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Afternoon shutouts: Sharks, Habs, and Ducks all roll in shutout fashion

San Jose 2 – Boston 0

A solid day for Antti Niemi as he stopped all 21 shots he saw en route to his third shutout of the season. Niemi has been great of late and it’s showing in the standings as the Sharks have caught up in a major way in the playoff race out West. For the Bruins, Tim Thomas stopped 16 of 17 shots he saw as Logan Couture’s power play goal in the first was the only shot to elude him. Devin Setoguchi added an empty net goal with three seconds to play to provide the final tally.

For Couture it’s his 23rd goal of the year and helping him in making his case for the Calder Trophy. For the Sharks it’s their third straight win and seventh in eight games. Boston now sits just two points ahead of Montreal for the Northeast lead because…

Montreal 2 – NY Rangers 0

Carey Price was stellar in stopping all 35 shots he faced and earned his fifth shutout of the season in stopping the Rangers. Scott Gomez’s seventh goal of the year got Montreal out in front in the second period and it was all they’d need to stop New York this afternoon as the Rangers offense were unable to get anything past Price. Tomas Plekanec added an empty net goal to seal the deal for Montreal, his 18th goal of the year. With the win, Montreal moved to within two points of division-leading Boston closing the gap to make sure the Bruins don’t get too cozy. Martin Biron stopped 27 of 28 shots he saw in playing well for the Rangers despite yet another poor showing by the Rangers offense.

Anaheim 3 – Colorado 0

Curtis McElhinney made the most of a rare start for Anaheim as he stopped all 25 shots he saw. Corey Perry was the real story here as he had all three Ducks goals in earning the hat trick and giving him 28 goals on the season. Perry has emerged while captain Ryan Getzlaf has been out of the lineup and his outstanding season marches along in Anaheim. For McElhinney, the shutout is his second of the season. If he can play this strong when Hiller can’t go or needs a break, the talk of bringing Ray Emery in to be the new backup just might have to cool off for good.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.