Penalties, Flyers spoil Bruce Boudreau’s Ducks debut

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Sometimes, it’s tough to diagnose a struggling team’s problems. Yet after one OT loss, it should be painfully obvious to Bruce Boudreau that the top concern is penalties. The Anaheim Ducks have been one of the most penalized team in the NHL ever since the lockout ended, but the game’s final goal was a culmination of the squad’s biggest concerns.

The Ducks scrapped through a good chunk of Ryan Getzlaf’s crushing four-minute penalty (hooking plus unsportsmanlike conduct), but consistent failures to clear the zone allowed Claude Giroux to boom a one-timer home for the 4-3 game-winner.

Plenty to work on

To drive the point home, the Flyers scored three of their four goals on nine man advantage opportunities. Jaromir Jagr starred in his comeback from injury as he scored two goals plus an assist while hammering 10 shots on goal.

In a bigger picture sense, the Ducks need to work on playing with a lead. A couple lucky bounces and a Teemu Selanne tap-in goal gave them a 3-0 buffer but the Flyers refused to go away.

Most simply, a 47-22 shots margin shows how far Anaheim needs to go.

Good news/bad news

Jonas Hiller looked a lot like the star goalie who carried a shaky defense the past few seasons. He stopped 43 shots on Friday night. While that wasn’t enough, it shows that he can help bail the team out here and there if they decide to play a run-and-gun style.

Another positive bit is that the Ducks’ supporting cast did much of the scoring. Andrew Cogliano and Andrew Gordon pitched in a goal each while usual suspect Teemu Selanne pumped one in. Of course, the flip side is that the stars need to get it done. (Bobby Ryan fans might be mildly disappointed that he “only” received 17:15 of ice time, although the parade to the penalty box likely kept him on the bench more than Boudreau.)

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Through most of the game, it seemed like we would be talking about how Boudreau lucked into his first win. Considering Boudreau’s history against Philly, it only makes sense that the Ducks’ single point didn’t come easily.

Boudreau doesn’t have a long time to get acquainted with this situation – nor does he have much room for error – but at least the Ducks’ biggest issues stick out like a sore thumb. Actually fixing them might not be so easy, though.

Here are highlights from the game:

Penguins’ Guentzel makes ‘kick save’ to stop Capitals

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It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.

In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.

Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:

Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

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The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

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The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?