After falling behind 3-0, the Washington Capitals stormed back for a thrilling 5-4 win in the nation’s capital. Things didn’t start out well for the Caps as Selanne set up a Saku Koivu for the first goal, then scored a pair of his own to help the Ducks jump out to their big lead. But some shaky defense and equally shaky goaltending proved that no lead was insurmountable on Tuesday night.
Despite Selanne scoring his fourth point of the night, Nicklas Backstrom was able to cash in the game-tying goal with only 42 seconds left in the game. As if that wasn’t enough, Backstrom topped the last minute goal with the OT game-winner halfway through the 4-on-4 overtime period. All’s well that ends well for Caps fans, right?
For most of the night, it looked like the story of game would be Teemu Selanne drinking gallons from the fountain of youth. The struggling Ducks needed a good start in Washington—and the strong first period was just what the doctor ordered. Or so we thought.
The Ducks are going to wonder what happened as they continue their brutal 7-game road trip. They jumped out to a big lead and only sloppy play allowed the Caps back in the game. The loss drops them to 1-5-1 in their last 7; a far cry from the team that was coming off a 4-game winning streak.
One of the big stories after the game may not be the guys who contributed to the game-tying goal at the end of the game, but the guy who was not on the ice. When the Caps desperately needed a goal to tie the game, they pulled their goaltender for an extra skater. Even with six guys on the ice to create offense, Caps head coach Bruce Boudreau didn’t have Alex Ovechkin on the ice.
When OT started, again Ovechkin was not on the ice to start the extra frame causing even more questions to be asked. But that game-winning goal? It was Ovechkin who kicked the puck over to his teammate. So it wasn’t all bad for the Russian sniper.
Fans should be happy with the late, comeback win. But what’s up with their captain and the head coach?
Veteran forward Mike Santorelli, who’s appeared in over 400 NHL contests over the last eight years, is headed overseas.
Per multiple reports (see here and here), Santorelli has signed with Geneve-Servette of the Swiss League. The 30-year-old spent last season with the Ducks, scoring nine goals and 18 points in 70 games but didn’t dress for any of the club’s opening-round playoff loss to Nashville.
Santorelli broke into the NHL with Nashville but enjoyed his best years with Florida and Vancouver. He was a former 20-goal scorer with the Panthers and enjoyed a successful stint with his hometown Canucks in ’13-14, scoring 28 points in 49 games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.
Santorelli is the second veteran forward to sign in the Swiss League recently. Over the weekend, fellow journeyman Kris Versteeg agreed to join SC Bern.
Upon trading Kerby Rychel to Toronto at the draft for Scott Harrington, Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said Harrington was “a guy we’ve watched for a while,” and a “steady, smart [and] good defender.”
Which makes today’s move none too surprising.
On Monday, Kekalainen announced Harrington signed a one-year, two-way deal (financial terms weren’t disclosed). The contract comes after Harrington split last season between the Leafs and the AHL Marlies, appearing in 15 NHL contests.
While Kekalainen was high on Harrington, the most noteworthy thing about the acquisition is it ended a long-running saga with Rychel, the 19th overall pick in 2013. There were repeated rumblings that Rychel wanted out of town, and felt stifled by Columbus’ reluctance to make him a full-time NHLer.
For a while, Kekalainen stood firm in the face of the reports, once openly wondering where they came from. But in the end, the decision was made to part ways with the 21-year-old, the son of ex-NHLer Warren Rychel.
As for Harrington, he should compete for a spot on the Columbus blueline next season. Right now he projects to be the No. 7 or 8 guy, assuming that super prospect Zach Werenski is primed for a full-time gig in the NHL, firmly entrenched in the Blue Jackets’ top six.
In other news from Columbus today, the club has also agreed to terms with AHL forward Alex Broadhurst.
One of the pieces acquired in last summer’s Brandon Saad blockbuster, Broadhurst was a key contributor to AHL Lake Erie’s Calder Cup championship this past spring, finishing second on the club in playoff assists.
Over the weekend, reports suggested that Toronto and RFA blueliner Frank Corrado were close to agreeing to a new contract.
On Monday, the two sides sealed the deal.
The Leafs announced they signed Corrado to a one-year contract, with Sportsnet reporting it to be a $600,00 pact, of the one-way variety.
Corrado, 23, was scheduled to go to arbitration tomorrow. His ask was $900,000, while the Leafs countered with a $625,000 figure on a two-way deal, and $575,000 on a one-way.
So Toronto was nearly spot-on with its valuation.
The former Canucks draftee took a while to make his Leafs debut last season — he sat 28 games after they claimed him off waivers — but when he did get into the lineup, he fared reasonably well. Corrado finished with a goal and six points in 39 games, averaging 14:27 TOI per game.
This marks the second player Toronto avoided going to arbitration with. Prior to signing Corrado, the Leafs inked center Peter Holland to a one-year, $1.3 million deal.
The Philadelphia Flyers are hoping Brayden Schenn hasn’t finished improving. The former fifth overall draft pick signed a four-year, $20.5 million contract today, after posting career highs in goals (26) and assists (33) in 2015-16.
It took a few years for Schenn, 24, to start justifying his draft position. John Tavares, Victor Hedman, Matt Duchene, and Evander Kane were selected with the first four picks that year. Oliver Ekman-Larsson was taken sixth overall.
So there was pressure.
“I think sometimes when you draft a player top five you tend to think he’s going to develop a little quicker than other guys,” Flyers GM Ron Hextall said Monday, per Flyzette. “When you look at Brayden, has he been a fast developer? I would say probably no. Has he been a slow developer? I would say probably no. He’s probably been average.
“The good thing is he’s gotten better every year and he’s a hard worker. He’s starting to figure out the intricacies of the game. He obviously had his best year to this point so hopefully he continues to build on that.”
Hextall reportedly danced around a question about Schenn being part of the “core” group, so there’s still some proving to be done. The Flyers have already committed long-term to forwards Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, and Sean Couturier. Wayne Simmonds and Michael Raffl have three years left on their deals, and Dale Weise signed a four-year agreement on July 1.
As for Schenn, he knows he needs to justify the Flyers’ trust in his ongoing development.
“I feel like I keep getting better and better,” he said. “I expect nothing else next year.”