Jamie McGinn

Avalanche score with seconds left in third, beat Sabres

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The Colorado Avalance and Buffalo Sabres both need every point they can get to stay alive in their respective conferences. It therefore seems appropriate that this game went all the way to a shootout after a tying goal with mere seconds left in the third period.

Neither team ever gained more than a one-goal lead in Colorado’s 5-4 shootout victory. The Avalanche did outshoot their opponent 42-24, but the Sabres made the most of their opportunities. Buffalo’s Drew Stafford netted an unassisted shorthanded goal in the first period while Marcus Foligno found the back of the net twice. Defenseman Alexander Sulzer scored just his second career NHL goal in 80 games.

Calder Trophy contender Gabriel Landeskog answered for Colorado with his 20th goal and 26th assist of the season. However, it was Jamie McGinn that was the hero tonight. After netting the Avalanche’s first goal at 8:55 of the first period, McGinn extended the game by scoring the tying goal in the dying moments of the third period. You check out the highlights below.

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Semyon Varlamov allowed four goals on 24 shots through the overtime period, but he has been excellent in the shootout this season. He turned aside all three of the Sabres’ attempts to improve to 8-0 in 2011-12 shootouts.

Buffalo can take some comfort in knowing that they ended up with one point, even though they were so close to walking away with two. They are now three points behind the eighth place Washington Capitals, but Buffalo has played in one extra game. The Sabres will now head to Florida for games against the Panthers on Saturday and the Tampa Bay Lightning on Monday.

Colorado now has 80 points in 72 games, which keeps them in the pack as five teams’ battle for the seventh and eighth seeds in the Western Conference. The Avalanche won’t have any time to savor this victory as they need to head to New Jersey for Thursday’s game against the Devils.

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.

Blues aim to raise money for victims of Fort McMurray fires

An evacuee puts gas in his car on his way out of Fort McMurray, Alberta, as a wildfire burns in the background Wednesday, May 4, 2016. The raging wildfire emptied Canada's main oil sands city, destroying entire neighborhoods of Fort McMurray, where officials warned Wednesday that all efforts to suppress the fire have failed.  (Jason Franson /The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
AP
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Fires devastated the Canadian city of Fort McMurray, and the St. Louis Blues are doing their part to help those who were affected.

Here’s what the team is doing to raise money during Game 4 against the Dallas Stars:

Proceeds raised through the team’s 50/50 raffle and the Blues for Kids silent auction will benefit families who have been misplaced by the fires.

Blues forward Scottie Upshall shared his thoughts with the Associated Press regarding several family members being among those evacuated from the area.

“It’s been a great city, a city that’s survived for many years through some tough times and for me, growing up there doesn’t seem too long ago,” Upshall said. “Places that probably aren’t standing anymore will be really, really tough to take. But as long as everyone’s OK, that’s the main thing.”

Other people from around the hockey world weighed in on the scary scene, including Ottawa Senators defenseman Chris Phillips, who told the Ottawa Citizen that “it hurts a lot.”

People shared some scary sights from the evacuation.