Ilya Bryzgalov

Ilya Bryzgalov shuts down the Washington Capitals

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With Philadelphia missing three of their top defensemen, Andrej Meszaros, Kimmo Timonen, and of course, Chris Pronger, someone had to step up if they were going to beat the Washington Capitals. Ilya Bryzgalov did just that.

Bryzgalov seems to have turned a corner since the All-Star break and he certainly came up big on Sunday, turning aside all 34 shots he faced in a 1-0 victory. He is now one win away from reaching the 25-victory mark for the fifth straight season. It was also his eighth straight start, although Bryzgalov apparently isn’t counting.

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The game got off to a heated start when Washington’s Troy Brouwer slammed Erik Gustafsson into the boards. That led to a fight between Brouwer and Scott Hartnell at 5:33 of the first period. However, things calmed down after that and there wasn’t a single penalty called in the second or third periods.

In a game that featured some of the NHL’s best forwards, it was Eric Wellwood, playing in his ninth career NHL contest, that scored the only goal of the match. Pavel Kubina and Matt Carle each recorded an assist.

Capitals coach Dale Hunter decided to limit Alex Ovechkin to just 16:11 minutes of playing time as his team was shutout for the second straight game. They’ll need to right their ship quickly if they want to avoid falling too far behind in the packed race for the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed. They have four games scheduled for next week, including key matchups against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday and the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday.

The Flyers primary job is to find a way to continue winning despite their injury woes. Although they are all-but certain to make the playoffs, the competition is fierce for fourth place. A bad March could result in them slipping all the way down to seventh place.

Video: Things get heated before Lightning – Islanders Game 3

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You know a playoff series is starting to rev up when teams can’t even peacefully share an ice surface during warm-ups.

The New York Islanders and Tampa Bay Lightning seemed to draw a red line in the sand between each other before Game 3, with the two sides exchanging a couple bumps and mean looks.

It’s … honestly a pretty amusing spectacle.

You can watch it all in the video above. Perhaps this GIF will fuel a meme or two:

Brian Boyle downplayed the exchange(s):

Penguins bring up Sestito and Oleksy

New Jersey Devils right wing Jordin Tootoo (22) fights with Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Tom Sestito (47) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, March 6, 2016, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)
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The Pittsburgh Penguins recalled tough guys Tom Sestito and Steve Oleksy from the AHL on Tuesday.

This move makes a sense for a couple of reasons.

Most clearly, things are getting nasty between the Penguins and Washington Capitals, so Pittsburgh is bringing in a couple of brutes. Each player isn’t shy about piling up penalty minutes, whether that be in the NHL or AHL.

The other reason: with injuries and Kris Letang‘s suspension, Oleksy could provide some depth. Justin Schultz is motivated to prove himself, yet Oleksy provides a little insurance.

Is it the ideal scenario in a big playoff game? Nope, but if brute force ends up being a factor, the Penguins added some muscle.

WATCH LIVE: Lightning at Islanders – Game 3

New York Islanders left wing Matt Martin (17) flights near the net with Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Ryan Callahan (24),center,  and defenseman Victor Hedman (77), of Sweden, during the first period of Game 2 of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semifinals Saturday, April 30, 2016, in Tampa, Fla. Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Ben Bishop (30) falls on the ice. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will look to take the series lead for the first time against the New York Islanders, who are trying to regain the advantage on home ice at the Barclays Center after a split in Tampa Bay. You can catch Game 3 between these teams on NBCSN (7 p.m. ET) or online with the NBC Sports’ Live Extra.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Here are some links to check out for tonight’s game:

Strome saga continues, will be a healthy scratch for Game 3

Halak practices fully, hoping to be back soon

 

Anisimov out six to eight weeks after undergoing ‘successful’ wrist surgery

Chicago Blackhawks' Artem Anisimov tries to handle a rebound from Montreal Canadiens goalie Mike Condon during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016, in Montreal. (Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press via AP)
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Artem Anisimov on Tuesday underwent successful surgery on his injured right wrist, the Chicago Blackhawks announced.

“We anticipate his return to full hockey activities in approximately six to eight weeks,” said team physician Dr. Michael Terry in a statement.

The news comes eight days after the Blackhawks were ousted in the first round, eliminated in seven games by the St. Louis Blues.

Acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in last summer’s blockbuster deal for Brandon Saad, the 27-year-old Anisimov enjoyed the second 20-goal season of his career and fell just two points shy of his previous career best of 44 when he was with the New York Rangers.

He played the bulk of this season on a line with two highly skilled players in Patrick Kane, the league-leader in points with 106, and Artemi Panarin, named as a Calder Trophy finalist on Monday.

In March, Anisimov was named to Russia’s preliminary roster for the upcoming World Cup of Hockey, although the recovery schedule outlined above should allow plenty of time for Anisimov to be physically ready for the tournament when it begins in September.

Related: Three major challenges facing the Chicago Blackhawks, who won’t be champs in 2016