Marian Gaborik can probably breath a little easier now.
The winger won’t hear (as much?) about his $7.5 million annual cap hit for at least a few nights as he ended far-and-away the longest game of the 2012 playoffs so far. He finished a one-timer attempt to give the New York Rangers a 2-1 triple OT win and a 2-1 series lead to boot. Let’s ponder a few things, then.
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- The obvious but crucial question: is this a back-breaker for the Capitals? The franchise has lot plenty of lengthy overtimes in its history, but this isn’t a common thing in the Alex Ovechkin era. Do you think this was a knockout punch or a learning experience for Washington?
- Which Caps player will lose the most sleep? Ovechkin had a shot off the post that fooled the red light operator and Verizon Center. Plenty of players had their fair share of near-goals. My vote? Troy Brouwer missed a couple absolutely golden chances in the first OT; you can watch one of the missed ones here.
- From a fatigue standpoint, which team might bounce back stronger in Game 4? Both teams have plenty of younger players. One factor to consider is that the Rangers’ defense got banged up. Dan Girardi traveled to the locker room to get stitched up, Ryan McDonagh took a thunderous hit from Matt Hendricks and so on.
- Both goalies were great. While Henrik Lundqvist must be pleased, Braden Holtby had no chance on that game-winner and certainly didn’t seem like a rookie in the OT marathon. Can he shake off this loss, though?
- Is there any fear that the Rangers will treat their trip to the “phone booth” as a success already? Another lengthy series could put a dent in their long-term hopes.
Things were getting out of hand between the Dallas Stars and St. Louis Blues on the scoreboard in an eventual 6-1 Blues win.
They were also getting a little raucous on the ice when it was clear that the Stars weren’t going to stage a comeback.
Jamie Benn was whistled for cross-checking Alex Pietrangelo, but it was Stephen Johns‘ hit from behind on Pietrangelo really revved up the violence.
Watch that hit and then the scrum that ensued in the video above, which included a scary display of an angry Ryan Reaves … who got creative at the end.
You may also want the kiss alone, so here it is:
Memo: rough stuff might not work so well against the Blues.
Read about that blowout here.
Sometimes a final score is misleading. In the case of the St. Louis Blues’ 6-1 thrashing of the Dallas Stars, it might just be the start of the story.
Honestly, the most positive thing the Stars can say is “Well, at least it was just one game.”
It was one ugly game, however, and now the Blues hold a 2-1 series lead with a chance to really take control if they can win Game 4 at home.
The Blues dominated just about every category on Tuesday, firing more shots on goal, enjoying better special teams play and throwing more hits. They even blocked a higher number of shots, which often isn’t the case for the squad that carries play.
This leaves the Stars picking up the pieces, especially when it comes to their work in their own end.
Do you put greater blame on struggling goalies Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi or is this more about the Stars’ lax defensive coverage? The scary answer may be “Both,” and the Stars likely know that they need to find answers quickly.
On the bright side for Dallas, it is just one game … and the Blues were searching for answers of their own after Game 1.
We saw the Blues turn things around with these two straight wins, so now the Stars must show that they can gather themselves and play the attacking, out-score-your-mistakes style that got them here.
Granted, they may have to keep an eye out for supplemental discipline after some rough stuff toward the end of the game.
After a dispiriting 1-0 goal allowed by Pekka Rinne, things were looking bleak for the Nashville Predators for a moment there.
Nashville’s developed into a resilient group, however, and they stormed back for a commanding 4-1 win to shrink San Jose’s series advantage to 2-1.
The Predators saw some of their big names come up huge as the series shifted from San Jose to Nashville.
Pekka Rinne looked sharp following that first goal (and didn’t allow another). Their goals came from James Neal, Colin Wilson, Filip Forsberg and captain Shea Weber.
Weber’s tally was the game-winner, and it was downright thunderous:
Another promising sign: after a struggling to a 2-for-31 clip in previous playoff games, the Predators’ power play went 2-for-5 in Game 3.
Overall, the Predators really couldn’t ask for much more from this win, especially if Colton Sissons is indeed OK after a scary crash into the Sharks’ net.
Things could get really interesting if Nashville manages to “hold serve” with another home win on Thursday.
It’s pretty tough not to make jokes about the Dallas Stars spending $10.4 million on their goalies at times like these, even if Dallas’ defense should shoulder plenty of blame.
After Kari Lehtonen was pulled from a Game 2 loss, the St. Louis Blues chased Antti Niemi early in the second period of Game 3 after Niemi allowed three goals on 12 shots.
Troy Brouwer‘s 3-1 goal was enough for Lindy Ruff to give Niemi the hook:
Unfortunately for the Stars, Lehtonen got off to a slow start as well, allowing an immediate Vladimir Tarasenko goal.
The Blues are now 4-1 and the Stars are searching for answers … and probably wishing Tyler Seguin was around to help them out-score their problems.