Roberto Luongo, Marcus Kruger

Comparing PHT editor and reader predictions to first round results

It’s not easy to make forecasts for many things in life. When it comes to predicting the weather, meteorologists receive all kinds of vitriol if they guess incorrectly. If you want an amusing example of this phenomenon, just watch Nicholas Cage in “The Weather Man.”

Predicting the outcomes of sporting events can be pretty random too, but we typically don’t have to worry about getting fried chicken thrown at us if we’re wrong. (At least in my experience.)

Either way, part of the fun of predicting the outcomes of games comes when we find out if our wild guesses picks are accurate. Let’s take a look at how the first round’s results compare to the PHT editors’ picks (Joe Yerdon, James O’Brien and Matt Reitz) as well as the top choices of PHT readers.

Eastern Conference quarterfinals

1. Washington Capitals vs. 8. New York Rangers

Actual result: Capitals win series 4-1.
PHT readers pick: Capitals win series 4-1. (33.5 percent)
Joe’s pick: Capitals win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Capitals win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Capitals win series 4-1.

2. Philadelphia Flyers vs. 7. Buffalo Sabres

Actual result: Flyers win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Sabres win series 4-2. (35.1 percent)
Joe’s pick: Flyers win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Flyers win series 4-3.
Matt’s pick:  Sabres win series 4-2.

3. Boston Bruins vs. 6. Montreal Canadiens

Actual result: Bruins win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Bruins win series 4-2. (35.65 percent)
Joe’s pick: Bruins win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Bruins win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Bruins win series 4-3.

4. Pittsburgh Penguins vs. 5. Tampa Bay Lightning

Actual result: Lightning win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Penguins win series 4-2. (41.69 percent)
Joe’s pick: Penguins win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Lightning win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Penguins win series 4-1.

Western Conference quarterfinals

1. Vancouver Canucks vs. 8. Chicago Blackhawks

Actual result: Canucks win series 4-3.
PHT readers pick: Blackhawks win series 4-3. (31.03 percent)
Joe’s pick: Canucks win series 4-1.
James’ pick: Canucks win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Canucks win series 4-2.

2. San Jose Sharks vs. 7. Los Angeles Kings

Actual result: Sharks win series 4-2.
PHT readers pick: Sharks win series 4-1. (44.01 percent)
Joe’s pick: Sharks win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Sharks win series 4-1.
Matt’s pick: Sharks win series 4-1.

3. Detroit Red Wings vs. 6. Phoenix Coyotes

Actual result: Red Wings win series 4-0.
PHT readers pick: Red Wings win series 4-1. (36.71 percent)
Joe’s pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.
James’ pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Red Wings win series 4-2.

4. Anaheim Ducks vs. 5. Nashville Predators

Actual result: Predators win series 4-2.
PHT readers pick: Predators win series 4-2. (39.51 percent)
Joe’s pick: Ducks win series 4-3.
James’ pick: Predators win series 4-2.
Matt’s pick: Predators win series 4-2.

Overall records:

PHT readers: 5-3 (with two exactly correct)
Joe: 6-2 (with three exactly correct)
James: 8-0 (with two exactly correct)
Matt: 6-2 (with three exactly correct)

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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NBCSN screen
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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.