Coming into today’s Game 6 the main questions were about who would step up and if the goaltending might do something to help normalize the series. As it turns out the answers to those questions would be “Claude Giroux” and “Yes, if you mean Ilya Bryzgalov.”
Giroux set the tone early delivering a monster hit on Sidney Crosby and then scoring moments later to put the Flyers ahead where they’d stay for the rest of the afternoon on their way to a 5-1 series-clinching victory in Game 6.
Some thoughts to ponder in the comments:
—- Claude Giroux
broke a Flyers record for points in a first round series with 14. Turns out he didn’t. Tim Kerr owns the team record with 15 set back in 1989.
—- The Flyers power play again caused problems for the Penguins scoring once with the man advantage. The finished the series scoring 12 power play goals.
—- Marc-Andre Fleury went from being the Game 5 hero to the Game 6 goat. A bad performance from the one guy in the Penguins lineup that couldn’t afford to come up short.
—- Evgeni Malkin will see Sean Couturier in his nightmares but who will Sidney Crosby see in his?
—- Give it up to Ilya Bryzgalov and the Flyers’ defense for coming up big when they had to. Looks like Scott Hartnell’s wishes paid off for Philly.
—- The Flyers are just 12 knock-knocks away from the Stanley Cup.
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It could have been over for Clarke MacArthur plenty of times during his turbulent NHL career. Scratch that, his turbulent hockey career.
His team walked away from his salary arbitration award. MacArthur’s seen plenty of people give up on him. And then, when he finally found a home with the Ottawa Senators, concussion issues threatened to end his playing days.
Yet, there he was on Sunday … drawing a penalty in overtime and then scoring on the ensuing power play to help the Senators advance beyond the Boston Bruins.
He didn’t deny that he imagined very different possibilities during his darker moments.
And, as uplifting as his story was – seriously, just watch this interview and try not to root for the guy – it wasn’t the only emotionally charged moment from Game 6.
Nicholle Anderson was on hand to cheer on Craig Anderson in this one, and the two were able to embrace after the contest:
As violent and intense as the playoffs can often be, MacArthur and Anderson reminded us of the gentler human side of it all.
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.
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.
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.
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.