Devils

Some Stats: New Jersey’s penalty-killing is ridiculously good

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Some Stats is a weekly feature that will run every Thursday on PHT. In Some Stats, we look at some stats.

Minus-2 – New Jersey’s plus/minus…while shorthanded. Nine power-play goals allowed, seven shorthanded goals scored. We’ve raved about the Devils’ PK before in Some Stats. It might not be the flashiest story, but consider this – the Leafs are minus-31 shorthanded.

7-1 – New Jersey’s record in the shootout. The Devils’ dominance in the breakaway competition has helped them to sixth place in the Eastern Conference, meaning they’d make the playoffs if they started today. It begs the question, should a team with the fifth fewest regulation/overtime wins (11) in the league be in a position to qualify for the postseason? Meanwhile, Washington has 16 R/OT victories and finds itself on the outside looking in.

43 – Number of players with more goals than Alex Ovechkin. Not to beat a dead horse, but 11 goals in 32 games? At the pace Ovechkin’s on, he’ll finish the season with 28 goals. A good total for most players; a disaster for a guy who once scored 65. Ovechkin has two goals in his last three games, so maybe there’s reason to believe he’s turning it around. Then again, remember when Ovechkin scoring two goals in three games wasn’t even close to worth talking about?

5:04 – Average shorthanded ice time for Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin. Put another way, Beauchemin is spending over 8% of the game killing Anaheim penalties. He must be doing a pretty good, too – the Ducks’ PK is 12th in the NHL (82.5%). By the way, Beauchemin’s a pending UFA on a non-playoff team. Aren’t the Flyers looking for a defenseman that can play big minutes?

19 – Goals for Marian Gaborik. Including four in his last two games. Is this getting enough attention? The Rangers’ sniper is only one goal behind league leaders Jonathan Toews and Steven Stamkos. Gaborik’s not playing with Brad Richards, if you thought that might be it. He’s on a line with sophomore Derek Stepan in the middle and the apologetic Artem Anisimov on the other wing. Gaborik finished with 22 goals last season. He’s currently on pace for 50.

Game on: Penguins even series with rival Capitals

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The Pittsburgh Penguins will head back home with a split of their second-round series with the rival Washington Capitals.

Former Capitals forward Eric Fehr came back to burn his hold team, as he scored with under five minutes remaining in regulation to help lift the Penguins over Washington with a 2-1 victory in an eventful Game 2 on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin threw the puck toward the net and Fehr was able to re-direct it by Braden Holtby.

Oh, this was an eventful game, indeed.

It started early in the first period with Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik catching Penguins blue liner Olli Maatta with a late and high hit that warranted — at least for now — only a minor penalty for interference. Maatta, clearly in distress following the hit, didn’t play another shift and saw only 31 seconds of ice time in total, as Pittsburgh was reduced to five defensemen for the remainder of the game.

It continued in the third period. Kris Letang was furious after getting called for a trip on Justin Williams, and even more ticked off when the Capitals tied the game on the ensuing power play.

For two periods, the Capitals couldn’t get much going. Only four of their players had registered a shot on goal through 40 minutes, while the Penguins held the edge in that department and held the lead.

Washington came out with more jump in the third period, testing rookie netminder Matt Murray with 14 shots in the final 20 minutes. But the Penguins got the late goal to break the deadlock.

Video: Penguins’ Letang was furious after Capitals tie up Game 2 with power play goal

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Kris Letang watched from the penalty box as the Washington Capitals tied up Game 2 with a power play goal in the third period. The Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman was called for tripping after he appeared to muscle Justin Williams off the puck as he entered the zone.

Letang let his disagreement with the call be known at the time, and was furious after the Capitals capitalized on a goal from Marcus Johansson.

The Capitals started the period down a goal and being outshot 28-10 by the Penguins, who need a win to even the series.

Also, it seems this is worth mentioning:

Video: Hagelin goes top shelf to give Penguins the lead in Game 2

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In their quest to even the series, the Pittsburgh Penguins had done a nice job through two periods of suffocating the Washington Capitals, while gaining the lead on a beautiful goal.

Carl Hagelin took advantage of a vast amount of space that opened up in front of the Washington net, finishing off a nice pass from Nick Bonino, burying his shot just under the cross bar on the glove side of Braden Holtby.

Through two periods, the Penguins were outshooting Washington 28-10. Only four Capitals players — Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie, Evgeny Kuznetsov and Matt Niskanen — had registered shots on goal.

Video: Orpik penalized after catching Maatta with late, high hit

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The Pittsburgh Penguins were without defenseman Olli Maatta for most of the first period of Game 2 after he was on the receiving end of a high, late hit from Washington Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik.

The hit occurred early in the first period, well after Maatta had gotten rid of the puck on a rush into the Washington zone.

Maatta, who nearly fell over as he tried to stand back up, was in obvious distress as he went to the dressing room. Orpik was given a minor penalty for interference on the play.