in Minnesota right now.

New Jersey 3 – Philadelphia 2

Plus: Ilya Kovalchuk played a great game and scored the eventual game-winning goal. Travis Zajac and Adam Mair also had goals for the Devils. Nikolai Zherdev had a goal and an assist for Philly. Martin Brodeur stopped 26 in getting the win.

Minus: Devils defenseman Bryce Salvador left the game with an injury.

Colorado 2 – Dallas 1

Plus: Paul Stastny had both Colorado goals in the win. James Neal had Dallas’ lone goal. Peter Budaj stopped just 20 shots in the win.

Minus: Dallas’ offense for generating just 21 shots on goal against a Colorado team that’s been letting teams shoot at will in the preseason.

Calgary 3 – Phoenix 1

Plus: Jarome Iginla had a goal as did Niklas Hagman. Youngster T.J. Brodie had another goal for Calgary in the preseason. He’s doing well to impress coaches. Henrik Karlsson stopped 19 shots in the win.

Minus: Olli Jokinen left the game with an injury, but according to Coach Sutter, it’s a minor thing and he’ll be all right. Crisis averted.

Vancouver 3 – San Jose 1

Plus: Solid game all around for Vancouver getting scoring from all over the place. Cory Schneider bounced back well in goal stopping 23 shots for the win.

Minus: Antti Niemi looked a bit rough out there stopping just 19 shots in the loss. Canucks rookie wonder Cody Hodgson was buried on the fourth line by the end of this one, playing just 11:33 of this game. Can’t really get a good look at a player if he’s glued to the bench.

Los Angeles 8 – Anaheim 3

Plus: How about that Kings offense? Anze Kopitar had four assists, meanwhile Jack Johnson had two goals and an assist to lead the way for the Kings. Todd Marchant had two goals for Anaheim in a losing effort.

Minus: Everything the Ducks did tonight. Perhaps part of their evil plan was to make the Kings look so good they don’t want to send anyone to the AHL and then they get busted for a roster violation. Curtis McElhinney stopped 34 of the 42 shots he saw in this one. Ouch, babe.

Predators eliminate Ducks, reach first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history

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Colton Sissons made a serious argument that the Nashville Predators do, indeed, still have a No. 1 center.

At least, he certainly played that way on Monday, generating a hat trick as the Predators eliminated the Anaheim Ducks via a 6-3 win, taking the series 4-2.

In doing so, the Predators advanced to their first Stanley Cup Final in franchise history.

That 6-3 score is very misleading. While Nashville managed 2-0 and 3-1 leads, there was plenty of drama in this one, as the Ducks did not go down easily. Cam Fowler tied it up 3-3 in the third period, briefly stunning a rowdy crowd in Nashville.

Sissons was up to the task, however, settling down a bouncing puck on an otherwise stupendous Calle Jarnkrok pass to score the game-winner, notching a hat trick in the process. Sissons continues to be an unlikely hero for a Predators team dealing with the absence of Ryan Johansen (not to mention Mike Fisher, Craig Smith, and others).

Two empty-netters inflated the score, and they also sapped drama from the closing moments, which must have been quite the relief considering how much resolve Anaheim showed.

Peter Laviolette distinguishes himself as one of the NHL’s most underrated bench bosses, becoming just the fourth coach in league history to take three different teams to a Stanley Cup Final. He couldn’t win it all with the Philadelphia Flyers, but he does have a ring thanks to his time with the Carolina Hurricanes. Perhaps he’ll take another one this spring?

It’s quite the moment for GM David Poile, too, after trading Shea Weber for P.K. Subban and Seth Jones for Johansen, among other pivotal moves.

The Ducks might wonder what could have been if John Gibson played instead of Jonathan Bernier. Bernier struggled early, allowing two goals on the first three shots he faced and generally having a tough Game 6. Pekka Rinne, meanwhile, maintained his mostly great run in the playoffs; he protected a Predators lead even when the Ducks dominated long stretches of play.

Now the Predators get a nice rest, as the Eastern Conference Final continues with a Game 6 on Tuesday (and possibly a Game 7 on Thursday).

They’ll limp a bit toward that final round, but the Predators seem to be embracing new territory. And sometimes new heroes.

Video: Ducks’ 3-3 goal survives goalie interference review

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When the Nashville Predators went up 3-1 in the third period, it seemed like they might finally put the Anaheim Ducks away in Game 6. The Ducks quickly responded with “Not yet.”

Two minutes after that 3-1 goal, Chris Wagner kept Anaheim’s hopes alive with a surprising tally. Corey Perry then bumped Pekka Rinne, but he was able to reset before Cam Fowler scored the 3-3 goal 8:52 into the final frame (of regulation).

In less than six minutes of game time, the tone of the contest changed rapidly. Now we’ll see if either team can get the next tally in the remaining minutes of the third or if the Stanley Cup Playoffs will see yet another overtime contest.

Here’s the Wagner goal:

You can see the 3-3 goal in the video above. Hold onto your seats.

Update: Moments after this was published, Colton Sissons‘ hat-trick goal made it 4-3. Could there be even more drama? We’ll see …

Game 6 is airing on NBCSN. You can watch online and via the NBC Sports App. Click here for the livestream link.

Coyotes’ Dylan Strome breaks Memorial Cup record with 7 points in game

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Dylan Strome’s journey to becoming a full-timer at the NHL level might be a little bumpy, but he continues to distinguish himself at other levels.

In the case of Monday, it was setting a new Memorial Cup record. With four goals and three assists, Strome’s seven-point game set a new record as he helped the Eerie Otters pummel the Saint John Sea Dogs 12-5.

They’ll face the Windsor Spitfires on Wednesday to determine which team goes to the tournament’s final round.

The performance wasn’t lost on his brother Ryan Strome.

Ducks dominate, but Predators enter third up 2-1

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So far, it seems like Jonathan Bernier playing instead of John Gibson for the Anaheim Ducks in Game 6 has indeed been a pretty big deal.

Bernier allowed two goals on the first three shots he faced against to start Game 6, putting the Ducks in an early hole. The Ducks have been absolutely dominating the contest since then, but only Ondrej Kase could get a puck beyond Pekka Rinne through the first 40 minutes.

Seriously, the play’s been lopsided. Nashville managed a few shots after this tweet, yet it still tells much of the story.