Riding the Zamboni – Saturday, March 19th

Need to catch up? Click on respective games for their recaps: Columbus beats Minnesota, Buffalo destroys Atlanta, Toronto upsets Boston and Philadelphia clinches a playoff spot against Dallas.

Now that we covered those bases, let’s take a look at Saturday’s other six games.

Ottawa 3, Tampa Bay 2 (OT)

The Lightning blew a 2-0 lead and allowed a Jason Spezza overtime goal to lose this game to the almost inexplicably frisky Senators tonight. It’s tough to ask a team to tank, but Ottawa’s way out of contention, so these wins just hurt their odds in the draft lottery. Meanhwile, Tampa Bay’s chances of winning the Southeast Division keep diminishing.

NY Islanders 4, Florida 3 (SO)

Speaking of questionable winning, the Islanders now have 68 points after beating the Panthers in a shootout. Both teams have 68 now, although Florida has one extra game remaining. The Isles earned points in nine of 10 games (5-1-4), so it seems like they might hop over the Panthers in the final standings. Which doesn’t seem particularly smart.

Nashville 3, Detroit 1

Both goalies were strong in this one, but Pekka Rinne came up the biggest. He stopped 39 out of 40 Red Wings shots to win a game that Nashville really needed while Jimmy Howard made 36 out of 38 saves for Detroit. This win puts the Predators in the top eight – at least for a brief time – with 84 points in 72 games played.

Colorado 3, Edmonton 2 (SO)

Let’s face it, the Oilers are probably the “real” winners in this one as they improved their chances of getting a better draft pick. Matt Duchene scored a goal and an assist during regulation while Ryan Stoa scored the only shootout goal in the game as Colorado won this irrelevant match.

San Jose 5, St. Louis 3

Joe Pavelski generated three points to help the Sharks win without Todd McLellan behind the bench. The win helps them stay ahead of their division rivals, as San Jose has 92 points in 73 games played this season. The negative side is that they might have lost Logan Couture for some time, as the talented rookie left Saturday’s game with a right leg injury.

Anaheim 2, Los Angeles 1 (OT)

Ray Emery’s long recovery from a career-threatening hip injury is starting to approach “legitimately inspiring” territory, as he now has two wins in a row. It’s not exactly like Emery was the beneficiary of an easy start, either, as he made 31 out of 32 saves to help the Ducks earn a huge win (even if they couldn’t do it in regulation). Corey Perry scored the game winner in overtime, Brandon McMillan scored the Ducks’ other goal and Dustin Brown scored a game-tying tally in the third for the Kings.

Los Angeles is in fifth place with 86 points while Anaheim is still very much alive in ninth with 83.

Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.

(Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)

The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.

It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.

Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.

Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?

The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.

Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).

Karlsson makes difference for Senators vs. Lundqvist, Rangers

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Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.

That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.

Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.

Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you. stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.

Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.

Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.

Ovechkin vs. Crosby shifts into high gear, Carlson clobbers Malkin

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You have to love when sports deliver on – if not exceed – the hype.

The second period of Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals has been brilliant and nasty, possibly more than many hockey fans dreamed.

It began with the Penguins getting the big edge; Sidney Crosby scored two goals in the span of 52 seconds and Braden Holtby needed to make some tough stops to keep it at 2-0.

MORE: Video of Crosby’s hot start

That put a damper on the great crowd at the Verizon Center for a bit, but the Capitals ended up responding.

Part of that was a physical response, with Dmitry Orlov delivering a big hit on Tom Kuhnhackl and John Carlson absolutely leveling Evgeni Malkin. The narrative got almost too obvious moments later, as Alex Ovechkin fired a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-1.

Fleury made a tough stop or two of his own once it was 2-1, so while the pace is picking up, the two goalies seem like they’re alert to the challenge as well.

There was plenty of nastiness with 18.9 seconds remaining in the second, setting the stage for what could be a thrilling third period … and maybe more?

Buckle up.

Video: Crosby scores two goals in 52 seconds vs. Capitals

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Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins came roaring out of the gate to start the second period after a 0-0 opening frame against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

Crosby scored two goals in just 52 seconds to give the Penguins a sudden 2-0 lead. One feels some pity for any fans who didn’t get to their seats just to start the frame … though in the likely event that they are Capitals fans, they might have been spared.

To Braden Holtby‘s credit, he made a couple tough saves moments later to keep it 2-0. It’s been a hectic first few minutes of the second after that relatively mundane first 20 minutes, so hang on tight.

Check out video above; you can also watch the pair of goals in the GIF combo below: