Montreal Canadiens v Boston Bruins - Game Five

Bruins beat Canadiens 2-1 in 2nd OT after Tim Thomas and Carey Price engage in epic duel

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When people pictured how the Montreal Canadiens-Boston Bruins series would play out, this was the type of game people were expecting. Both Carey Price and Tim Thomas were flat-out amazing, with Thomas stealing the show even though two Bruins skaters made great “saves” of their own during the contest.

Even though it took until a second overtime period for Nathan Horton to bang in a rebound for a 2-1 Bruins win, each squad brought relentless energy to a game that was full of drama and close calls. The Habs shouldn’t feel shame with this loss, but this is the kind of defeat that’s tough to shake.

Boston 2, Montreal 1 (2nd OT); Bruins lead series 3-2.

This marks the second consecutive overtime win for the Bruins, who now have the Canadiens on the ropes after dropping behind 0-2. The Bruins also became the first team to win a home game in this series.

The greatest moments probably came from the most amazing saves.

After plenty of trips to the doghouse, Michael Ryder is putting together the type of postseason that could make him a folk hero in Boston. Ryder made an outrageous (but unofficial) save on a Tomas Plekanec shot, stopping the puck with his right hand with the type of reaction that makes him a great off-season ball hockey goalie.

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You would assume that would be the highlight of the game, but Ryder ended up with some great competition, with Zdeno Chara making a crucial “save” of his own (though it was a bit more accidental).

Judging from those two dodged bullets, one might wonder if Thomas had a bad night. Instead, he was at his aggressive, sprawling best while stopping 44 out of 45 shots. His best moment came in the the second overtime period when he stopped a well-executed 2-on-1 play in what was probably the best save of the playoffs so far.

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(Unless you prefer Ryder’s out-of-context stroke of brilliance, of course.)

Carey Price didn’t get the win, but anyone who blames him for the loss obviously didn’t watch the game (or even peruse the box score). Price made 49 out of 51 saves, including a brilliant stop when David Krejci tried a fancy one-on-one deke on him.

Here are all of the highlights:

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Thomas and Price put on a goalie clinic, but ultimately, the unorthodox goalie’s team came out on top against the polished butterfly stylist.

The three goal scorers

Brad Marchand made it 1-0 in the third period after the puck went his way from Patrice Bergeron’s broken stick, a goal that happened shortly after Max Pacioretty’s nose-related insults cropped up on Twitter. (Pacioretty later apologized.)

That 1-0 goal lead didn’t last, though, as Jeff Halpern took advantage of a Bruins lapse to bring the score to 1-1. It would stay that way until Horton scored off of a rebound nine minutes into the second OT. (If you’re like me, you’re expecting to come across a lot of Dr. Seuss puns in the near future.)

The impact on both teams

The Bruins must feel a lot of confidence with their backs against the wall. They’ve won three straight games with little-to-no margin of error, and again, two of those victories came in OT. After a relatively shaky start, Thomas is showing the world why he’s one of the absolute best netminders alive.

The Canadiens must be heartbroken right now, especially since they had a legitimate chance to win all five games. The silver lining is obvious, though: they’re obviously talented enough to trade blows with a strong team.

Montreal only needs to look to their 2010 series against the Penguins and Capitals for more dire situations, although this one might match those from an emotional standpoint.

This series is living up to its expectations so far, but if this amazing Game 5 is any indication, there’s plenty of fun left. It just goes to show you that you don’t need a bunch of goals to have a captivating game.

Flames’ Bennett, Tkachuk accused of slew-footing in loss to Leafs

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The Calgary Flames dropped an ugly 4-0 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday, not exactly rebounding from an embarrassing 7-3 defeat at the hands of the Edmonton Oilers.

Things were ugly in a different way toward the end, especially if you ask Maple Leafs fans, as Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkachuk may or may not be guilty of “slew-footing” late in the contest. In each case, they were whistled for roughing.

Bennett was guilty of the first incident on Connor Carrick:

Meanwhile, around the time of the final whistle, Tkachuk’s “roughing” of Martin Marincin drew quite a bit of ire. You can see for yourself in the video above the post’s headline.

More than a few people believe that Tkachuk will be on the Department of Player Safety’s radar thanks to this moment.

There’s no doubt that he’s been making waves as a pest – really, from his first game in the NHL – but some believe he went over the line this time. He’s second in the NHL with 92 penalty minutes, by the way.

