After a brief lull, the trade floodgates seem to be opening on the Night Before Trade Christmas. The Buffalo Sabres acquired streaky goal scorer Brad Boyes from the St. Louis Blues for their 2011 second round pick.
It’s tough to argue with Joe’s assessment that adding Boyes might be more of the same, as the team features a variety of hot-and-cold snipers who aren’t particularly useful in their own end. Boyes scored as many as 43 goals one season, yet he only has 12 so far in 2010-11. His streaky shooting tendencies make jokes about his aim (or lack thereof) fairly commonplace among Blues fans.
Boyes is also a bit pricey, as the Sabres will be forced to cover his $4 million salary and cap hit through the 2011-12 season. Then again, maybe that’s not really a big deal for their deep-pocketed new owner Terry Pegula.
On one hand, some will say that Boyes is a bit redundant in the Sabres offense (I lean in that direction). That being said, perhaps coach Lindy Ruff can ride the hot hand between Boyes, Jason Pominville, Thomas Vanek and other streaky scorers to emulate the varied attack the team used during the all-too-brief Daniel Briere/Chris Drury days.
If nothing else, it’s nice to see the Sabres showing some aggressiveness since they’re only four games behind the eighth place Carolina Hurricanes (with two games in hand).
From the Blues’ perspective, they shed some salary and a player who might not fit in very well with a young and aggressive offense propelled by the likes of Chris Stewart and David Backes. The second round pick is a nice cherry on top, even if this draft is supposed to be pretty weak.
We’ll be up late to keep track of deals, which might be a good thing considering the fact that the dominoes are starting to fall already.
What a start.
This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.
This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.
What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:
This game also featured a sequence of three goals in 90 seconds and yet also some great saves by goaltenders Braden Holtby and Matt Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a controversial hit by Tom Wilson that might lead to a suspension.
There was even some odd stuff. Like how Jay Beagle got a stick stuck in his equipment.
If this game sets the tone for the rest of the series, then we should be in for a closely contested, highlight filled affair.
— Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Ben Lovejoy accounted for the Penguins’ other markers.
— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored the game’s opening goal. It was his first marker of the 2016 playoffs.
— Washington outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the first period, but Pittsburgh ended up with a 45-35 edge.
— This is the first time in the 2016 playoffs that Braden Holtby has allowed more than two goals. He surrendered just five goals in six games to Philadelphia.
— Matt Murray suffered his first career postseason loss after winning three straight contests against the New York Rangers.
Tom Wilson has already found himself in a controversy for delivering a late, knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night.
You can see that incident below:
Wilson spent two minutes in the sin bin earlier in the contest for crosschecking Evgeni Malkin, but there was no penalty on this play.
Fortunately Conor Sheary was able to stay in the game. The question now is if Wilson’s actions will lead to him being suspended prior to Game 2.
This isn’t Wilson’s first brush with controversy. He delivered a big hit to Brayden Schenn in 2013, but Wilson wasn’t suspended for that incident. Lubomir Visnovsky’s final campaign was cut short due to a check by Wilson that angered the New York Islanders. More recently, Nikita Zadorov was concussed by a crushing blow from the Capitals forward.
In 231 career regular season games, Wilson has 50 points and 486 penalty minutes.
Related: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints
For the first 30 minutes of Game 1 between Pittsburgh and Washington it looked like goaltenders Matt Murray and Braden Holtby might outshine these star-studded offenses. Then the floodgates opened up, if only for a moment.
Washington already had a 1-0 lead going into the second frame courtesy of Andre Burakovsky‘s first marker of the 2016 playoffs, but Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals within the span of 57 seconds midway through the second period to tilt the scale in Pittsburgh’s favor. That lead didn’t last for long though as Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got a breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it.
In total, there were three goals scored in the span of just 90 seconds and you can see all of them below:
After that sequence, the 2-2 tie held for the remainder of the frame. However, Oshie was able to reassert Washington’s edge just 3:23 minutes into the third period.
Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.
Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below: