A tale of two teams for sure in the desert as the Coyotes took out the Capitals 3-2 in a tough, defensive affair. For Phoenix, the win is their fifth straight and it moves them into sole possession first place in the Pacific Division. With the Dallas Stars reeling and everyone else in the division catching up with them, it was only a matter of time that someone took the lead and Phoenix took advantage of things.
The Coyotes got goals from Martin Hanzal, Ray Whitney, and the game-winner from Vernon Fiddler in the third all while Ilya Bryzgalov held strong in goal stopping 29 shots. While the Caps outshot the Coyotes by a wide margin (30-18), Phoenix was able to take better advantage of their opportunities.
Washington dealing with another frustrating loss, their third in a row, is getting to be a tired topic of discussion in the nation’s capital. Yet again, we saw a lot of Alex Ovechkin, often taking extremely long shifts in order to try and spark the offense that just can’t wake up. This time around we saw odd match-up choices, including on the game’s final play.
With the Caps down by a goal and trying to kill a late penalty, they had a faceoff in the Phoenix end with 1.9 seconds to play. With most of the Caps attackers fanned out wide of the circle ready to jump on a rebound from the point, the player the Caps were trying to win the faceoff back to to score wasn’t Alex Semin or Ovechkin but rather Jason Chimera. Chimera fanned on the shot and time ticked away on their defeat.
Once again, the Caps biggest offensive stars were no-shows. Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Semin, and Alex Ovechkin combined for one assist on the game (Semin assisted on Marcus Johansson’s goal in the second period). Getting goals from Johansson and Matt Bradley are nice production to get from your depth players, but when they’re your only consistent contributors you’ve got some big problems to take care of.
The fans aren’t happy and the team is playing without any intensity. Being able to get up for games against the likes of Philadelphia and Pittsburgh is easy for the Caps, for anyone else it seems to be an issue. Something’s got to give in D.C. and soon because if the team continues to go on like this, their stay in the playoffs will be a very short one.
A huge tilt on day one of the World Hockey Championships, as Canada and the USA clash in Russia. You can watch the game online using the NBC Sports Live Extra app.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE
Canada came away with a gold medal in last year’s tournament while the United States took home the bronze. Of course, each team’s roster changes significantly every year.
The USA’s next game is tomorrow against Belarus. Canada will play Sunday against Hungary.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
–Here’s a feel-good story. Canucks prospect Brock Boeser is taking a girl with Down syndrome to prom. (Sportsnet)
–NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire does a lot of traveling during the playoffs. (Sports Illustrated)
–It sounds like ESPN’s Mike Wilbon isn’t a fan of the Coyotes’ latest front office hire. (ESPN)
–Watch the highlights from last night’s game between the Stars and Blues. (Top)
–Former referee Kerry Fraser wants the old charging rule to make a return. (TSN)
–Hockey is becoming more common in the North Carolina Sports Hall-of-Fame. (Charlotte Observer)
–Leafs prospect Mitch Marner’s family home caught fire prior to Game 1 of the OHL final. (Sportsnet)
The marathon is over. The Nashville Predators are back in the series.
The Predators have evened their best-of-seven second-round series with the San Jose Sharks at two-games apiece after Mike Fisher finally broke the deadlock with 8:48 remaining in the third overtime of an instant classic in these 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Fisher buried a rebound in front of the San Jose net to give the Predators a massive 4-3 win on home ice.
The goal capped off a frenetic (and lengthy) overtime session that was nothing but utter chaos at times in the opening extra frame. By the end, Fisher was almost too exhausted to describe the winner. Can you blame him?
Twice, the Sharks, who could’ve put the Predators on the brink of elimination with a win, thought they had scored the winner. Joel Ward couldn’t quite bury a wrap-around attempt before just about every player on the ice, it seemed, converged in the Nashville crease — some working to put the puck in the net, others working to keep the puck out.
The puck, somehow, never crossed the line, though some members of the Sharks raised their arms in celebration as if they had the decisive goal.
Later in the first OT period, the Sharks again thought they had won the game, only to have a lengthy and controversial review determine Joe Pavelski “…made incidental contact with Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne before the puck crossed the goal line, preventing Rinne from doing his job in the crease,” according to the league.
Adding to it all, the Predators were unsuccessful on two OT power plays. That opened the door for the Sharks, who were awarded power plays on two Shea Weber penalties in overtime but also couldn’t capitalize.
The Predators were less than five minutes away from losing this game in regulation, and going down 3-1 in the series, before James Neal tied it with 4:21 remaining.
The Dallas Stars faced the possibility of going home facing elimination. That was the scenario Thursday, as the Stars battled the St. Louis Blues in Game 4.
The previous game didn’t go well at all for the Stars. They were thumped 6-1, as things turned nasty between the two teams, and, most importantly, they fell behind in the series. There were serious questions surrounding their goalie duo that includes Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi. And Tyler Seguin was ruled out for Game 4.
Yes, things weren’t working in favor of the Stars.
But after a poor start in the opening period Thursday, the Stars fought back with Cody Eakin playing the unlikely overtime hero in a crucial Game 4 win. And Lehtonen was able to settle in after allowing that Vladimir Tarasenko goal in the opening period, stopping 24 of 26 shots.
“You really do have to stay level,” Jason Spezza told the Dallas Morning News.
“It’s the best two-of-three now, it’s momentum swings. We survived some breakaways, and the last two periods we played right and we earned it.”