Toronto Maple Leafs v New York Rangers

Luke Schenn shakes off trade rumors

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With last night’s big trade sending shock waves through the NHL, our insatiable sides urge on an obvious question: who’s next?

Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke is far from shy when it comes to making splashy moves and he’s gone on record of saying that he wants to improve the team for this playoff run. That’s a departure from past seasons when it seemed to be all about building for the future.

With that in mind, the already present Luke Schenn trade rumors gain some extra credibility. The defensive-minded blueliner told The National Post’s Sean Fitz-Gerald that the rumblings don’t really bother him, however.

“No, not really,” Schenn said. “In the three-and-a-half years I’ve been here, there’s been a few rumours of trades. It happens to come up every year, somehow. Like I said, I’m real happy to be here in Toronto.”

Maybe he should be a little concerned, though.

Sure, Schenn has plenty of things going for him. At only 22 years old, there’s good reason to believe that he should just get better. He’s also a player who brings a rugged style to the team as he leads the Buds in hits by a mile. (Schenn has 130 hits this season while no one else has 100.)

On the other hand, there are some reasons to believe he’s expendable. After averaging 22:22 minutes per game in 2010-11, Schenn’s only been on the ice for 16:35 minutes per game. That ranks him sixth among Leafs blueliners behind Mike Komisarek and just ahead of Keith Aulie and Cody Franson.

Considering the five-year, $18 million contract he signed during the summer and those dwindling numbers, Schenn seems far from untouchable.

Now, that’s not to say that Toronto would be wise to get rid of a player who was once the lone source of hope in a broken development system, but it’s certainly reasonable to at least float the idea.

(It doesn’t hurt that his brother Brayden plays for the Philadelphia Flyers, otherwise known as the team Luke has been linked to most often lately, by the way.)

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.