It can’t be a Bruins-Canadiens game in Montreal without massive amounts of controversy. Tonight’s game provided enough from all angles to keep tinfoil hat wearers for both teams busy for the next year. In spite of all that, the Canadiens pulled a 2-1 win out in Game 6 to force a Game 7 tomorrow night in Boston.
The controversy began three minutes into the game when an apparent goal by Brian Gionta after a big rebound from Tim Thomas (25 saves) was put home for an apparent goal. The problem being that referee Kevin Pollock had blown the play dead after losing sight of the puck from his position on the opposite side of Thomas and the puck. Upon blowing the play dead, Habs fans at the Bell Centre littered the ice with rally towels and rained boos down on the call.
The Habs would be undeterred though as Mike Cammalleri would make it count at 10:07 of the first period on the power play to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead. The Habs would hold that lead until the second period when at 48 seconds in, Dennis Seidenberg would even things up slipping one past Carey Price (31 saves) to tie it up.
That lead would be short lived as Milan Lucic would provide more of the night’s controversy after boarding Jaroslav Spacek at 4:37 of the second. Lucic would receive a five minute major and a game misconduct. Patrice Bergeron would make the situation worse after getting a delay of game penalty for putting the the Habs on a 5-on-3 power play. There, Brian Gionta would score to put the Habs up for good 2-1.
The third period would roll along in classic Habs style with the Canadiens frustrating the Bruins and the Bruins unable to fight through and get the equalizer. Montreal’s win now forces a winner-take-all Game 7 tomorrow night in Boston to see who moves on to the second round.
For Montreal it was a classic game for them. They scored first (twice even!) and put the pressure on the Bruins to fight back all night long. When the Bruins evened it up, they were able to put them back in a hole right afterwards with a little help from Lucic. The Canadiens will want to do more of that in Game 7 to make the Bruins sweat it out.
For Boston, they have to do something with their power play. It’s a dire situation for them on the man advantage as they’ve still not scored on the power play in the playoffs. If the Bruins want to get out of this series, nevermind winning the Cup, they have to figure out what’s wrong there and get Tomas Kaberle going.
You know, it happens. Maybe not always in those exact words.
The Washington Capitals carried the play during portions of their 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even down 1-0 in the series, just about every player seemed happy with their overall game.
(Granted, Braden Holtby picked apart two of the three goals he allowed, and so on.)
Still, Alex Ovechkin shrugged off the disappointment in a way that wasn’t quite Rated R, but probably ranks in the PG-13 range:
The penalty element is interesting, though.
When asked after the loss about the lack of power plays, Matt Niskanen merely offered a “no comment.”
The Penguins experienced some sprawling moments, yet they avoided taking a penalty each time. Often, when a team carries long sequences of play, they’ll go on the PP (especially with home-ice advantage) … but not the Capitals in Game 1.
via Natural Stat Trick
It’s a situation to watch as the Capitals hope to even the series against the Penguins with Game 2 coming on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. (You can watch online, via the NBC Sports App and follow the livestream here).
It’s just about a consensus that the Washington Capitals believed that they generally played a strong game despite falling 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Braden Holtby‘s teammates likely wouldn’t agree with his assessment that the Game 1 loss is on his shoulders, but the perennial Vezina candidate took the blame for Sidney Crosby‘s first goal of the night and Nick Bonino‘s game-winner.
Noting that the Penguins are a dangerous rush team – making them a different threat than the Toronto Maple Leafs – Holtby believes that he should have had his glove in position to stop the 1-0 goal. He said he’s capable of making such a stop and “will next time.” Check out Crosby’s two goals below, with Holtby having a beef with the first one:
It’s really difficult to place too much blame on Holtby for giving up Nick Bonino’s game-winner, as it seemed like a great rush play that few goalies would be able to stop.
Judge for yourself in the highlights:
The Penguins were ultimately able to take a 1-0 series lead, but the Capitals seem capable of shrugging off questions about frustrations, even with naysayers starting to gain confidence in claiming that there will be more than the same.
If Washington’s going to get over this big hurdle, Holtby is likely to be a big part in doing so.
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).
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.