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Riding the Zamboni – Sunday, January 2nd

Philadelphia 3 – Detroit 2

It had been 22 years since the Flyers last won in Detroit. The last time the Flyers won in Detroit, Ron Hextall was the main man in goal and Tim Kerr was an offensive force to be reckoned with back in November 1988. This time around it was Brian Boucher getting it done in goal while James van Riemsdyk, Dan Carcillo, and Scott Hartnell added the offense to beat Jimmy Howard and the Red Wings. The Wings mounted a threat in the third thanks to sitting Howard in favor of Chris Osgood and goals from Valtteri Filppula and Henrik Zetterberg but couldn’t finish the job.

Atlanta 4 – Montreal 3 (F/OT)

Vancouver 2 – Colorado 1

Vancouver jumped to the top of the standings in the NHL by taking out a less-than edgy Colorado team. Alexandre Bolduc scored his first career goal and Mason Raymond added the eventual game-winner. Roberto Luongo held strong in goal stopping 31 shots. Paul Stastny scored late in the third to give the Avs some hope but it wouldn’t pan out.

Anaheim 2 – Chicago 1

A game without captains sees Ducks goalie Jonas Hiller steal the show. Hiller stopped 39 shots on his way to victory and kept the mostly punchless Ducks offense in position to win with just a couple of goals. Andreas Lilja scored his first goal while Corey Perry scored his 21st of the year.

Florida 3 – NY Rangers 0

It was just one of those nights for the Rangers and when you go up against Tomas Vokoun when he’s hot it makes for a long night. Vokoun stopped all 32 shots he saw in earning his fifth shutout of the season. David Booth, Chris Higgins, and Stephen Weiss each had a goal for Florida. Meanwhile, the Rangers offense has evaporated in Florida scoring just one goal against the Lightning and Panthers on this road trip.

Dallas 4 – St. Louis 2

The Stars used a big third period to take out the Blues. A three goal third period was kicked off by Brenden Morrow scoring his second goal of the game followed by Brad Richards and James Neal capping it off to give Dallas the win. Kari Lehtonen bounced back nicely stopping 28 shots in the win. Jaroslav Halak was a bit unlike himself stopping just 23 shots.

Nashville 4 – Columbus 1

Sometimes all it takes is the captain to step up and that’s what Shea Weber did tonight. Weber had a goal and two assists to lead the Predators to their second straight win. After going through such a slump before dropping five games in a row, back-to-back 4-1 wins is the kind of confidence boost the Preds needed, especially against a divisional foe.

Minnesota 6 – Phoenix 5 (F/OT)

A crazy, back and forth game ends with the Wild pulling out a rather improbable victory. Pierre-Marc Bouchard scored with 26 seconds left in regulation to tie the game. In overtime, Cam Barker would win it for Minnesota just 46 seconds into the extra session. Mikko Koivu topped the game with four assists while Andrew Brunette had two goals and an assist while Brent Burns had a goal and two assists. With each team having dueling meltdowns, it’s a gut-punch of a loss for Phoenix who stormed back into the game to tie it at 3-3 in the third and then lunged ahead 5-4 later in the period after trading goals with the Wild.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

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Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

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If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

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It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

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Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

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As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.