Even when the Philadelphia Flyers were down 2-0 and 3-1 in the first period, there was a weird feeling that it wouldn’t be that easy for the Buffalo Sabres.
After all, it’s never really easy when it comes to the Flyers in the playoffs. This team might not always get from Point A to Point B in the most elegant way, but they tend to produce their best work when they need it the most. That’s the best way to explain their shaggy, bizarre journey to this overtime period.
After two outrageous periods, the teams slowed down a bit on the scoreboard even if the pace barely dropped a notch. The defense wasn’t always pretty, but it was a lot of fun to watch.
Scott Hartnell scored the only goal of the third period, although Mike Richards ended up making it happen. It’s a tough-to-stomach moment for those who thought Richards should have been booted out of the game for boarding Tim Connolly. Connolly probably won’t return to the game, although that hasn’t been officially confirmed.
Ryan Miller stopped 41 out of 45 shots while Brian Boucher maded 23 out of 24 saves in relief of Michael Leighton.
Both teams are working hard – even if they’re not always “working smart” – but it all comes down to overtime now. If the Sabres score, they’ll move on to a second round match against the first seeded Washington Capitals. If the Flyers manage to complete their unlikely comeback, they’ll force a Game 7 in Philadelphia. It should be fun (and nerve-wracking) to watch.
It wasn’t pretty – especially if you’re disgusted by that Roman Polak hit – but the Toronto Maple Leafs keep generating big wins as a playoff return looks increasingly likely.
Toronto managed a 5-2 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Wednesday, passing the Boston Bruins for third place in the Atlantic Division:
Maple Leafs: 83 points in 72 games
Bruins: 82 points in 73 games
This leaves the currently in-action New York Islanders four points behind the Bruins for the final wild card in the East.
The Maple Leafs aren’t just grabbing key points; they’re doing so against some strong opponents who’ve had plenty on the line, too. They beat a Metro contender in Columbus tonight, the Bruins on Monday, grabbed an OT point against Chicago on Saturday and handled the desperate Lightning last Thursday.
John Tortorella was left enraged after Roman Polak delivered a dangerous boarding hit on Oliver Bjorkstrand, and he probably wasn’t too pleased after the Columbus Blue Jackets failed to make Toronto pay for Polak’s misdeeds.
Polak received a game misconduct and boarding major for the hit, but the Blue Jackets failed to score on a lengthy power play. Tortorella played to script, as cameras caught him expressing his anger at the situation.
Honestly, after 10 games, the question shouldn’t be “can Josh Ho-Sang stick with the Islanders full-time?” Instead, the feeling is … what took so long for him to get this chance?
For all the grumbling about Ho-Sang sporting number 66, he’s provided serious bursts of brilliance and creativity for the Islanders, whether he’s been supporting or even setting upJohn Tavares.
The video above is some really good stuff, as it walks through his confident comments – and undeniable uncertainty – during the night he was drafted, all the way through him getting his chance with the Isles this season. Some of the best stuff comes from Doug Weight, who raves that Ho-Sang is a “five out of five” from an offensive standpoint.