Patrick Marleau’s magical third period secures Sharks win vs. Avalanche

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At 37 years old and nearing 500 career goals, there aren’t a ton of things Patrick Marleau has failed to accomplish.* Still, he did something he’s never done – and few players have managed to do – in the San Jose Sharks’ 5-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night.

The amusing thing is that it was a mundane night for Marleau and the Sharks heading into the third period.

They carried a 2-1 lead against the Avs before Marleau’s magical period really kicked into gear. In less than eight minutes of game time, Marleau managed an out-of-left-field natural hat trick:

He didn’t stop there, either, as he also hit the four-goal mark for the first time in his career … and again, it was in the same period.

That’s his first four-goal game (and period, naturally). It’s been a long, long time since someone enjoyed a period like Marleau did:

Speaking of history, this massive night indeed places Marleau close to another impressive feat. He’s now at 497 career goals, three away from the elusive 500 mark.

To underscore how unexpected this outburst was, consider this: Marleau generated zero goals and one assist in his previous seven games.

As the Sharks enjoy an era fueled by the ascent of Brent Burns and the passing of the torch from the likes of Marleau and Joe Thornton to a group including Logan Couture and Martin Jones, it seems fitting that Marleau – a player receding from the team’s spotlight – totally stole the spotlight on Monday.

The Sharks probably won’t complain, either. He helped them seal their fifth consecutive win, putting San Jose in a strong position to regain the lead in the Pacific Division.

Pretty good stuff from a guy who rapidly faded from relevance after being stripped of the Sharks captaincy.

* – How dare you make Stanley Cup jokes on a happy occasion for Sharks fans?

Capitals assert their dominance once again, this time clobbering Hurricanes

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammates after assisting Justin Williams #14 on a goal against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the first period at Verizon Center on January 3, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The Washington Capitals lead the league in standings points … and maybe in swagger. At least, it feels that way lately.

Monday presented their latest display of power as the Carolina Hurricanes had no answer for the Capitals machine. Washington clobbered Carolina by a score of 6-1, but at least the Hurricanes can take comfort in joining a rather large group of teams who’ve been humbled by Braden Holtby & Co.

This makes the Capitals 11-0-1 during a dominant run; they’ve scored at least a point in all but one game since Dec. 21.

Honestly, you can dice up their hot streak in a variety of ways, as Washington’s been outstanding since at least early December. Margin of victory might be the most jaw-dropping way to illustrate Washington’s dominant run:

Yep, that’s something else.

Dmitry Orlov was one of the standouts of this latest win, scoring two goals. His strong night and flashes of brilliance prompted Alex Ovechkin to … maybe go a little over the top.

Hey, when you’re on fire like the Capitals have been lately, it’s probably tough to make some pretty bold comparisons.

Things might be turning around for Lundqvist (not so much for the Kings)

LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 13:  Marian Gaborik #12 of the Los Angeles Kings shakes hands with Henrik Lundqvist #30 of the New York Rangers after the Kings 3-2 double-overtime victory during Game Five of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center on June 13, 2014 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
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As you likely know, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game is coming to Los Angeles this weekend. If the Kings don’t get it together, that might be the biggest hockey event for some time, as they’re currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs.

Monday presented what felt like a story of one cold streak continuing to fade away while the other only seems to get icier.

The positive side: Henrik Lundqvist might just be working through that slump.

The New York Rangers beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday, and it wasn’t a walk in the park for Lundqvist. He made 36 out of 38 stops, giving him a personal three-game winning streak in which he’s allowed just four total goals.

Some of those stops were pretty impressive, too:

(He also shut down a Jeff Carter breakaway, which is obviously no easy task.)

While Lundqvist is getting it together, the Kings might just be a little worried after dropping their fourth straight loss.

They’re at 48 points in 47 games, leaving them three points behind the West’s two wild card teams and two behind the Canucks.

The Kings have experience fighting through challenges like these, but they’ve also fallen short of getting into the West’s top eight, and their schedule is awfully road-heavy:

Tuesday: at Devils
Thursday: at Hurricanes
Tuesday, Jan. 31: at Coyotes
Wednesday, Feb. 1: vs. Avalanche
Saturday, Feb. 4: at Flyers
Sunday, Feb. 5: at Capitals
Tuesday, Feb. 7: at Lightning
Thursday, Feb. 9: at Panthers

Some of those opponents are struggling and the All-Star break might allow for a breather, but that could still be a problematic stretch, especially if the Kings are in a fragile state.

Then again, if they look at Lundqvist’s upward trend, they can note that fortunes can change pretty quickly in 2016-17.