Shawn Thornton, Fernando Pisani

Chirp/Counter-chirp: John Scott, Shawn Thornton exchange barbs

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It’s either a big shame or a great relief that the Boston Bruins and Chicago Blackhawks likely will only see each other once or twice a year, unless they meet in the Stanley Cup finals. If you’re a fan of fights and bad blood, it’s a disappointment; if you think that fisticuffs do little but detract from the high-level skill of hockey players, you might be glad they only meet on seldom occasions.

Despite the fact that the Bruins handed the ‘Hawks a tough (but probably not paralyzing) loss, it seems like the “chirping” between Shawn Thornton and the Blackhawks bench stole the show. This post has a good rundown of the events, but the basic gist is that the Chicago bench heckled Thornton as he left the ice after enduring a gash that forced him to get 40 stitches. Before you consider the Blackhawks bench totally indefensible, their vitriolic response stemmed from frustrations related to Thornton reportedly picking on far-from-gritty forward Fernando Pisani.

(It still seems silly of Chicago players to do so, especially with Thornton being a bloody mess.)

CSN Boston’s Joe Haggerty provides the latest of the chirp-fest, as he caught up with towering Blackhawks defenseman/enforcer John Scott. Despite being a healthy scratch during the game, the 6-foot-8 blueline bruiser had some choice – if periodically perplexing – words for Thornton.

“He said that? That’s fine. He can say what he wants,” said Hawks enforcer Scott to the Chicago Tribune. “He’s going after some of our littlest guys on our team to start a fight. He’s trying to challenge [Fernando] Pisani to a fight. What’s that say about him?

“He’s Mr. Tough Guy and he’s trying to challenge Pisani. If I’m in the lineup, he’s more than welcome to come chirp at me. I’ll kick the [bleep] out of him.”

(snip)

The smack-talking defenseman said somewhat confusedly that Thornton was a “stand up guy”, but also got what was coming to him when he suffered an injury that could have given him permanent sight damage had it been a few inches south of his forehead.

“I don’t know if [I would chirp at an injured player], Thornton is a stand-up guy,” said Scott. “I don’t know who said anything, but he was kind of being cheap that game. So whatever. He gets what comes to him.”

Thornton’s response to all this: “No comment.”

Wait, Scott thinks is a stand-up guy but still thinks that Thornton was being cheap and that he deserves of a bleep-worthy beating? OK, then. Actually, Thornton did have something of a comment later on, as Haggerty shared on Twitter.

Texted Shawn Thornton for response to Jon Scott’s “kick the (bleep) out of him” comments, and B’s enforcer 1st text back said it all: “Who?”

That’s a good one-liner, but considering the fact that Scott is listed at a height just short of Zdeno Chara, something tells me Thornton would be one of the people who would take notice of him if he did play. Scott isn’t making a name for himself in the league by playing shut-down defense, but rather for using his enormous size to beat other players to a bloody pulp.

In other words, if the two face each other, it’s quite possible one of the teams’ benches would have another chance to chirp away at a bloodied player. Whenever they actually meet again, that is.

2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs schedule for Sunday, April 30

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The second-round continues on Sunday afternoon with another doubleheader of games on the NBC Networks.

All of the action starts at 3:00 p.m. ET when the Nashville Predators return home to host the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of their series and look to rebound from their first loss of the postsesaon.

Then, at 7:00 p.m. ET, the Edmonton Oilers return home to what should be a frenzied crowd as they try to take a commanding 3-0 series lead on the Anaheim Ducks.

Here is all of the information you need for Sunday’s games.

Nashville Predators vs. St. Louis Blues

Time: 3:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBC (Stream Online Here)

Announcers: Kenny Albert, Pierre McGuire

Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers

Time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Network: NBCSN (Stream Online Here)

Announcers: Chris Cuthbert, Joe Micheletti

Holtby ‘wasn’t as sharp as he can be,’ says Trotz

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Presidents’ Trophy winners once again in the regular season, the Capitals once again face an uphill climb if they are to advance beyond the rival Penguins and the second round of the playoffs.

What began with a strong first period for the Capitals in Game 2, albeit without a reward on the score board, faded into a frustrating 6-2 rout, as the Penguins took a commanding 2-0 series lead as it shifts back to Pittsburgh for a pivotal Game 3 on Monday.

