Alex Burrows’ overtime goal exorcises the demons, Vancouver finally beats Chicago

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Tonight ran the gamut of possibilities and drama and all of it centered around Canucks forward Alex Burrows. Burrows rode the roller coaster of possibilities before ultimately ending up the Canucks’ big hero scoring his second goal of the game in overtime to give Vancouver a Game 7 win 2-1 over their tormentors from Chicago, finally beating them in a best of seven series in their third try in three years.

Burrows’ night started off quickly getting the Canucks on the board just under three minutes into the game giving Vancouver a 1-0 lead. Burrows would get a chance early in the third period to give Vancouver a 2-0 lead when he was awarded a penalty shot after being hooked on a breakaway. On his attempt, however, Corey Crawford (36 saves) would stop Burrows to preserve the score at 1-0.

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That stop would factor huge later on in the game with the Canucks on the power play, Burrows turned the puck over leading to a Chicago rush down ice that ultimately turned into a shorthanded goal by Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews to tie the game up.

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With the game headed to overtime, the spotlight wouldn’t leave Burrows as he was sent to the box for holding Duncan Keith early in OT. Penalties in overtime are rare but the Canucks withstood the onslaught of shots and saw one tremendous save from Roberto Luongo (31 saves in all) to rally the fans and the team.

With the penalty killed, Vancouver took advantage of a turnover from Chris Campoli and Burrows got his shot to end it and did so ripping one past Crawford over his shoulder and into the net to seal the game.

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Summing up Burrows’ night it went like this: Hero, goat, super goat, potential pariah, King of the World if that world was made up of Canucks fans.

With Vancouver wrapping up the series, they’ll now face Nashville in the second round. By virtue of the Canucks win, it also sets up a San Jose-Detroit second round rematch as well. There’s a couple ways things could go for Vancouver now that they’ve gotten the Chicago monkey off their back. They could either rally from this and roll through the playoffs or they’ll get the fight of their lives from every team standing in front of them.

Nashville is no pushover and if the Canucks thought Chicago was physical with them, there’s an angry former Canuck in Shane O’Brien frothing at the mouth to get shots at his former team, not to mention everyone else in Nashville that loves to throw a hit. If they’re able to get past them, then either San Jose or Detroit awaits. Vancouver  might be celebrating this win with some gusto, but this is just the start for them. They’ll either come out of this Chicago series wiser for the wear or get ushered out in the near future.

Ovechkin shrugs off Caps’ Game 1 loss in very Ovechkin way

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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).

Holtby takes blame for two big goals in Caps’ loss to Pens

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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.

Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

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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).

Karlsson makes difference for Senators vs. Lundqvist, Rangers

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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.