Well, of course Game 5 had to go into overtime. The Chicago Blackhawks and Phoenix Coyotes wouldn’t have it any other way.
This time around, Chicago procrastinated a bit less to close the Coyotes’ 1-0 lead; Nick Leddy redeemed himself for missing a wide-open net to send it to overtime in five out of five games. There was the sense that the Blackhawks might suffer the most respectable 4-1 series loss in recent memory but Jonathan Toews showed why he’s such a huge difference-maker by winning it 2-1 in OT. Now it’s 3-2 and with the series shifting to the United Center, you can’t blame the Blackhawks for believing they can do it.
- The Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens’ 1951 Stanley Cup finals series is the only other one in NHL playoff history in which all five games went to OT. That one ended in five, though.
- OK, let’s ask again: are the Coyotes playing with fire by going with the turtle+counter-punch routine? The second period was even (10-10) but every other period featured a serious shot disadvantage. Mike Smith made 36 out of 38 saves but lost. Can they really grind out another win by leaning so much on Smith?
- The Blackhawks’ power play is a paltry 1-for-17 in this series. Can Chicago win without getting those easy man advantage tallies?
- How do you feel about Coyotes fans pledging their support for Raffi Torres?
- Will the ‘Hawks push it to seven games? If so, can they actually complete another big series comeback and actually win it?
Kyle Turris is gearing up for his fifth season with the Ottawa Senators, but this campaign will be a little different.
Ottawa announced that Turris will be joining Chris Neil as one of the team’s alternate captains. Turris is assuming that role from Chris Phillips as the 37-year-old defenseman remains out indefinitely due to a back injury.
Since being acquired from the then Phoenix Coyotes in 2011, Turris has established himself as one of Ottawa’s top forwards. He tied for second in the team’s scoring race last season with 64 points in 82 contests and gelled with rookie linemate Mark Stone.
With the Senators favoring a youth movement, Turris actually stands out as one of the Senators’ more experienced players at the age of 26. He’s also set to play a big role with the Senators for years to come as he’s locked to an affordable $3.5 million annual cap hit through 2017-18.
Meanwhile defenseman Erik Karlsson is getting ready for his second season as the team’s captain.
On the eve of their season opener, the Buffalo Sabres got another bit of bad health news.
Captain Brian Gionta missed practice and is day-to-day with a lower-body injury, per head coach Dan Bylsma. The ailment puts the 36-year-old’s availability for Thursday’s game against Ottawa in jeopardy.
The ailment also puts Gionta alongside a slew of hurting Sabres. Defensemen Zach Bogosian and Josh Gorges were on the injured list when Buffalo’ roster was released this morning, along with rookie Brendan Guhle and veteran Cody McCormick.
There is a bright light for Buffalo, however.
Gorges skated on Wednesday and could possibly dress tomorrow, per Bylsma. If he does play, it’ll likely be on a pairing with Rasmus Ristolainen.