Braden Holtby was pulled after the second period. He gave up three goals on 14 shots, while his opponent at the other end, Marc-Andre Fleury was brilliant with 34 saves.

“He’ll tell you that he can be better. He’s a straight up guy and he will be. I was just trying to change the mojo,” said Capitals coach Barry Trotz of his decision to sit Holtby.

“I thought some of the goals, he wasn’t as sharp as he can be for us. He’s a game-changer for us. So when he didn’t change the game, I just looked to change the mojo a little bit there. That’s all. Braden’s our backbone. He has been all year. We’ve got to find some goals for him, too. We can’t just put it on Braden Holtby.”

Now in a deep but not insurmountable hole against the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Capitals reportedly held a players’ only meeting following this latest defeat.

After failing to open the scoring in an otherwise dominant first period, Washington surrendered three goals in the second, as the Penguins broke it wide open with their transition game, led by two great plays from Sidney Crosby.

“We can’t get frustrated. I think that would be our biggest mistake is to get frustrated right now,” said T.J. Oshie, before expanding on the meeting between the players.

“It was things that people need to say and things that some people need to hear. We were very together with what we said. I don’t need to go into details. Sometimes in our game … you need to hear from your teammates more than your coach. And tonight was one of those nights.

“It was the players in here and what was said is what needed to be said.”

We’ll find out Monday if what was said actually has any impact on the ice.

Penguins rout Capitals to take commanding series lead

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The Washington Capitals are in trouble. Against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Again.

Despite a dominant first period, at least in terms of shots on Marc-Andre Fleury and puck possession, the Capitals saw this game go sideways in a hurry during the second period, on the way to a 6-2 loss to the Penguins in Game 2.

Washington is now in quite a hole, trailing its nemesis 2-0 in this second-round series.

Last year, Matt Murray stymied the Capitals. Though it’s only been two games this year, Fleury has stepped up in the absence of the injured Murray and given the Penguins solid goaltending and frustrated a dangerous Capitals lineup.

After withstanding the storm of pressure from the Capitals in the first period, the Penguins broke this game open with a trio of second-period goals. It started with a shorthanded goal from Matt Cullen, and later continued with a beautiful goal from Phil Kessel and then Jake Guentzel‘s sixth goal of these playoffs.

That led Barry Trotz to take Braden Holtby out of the game, after he gave up three goals on 14 shots, putting in Phillip Grubauer to begin the third period. The Penguins continued the onslaught.

For the Penguins, there are some injury concerns to keep an eye on.

Patric Hornqvist left the game in the first period after blocking a shot around his foot or ankle. He didn’t return. Ron Hainsey had to go to the locker room late in the third period after taking an Alex Ovechkin shot up around the head.

Game 3 goes Monday in Pittsburgh.

‘I wasn’t good enough,’ says Lundqvist after double OT loss to Senators

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The task wasn’t impossible, but certainly daunting.

The Ottawa Senators needed five goals on Henrik Lundqvist just to send Game 2 into overtime.

The Rangers goalie had been spectacular for most of this post-season entering Saturday’s contest, but the Senators, led by a sensational four-goal performance from Jean-Gabriel Pageau, found a way to break through for a 6-5 double overtime win to take a 2-0 series lead against New York.

They did so on just 34 shots through almost 83 minutes against Lundqvist.

“I wasn’t good enough,” said Lundqvist, per the New York Daily News. “Coming up with the extra save there in the end, that’s my job. Even though it’s tough plays on deflections, I’ve got to find a way.”

On three occasions, the Rangers held a two-goal lead. That includes with under five minutes remaining in regulation. They even had a pair of shorthanded goals. But they couldn’t hang on, as Pageau scored twice in the final 3:19 of regulation to record his hat trick.

That set the stage for the eventual winner, as he beat Lundqvist over the left shoulder with a shot from his off-wing on a two-on-one rush.

With the Senators in control, the series returns to New York for Game 3 on Tuesday and Game 4 on Thursday.

“We played well enough to win this game, there’s no question about it,” said Lundqvist. “It’s really tough to lose this one. Clearly they’ve gotten the bounces here in the first two games.”