Evander Kane comes to Boston as a coincidental conquering hero

Getting payback in the NHL for being wronged can happen in so many ways. For Boston fans that felt they were wronged by Penguins irritating forward Matt Cooke after his brutal blow to the head of Bruins star Marc Savard, their wont to have Cooke see justice was never truly fulfilled for them and the Bruins were left to stew and be angry about the situation.

Cooke wasn’t suspended for the hit on Savard and when the Penguins and Bruins met later that season, the Bruins not only didn’t get revenge on ice for the hit but they were also humiliated losing the game. This is where Atlanta’s Evander Kane became an accidental cult hero in Boston.

Kane’s one-punch knockout of Cooke in a fight in the final game of the season for the Thrashers became an instant hit in Boston with not just the fans but also with Bruins players. NESN’s Douglas Flynn hears Kane’s side of the story.

“I know when it happened, I got a couple phone calls from the guys,” said Kane after Thursday’s morning skate. “I know it got a lot of buzz throughout the league. It just so happened to be Matt Cooke, who did that to Marc Savard earlier on in the year. I wasn’t really looking for payback for that. It was more for myself and for my team, but I guess it worked out.”

Kane’s KO of Cooke was especially gratifying for Savard’s longtime linemate Milan Lucic.

“I know Milan Lucic pretty well, I played in junior with him [with the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League in 2006-07],” said Kane. “So he sent me a text, told me what was going on in Boston. It was a fun time. Like I said, that definitely wasn’t in my mind at all, but I know it got a lot of attention and was a pretty big story.”

Boston fans rallied around video Kane’s KO like they do the replays of the Carlton Fisk home run and Bobby Orr’s magical goal against the Blues. If Kane isn’t given the warmest greeting a visiting player has ever seen in the Garden tonight we’ll be stunned. Anyone booing Kane should probably get the same kind of treatment “Waffle Man” has in Toronto.

Still, it’s weird to have a situation like this and to have it all happen purely out of coincidence. Kane was trying to fire up his team and just so happened to have karma as his corner man going into that scrap. It’s either that or just being named after the former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield really carries a lot of gravitas going into a fight.

Capitals’ Schmidt hurt by Leafs’ Komarov; Record 18th playoff game to OT

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Now, players are known to at least try to return to games after injuries, sometimes ultimately demeaning such efforts unsuccessful.

So, it’s possible that the Washington Capitals should still be concerned about defenseman Nate Schmidt. The solid depth blueliner was helped off the ice after a hit by Leo Komarov of the Toronto Maple Leafs, but the good news is that he was at least able to make his way back for a spin later on in the same third period.

Does that mean he’ll be OK? We’ll see. The game is entering OT – the 18th of this round, a new NHL record – so a possible Schmidt injury could put Washington at a disadvantage during “free hockey.”

It makes sense that Toronto and Washington made it a new record, as this is the fifth time in six games that they beyond regulation in this series. Wow.

Auston Matthews keeps goal streak alive, gives Leafs 1-0 lead in third

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These are the moments Toronto Maple Leafs fans were dreaming about when they drafted Auston Matthews. At least those bold enough to picture such great things, so soon in his career.

Speaking of so soon … that’s not how you’d describe a 1-0 goal happening in the third period of a game in this Leafs – Washington Capitals series, but it took that long to break the ice in Game 6.

It took a very lucky bounce for the puck to find its way to Matthews … but the finish was pure skill. With that, the remarkable rookie now has a goal in four straight games (with an assist thrown in for good measure).

The lead wouldn’t last long, however, as Marcus Johansson scored to tie it 1-1.

Things could get awfully nervous for Toronto as they try to force a decisive Game 7 in Washington, but that was a huge goal by Matthews either way.

Clarke MacArthur, Craig Anderson made Sens win that much more emotional

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It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.

His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.

Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.

He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.

And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.

Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:

As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

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Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins?

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.