NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: Brian Boyle #22 of the New York Rangers reaches for the puck against Zack Smith #15 of the Ottawa Senators in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden on April 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

Discussion: Senators stun Rangers in dramatic 3-2 OT win


If it were not for the fact that this game went to overtime, the final score might have felt like an afterthought due to all the major incidents that occurred throughout the contest. However, the biggest story will ultimately be the Senators late game dramatics. Nick Foligno evened the game with just 4:37 left in the third period and then Chris Neil scored a mere 1:17 minutes into overtime to hand Ottawa a 3-2 victory. Just like that, we have a series again as things are knotted up at 1-1 going into Ottawa.

Here’s some discussion topics:

  • Matt Carkner set the tone for this game by picking a fight with Brian Boyle. Carkner knocked Boyle down and wailed on him despite the fact that Boyle didn’t even drop his gloves. Carkner was ejected as a result, but Boyle would later fight Chris Neil.
  • Daniel Alfredsson left Saturday’s game after being the victim of a high elbow from Carl Hagelin.
  • Erik Karlsson found the back of the net on Saturday after going scoreless in Game 1. As a rookie, he had six points in six games during Ottawa’s first round series against Pittsburgh in 2009.
  • The series will now head to Ottawa, but is that really much of an advantage for the Senators? They were just 20-17-4 at home this season, compared to the Rangers, who were 24-12-5 on the road.
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Oilers go captain-less, name four alternates instead

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Edmonton’s made a fairly significant shift in its leadership group.

The big news is the Oilers won’t have a captain this season, as Andrew Ference will relinquish the “C” he’s worn for the last two years.

Ference will, however, remain part of the group and wear an “A” as part of a four-man alternate captain collective, one that also includes Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall.

The news of Ference being removed as captain doesn’t come as a huge surprise. The veteran d-man is a well-respected leader, but isn’t expected to be in the lineup every night this season.

The decision to go without a captain, though, is something of a surprise, especially given what new head coach Todd McLellan endured during his final season in San Jose.

The Sharks’ captaincy issue — stripping Joe Thornton, then going with four rotating alternates — was an ongoing problem, something that players, coaches and GM Doug Wilson had to repeatedly address until it blew up in spectacular fashion.

That said, the circumstances in Edmonton are quite different.

It’s believed the club’s intentionally keeping the captaincy vacant, on the assumption that Connor McDavid will evolve into a superstar and, subsequently, the club’s unquestioned leader.

Finally, McLellan noted that with Eberle currently sidelined, a fifth Oiler would be added to the leadership group — veteran forward Matt Hendricks, who will serve as a temporary alternate.

Brandon Sutter didn’t have the greatest preseason

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When Brandon Sutter was acquired by the Vancouver Canucks, GM Jim Benning called the 26-year-old a “foundation piece for our group going forward.”

Sutter was quickly signed to a five-year extension worth almost $22 million, more evidence of how highly management thought of the player.

Fast forward to yesterday, when Benning was asked the following question:

“What does it say that you made the trade for Sutter, you called him a ‘foundation’ player, and it took him until the final night of the preseason to find a spot (with the Sedins) on the wing, which isn’t his natural position?”

Here was Benning’s response:

“Well, [head coach Willie Desjardins] wants to try that out, he thinks that’s going to be a good fit. At various times, the Sedins played with wingers with speed, with [Ryan Kesler], who could get in on the forecheck and had a good shot. Sutter brings some of those qualities, too.”

While all that may be true, Sutter was not signed to play the wing; he was brought in to play center, specifically on the second line. He finished the preseason with zero points in five games. And as mentioned, he’ll start the season on the wing, not his natural position.

Meanwhile, youngsters Bo Horvat, 20, and Jared McCann, 19, had outstanding camps and are expected to start the regular season (tonight in Calgary) centering the second and third lines, respectively.

Though Sutter did finish the preseason with 12 shots on goal, up there with the most on the Canucks, it’s fair to say he did not look like a “foundation” player.

“I haven’t seen him play his best,” Desjardins said last week. “I see a guy who’s big and a good skater and who understands the game real well, but just hasn’t got that involved.”

Now, we are only talking about the preseason here. New players often take time to get comfortable. Perhaps playing with the Sedins can provide Sutter with some confidence.

“I know he’ll be there and I totally believe that,” said Desjardins.

But it hasn’t been the best start, and if it wasn’t for the encouraging play of the youngsters, it would be a far bigger story in Vancouver.

Related: Canucks roll the dice on rookies, waive Vey and Corrado