Earlier in the 2012 playoffs – and during plenty of moments in the 2011 postseason – Washington Capitals forward Joel Ward was a surprise hero. That won’t take the sting off Monday’s events a whole lot, however, as his late high-sticking double-minor opened the door for not one, but two enormous New York Rangers goals. To his credit, Ward owned up to the mistake to Tarik El-Bashir and other media members.
“It’s tough when you let the team down on a play like that,” Ward said.
Stephen Whyno captured Ward’s mood beyond that mature quote.
Joel Ward answers questions with his usual class, then sat at his locker for what felt like five minutes. Guys don’t just sit there. Surreal.
Obviously, Ward’s mistake was enormous, yet the Capitals’ penalty kill still cratered in the end. It’s one thing for a team to make a penalized player feel grief with one power-play goal, but New York did it twice. Brad Richards tied it with just seven seconds left in the third while Marc Staal collected the game-winner with about 23 seconds left in the second minor.
The Rangers now find themselves with a gift of a 3-2 series lead on a 3-2 OT win, their second overtime victory of this series. Ward and his team has a chance to soothe some of the pain starting with Game 6 on Wednesday; otherwise the likeable winger will have a lot of regrets this summer.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.
Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).
The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.
You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.
It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.
Update: It didn’t get much better going forward; the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 6-1.
Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.
There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.
The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.
Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.
Update: This seems fairly positive.