Henrik Sedin and Ryan Kesler

Riding the Zamboni – March 27; Canucks hit 50 wins, Bruins clinch,

Vancouver 4 – Columbus 1

A milestone win for the Canucks as for the first time in team history they won 50 games. Chris Higgins had two goals and an assist to lead the way while Cory Schneider stopped 39 shots to ensure victory. Henrik Sedin and Christian Ehrhoff also added goals for Vancouver as they continue their dominance out west. R.J. Umberger had the Jackets’ only goal. The win gives Vancouver 109 points on the season and extends their lead over Detroit for the top spot to 12 points. One more Canucks win will lock up the top spot in the West and home ice throughout the playoffs.

Boston 2 – Philadelphia 1

Boston locked up a playoff spot thanks to Brad Marchand’s third period goal. Tim Thomas stopped 27 shots in a stellar effort to shutdown the Flyers.

Pittsburgh 2 – Florida 1 (F/SO)

Pittsburgh won their fourth straight game, all of which have come via the shootout – a new and unique record all of their own. Ben Lovejoy scored in regulation for the Pens while James Neal and Alex Kovalev scored in the shootout to help the Pens cut Philly’s advantage in the Atlantic Division to just four points. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 37 shots in the win, meanwhile Tomas Vokoun left the game with just seconds left in the third with a back injury. He’s expected back this week.

Atlanta 5 – Ottawa 4 (F/SO)

It’s not much of a pulse, but the Thrashers still have one for the playoffs after taking out Craig Anderson in the shootout. Andrew Ladd netted the winner in the shootout while four different Thrashers scored in regulation. Atlanta managed to blow a 4-2 lead in the third to allow the Sens back in the game. Chris Mason earned the win for Atlanta in goal. Marek Svatos scored twice for Ottawa. Atlanta is nine points out of the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with seven games left to play.

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

14 Comments

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

20 Comments

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

22 Comments

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

99 Comments

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

***

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.