NHL on NBC: Boston, Washington tangle in Game 2

9 Comments

The list of things Boston and Washington want to accomplish on Saturday is pretty simple.

For the Bruins, it’s get a win — doesn’t matter how — and put a 2-0 stranglehold on the series.

For the Caps, it’s score a goal — also, doesn’t matter how — and try to capture home ice advantage.

Those are the predominant storylines heading into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal, to be played at Boston’s TD Garden (3 p.m. ET, NBC). For the Bruins, Game 1 was a solid home-ice effort as they played tight defensively (allowing just 17 shots, all stopped by Tim Thomas), set a physical tone and made a concerted effort to silence Alexander Ovechkin.

For the Capitals…the loss actually wasn’t so bad.

“We know Boston is a good, physical team and we were ready to match their intensity and physical play,” forward Jay Beagle told Washington Post. “We didn’t win, but there’s no intimidation there.

“We know we can play with them.”

The Capitals were pleased after going into a tough environment, playing the defending Stanley Cup champs hard and taking them to overtime. While the lack of goalscoring is a problem — “we just have to stay focused [on the offense],” Ovechkin said — the team felt confident in its ability to trade punches with the Bruins.

“Even strength, it was an even battle both ways through the whole thing,” head coach Dale Hunter said. “Until an overtime goal, it was pretty much even at even strength. Power-play time, they did have some more scoring chances because they had more power-play time.

“But as far as even strength, it was pretty even out there.”

Game 2 Notes:

According to Japers’ Rink, Zdeno Chara was on for 90 percent of Ovechkin’s even strength ice time in Game 1. The most time Ovechkin was on the ice without Chara at even strength? Twenty-three seconds.

— David Krejci didn’t practice Friday after being hit on the head with a pane of glass celebrating Chris Kelly’s OT winner, but said he felt fine and should be good to play on Saturday.

— Boston out-shot Washington 26-7 lead in shots after 40 minutes in Game 1. Ovechkin was held to just one shot for the entire contest.

— Both teams will be looking to get their power plays on track. The Caps went 2-for-24 to close out the regular season and 0-for-2 on Thursday. The Bruins went 2-for-21 down the stretch, and 0-for-4 in Game 1.

Erik Karlsson played through hairline fractures in foot to help Sens advance

Getty
1 Comment

Remember when many were keeping an eye on Erik Karlsson after he was seemingly cramping up after logging more than 40 minutes in an OT contest against the Boston Bruins.

It’s possible he was also dealing with that sort of ailment, but he earned some “hockey tough” kudos on Sunday after word surfaced that the Ottawa Senators defenseman was dealing with hairline fractures in his left heel through the series.

Sportsnet’s Jason York refers to the issue as “two small fractures” while ESPN’s Joe McDonald went into specifics, noting that Karlsson explains that the injury happened on March 28 (and was why he missed some games late in the season).

There’s some optimism as the Senators ready for the New York Rangers, at least according to Karlsson.

Hmm.

Either way, that’s impressive stuff from the Senators defenseman, and the sort of information that usually only surfaces after a team has been eliminated. We’ll see if he’s hindered by such issues as the playoffs go along.

Gaudreau, Granlund and Tarasenko: 2017 Lady Byng finalists

Getty
Leave a comment

The NHL officially announced the nominees for the 2017 Lady Byng on Sunday, and they’re a star-studded bunch: Johnny Gaudreau, Mikael Granlund and Vladimir Tarasenko.

The PHWA determines “the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability.”

(Did Tarasenko help eliminate Granlund’s team in a gentlemanly fashion?)

For more on the three finalists, click here.

MacArthur, Senators end Bruins’ season in OT after controversial calls

16 Comments

It’s a feel-good story, especially if you can look beyond questions of officiating.

Clarke MacArthur could have very well never played another NHL game considering his lengthy battles with concussion symptoms. Instead, he drew a penalty on the Boston Bruins in overtime of Game 6 and then managed to score the series-clinching goal.

Now, this isn’t to say that MacArthur didn’t rightfully draw a penalty; it most clearly was. And, in the bigger picture, it’s one of those stories that almost makes you wonder if real-life sports actually do follow Hollywood scripts.

People just wonder about some other decisions during that overtime, in particular, making it frustrating for some Bruins fans to see the season end in such a way.

Whether they like it or not, that is the case, though.

The Senators took Game 6 by a score of 3-2 (OT), winning their series 4-2. They can breathe a sigh of relief in avoiding a Game 7, an especially valuable bonus since Erik Karlsson had been pushed hard lately, logging more than 40 minutes in a recent game.

Ottawa avoids a do-or-die contest. Instead, they’ll face the New York Rangers in the next round while the Bruins enter the summer following an up-and-down campaign.

Bergeron takes advantage of slow Sens change, sends Game 6 to OT (Video)

Leave a comment

Every game in this Senators – Bruins series has been decided by one goal, so why not send Game 6 to overtime?

Oh, and speaking of overtime, this contest going beyond regulation makes it 17 OT games, tying an NHL record for the most in a single round.

Ottawa appeared to take a “lazy change” with a 2-1 lead, and Patrice Bergeron made the Senators pay, putting in a rebound to collect the goal that eventually sent this contest to overtime.