As the third period of Game 3 between the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals was winding down, I made this off-hand joke: maybe Wednesday’s first contest would end before the later-starting Nashville Predators-Phoenix Coyotes game. I had no idea how right I’d be as the Rangers needed most of a third OT period to finally win 2-1 via a Marian Gaborik goal.
Multiple overtime hockey is brutal on the nerves for fans and onlookers, but it must be outright savage for players. Goalies must then be the most nervy of the bunch (although they at least tend to see their efforts fall off the least as time goes on). Any bounce can make you the loser, but after seven consecutive playoff OT losses, Henrik Lundqvist finally won.
And his reaction was honest:
“Oh my God, I thought it would never end,” Lundqvist said. “This is a special feeling.”
How special? The Rangers haven’t won (or appeared in) a triple overtime game since they beat the Chicago Blackhawks in 1971.
Stephen Whyno captured John Tortorella’s succinct thoughts on Lundqvist:
“He leads us,” Tortorella said.
After seven OT playoff losses, he finally pushed them to victory. (Marian Gaborik helped, too, though.)
Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.
Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:
Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).
The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.
For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”
On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.
With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.
“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”
As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.
It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.