Tyler Seguin, Chris Kelly, Dennis Seidenberg, Michael Ryder

Tyler Seguin, Bruins explode in second period, hang on to tie series 1-1

A lot of people watched Tyler Seguin’s astounding four-point second period and wondered what Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien was thinking when he made him a healthy scratch for two rounds. Yet it’s quite possible Seguin benefited from having fresh legs and the motivation to never watch a playoff game in street clothes again. Either way, it’s hard to imagine the second pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft being a healthy scratch again anytime soon.

If ever, really.

Boston 6, Tampa Bay 5; Series tied 1-1

There really wasn’t a dull moment in this game, which surprised many considering the defense-first strategies both teams normally employ. The Lightning will inspire yet another round of “striking fast” puns thanks to Adam Hall’s goal, which happened just 13 seconds into the game. The Bruins dominated most of the first frame and tied it up 1-1, but Steven Stamkos sent a brilliant blind pass to set up a Martin St. Louis 2-1 goal with just seven seconds left.

That goal left the Boston crowd stunned, but it turned out be a prelude to two more dramatic periods.

Tyler Seguin, Bruins chase Dwayne Roloson in the second period

In a second period some might call “The Revenge of the Law of Averages,” the Bruins finally took over Game 2. Obviously, the biggest story was Seguin, who set a single-game playoff record for a teenager with four points (according to Versus). We’ll have more on his special night in a separate post, but if you need a taste of just how special he was, check out this video.

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Seguin wasn’t the only Bruins forward who dominated in the second period, even if he clearly produced his first true star-making moment. Michael Ryder scored two goals himself, for example. Another heartening trend for the Bruins was their improved power play (and, by extension, Tomas Kaberle, who produced two assists). That much-derided unit produced two goals on six opportunities and plenty of shots in the process.

It’s important to note the timely (and difficult) saves made by Tim Thomas. The Lightning received a disturbing amount of (partial or full) breakaway opportunities, but Thomas made some huge saves to maintain what became a 6-3 lead. In keeping with the theme of this crazy game, the game was far from over even if elderly godsend Dwayne Roloson was chased from the Lightning net.

Tampa Bay storms back in third

As Keith Jones pointed out in the post-game recap, the Bruins missed Patrice Bergeron the most when they were trying to hold onto what should have been a secure 6-3 lead in the final frame. Say what you will about this Lightning team, they won’t just slump their shoulders and quit.

They didn’t end up tying the game, but the Bolts can take some momentum going into their home games. Stamkos continued his own excellent night by firing an absolute laser beam over Thomas to make it 6-4, giving his team hope once again.

Dominic Moore ended up making it 6-5 on a bizarre interchange. It seemed like Victor Hedman scored a goal seconds before a wild scrum, but Moore was wise to punch it back in as Thomas was bowled over. Check out footage of that moment below.

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That goal came with almost seven minutes left in the third, so there were plenty of breath-taking moments. If you ask me, the closest the Lightning came when Marc-Andre Bergeron nearly scored on a rebound attempt 16:09 into the third. Thomas ended up stopping it, though, and the Bruins held on for dear life with some resourceful last-minute plays.

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This was a wild and memorable game, so we’ll have a little more on Seguin’s special night and how each team should feel going into Game 3 shortly.

Sharks scratch Flames’ big lead, Calgary wins anyway

Calgary Flames' Mikael Backlund (11) chases down the puck against San Jose Sharks' Tomas Hertl (48) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in San Jose, Calif., Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
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If you turned off Thursday’s Calgary Flames – San Jose Sharks game early, you’ll probably be stunned to see that Calgary won 6-5 via a shootout.

For instance:

  • A Sharks fan may have bitterly called it a night when Calgary went up 4-1.
  • Conversely, a Flames devotee might have retired after San Jose took a 5-4 lead, possibly with a broken remote.

The Flames only trailed for about two minutes before scoring the last “real” goal of the game, eventually taking their third straight win thanks to a shootout triumph.

It’s been a strange ride for Calgary, with its most recent win happening after Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Lance Bouma were punished with a healthy scratch. As strange as this game was, the “charity point” can leave both teams looking through a lot of film, yet with something gained as well.

Ultimately, the message may very well be: don’t sleep on these teams.

(In less positive news, Karri Ramo is injured, and it doesn’t look good.

Jonas Hiller closing out the game on a hot streak could be pretty important if Ramo’s out for some time.)

By winning fifth straight, Caps extend Wild’s slump to seven losses

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alex Ovechkin scored three times in the second period for his 14th career hat trick, and the Washington Capitals beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday night.

Ovechkin, who leads the league with 34 goals, has 13 in his past 13 games. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists and Jason Chimera added an empty-netter for Washington, which improved to a league-best 20-5-2 on the road.

Braden Holtby made 33 saves for the Capitals, who won their fifth consecutive game and became the first team to reach 40 victories this season.

Charlie Coyle, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund scored for the Wild, but Minnesota lost for the 12th time in its past 13 games (1-10-2). Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for the Wild, who have lost seven in a row at home (0-4-3).

Ovechkin’s third goal, which deflected off both the post and the back of Dubnyk into the net, was upheld following a coach’s challenge. Wild coach Mike Yeo challenged that the puck had left the zone for offsides, but the call stood after a review showed that Backstrom stopped the puck before it crossed the blue line.

The goal gave Ovechkin his first hat trick since he scored four goals against Tampa Bay on Dec. 10, 2013.

It wasn’t the only fortunate bounce for Ovechkin on the night, and the five-time 50-goal scorer capitalized on each opportunity.

A shot from T.J. Oshie deflected off of Minnesota forward Zach Parise across the ice right to Ovechkin in the left faceoff circle and Ovechkin quickly snapped off a shot to beat Dubnyk, who couldn’t get across the crease to get into position. Three minutes later, Ovechkin scored on the power play when a point shot bounced off the end boards right to Ovechkin in front of the net.

The tally provided some relief for the Capitals’ surprisingly ineffective power play. Washington had one power play in its previous six games, an empty-netter for the only goal in its previous 20 power-play chances. The Capitals were 1 of 5 on the power play on Thursday.

Coyle scored for the fifth time in eight games in the second, but second periods have doomed the Wild during their slump. Minnesota has been outscored 13-3 in the period in five straight losses.

Suter scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play in the third as Minnesota went 1 of 5 with the man advantage.

NOTES: Washington C Evgeny Kuznetsov left in the third period after he was hit in the face by the stick of Mikael Granlund off a faceoff. … Backstrom has 20 points in his last 17 games. … Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon missed his second straight game with an unspecified deep bruise. Spurgeon has returned to practice, but was held out again. … Holtby is 27-1-3 in his last 31 games with two shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick helps him make more history

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

(He also passed Jean Beliveau for 39th all-time in goals with his 509th, as NHL.com notes.)

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Update: Minnesota managed three goals, but it wasn’t enough, as Washington got the edge 4-3.