For the second straight time, the Washington Capitals seemingly shrugged off a brutal overtime loss and took it to the New York Rangers. This time around, an inspired Capitals overwhelmed a Rangers team in a game that had a deceptively close 2-1 score. With that, both teams will be pushed to a Game 7 for a second series, which will take place at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.
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Let’s get talking.
- Alex Ovechkin now has 30 goals in just 50 career playoff games. How stupid on a scale of 1-10 do those already-dumb “clutch” critiques look now? I’d say 30.
- Braden Holtby was robbed off a shutout, but he was a brick wall, letting up fewer and fewer rebounds especially as the game went on. Can he best Henrik Lundqvist in Game 7?
- As great as Holtby looked, his 30-save performance wasn’t as magnificent as it looked on paper because New York barely showed up for most of the contest. Will the Rangers regret their tepid Game 6 efforts?
- Speaking of which, the Rangers barely squeezed out a quarterfinals win against the eighth seed Ottawa Senators and will go to the max against the seventh seed Capitals too. Is anyone a little disappointed with a team that seemingly went from “scrappy upstarts” to “legitimate contenders” this season?
- OK, the obvious one: who do you have in Game 7? Is all the pressure on the Rangers?
- Finally: is Joel Ward exonerated from “goat status” or do the Capitals need a series win to wipe that clean?
Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.
Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.
And what a look it was.
In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.
It was, in a word, fun.
Lots of fun.
A quick sampling of reviews:
Of course, not everybody was a fan:
Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.
But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.
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.
Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…