Coyotes Kings 2

Western Conference finals preview: Kings vs. Coyotes, playoff experience

8 Comments

One of the most popular “head to head” angles at this stage of the season is playoff experience. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the playoff resumes from both Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Phoenix Coyotes

Most postseason games:

Ray Whitney (98), Daymond Langkow (70), Adrian Aucoin (61), Antoine Vermette (53), Taylor Pyatt (52), Shane Doan (50).

Stanley Cup finals appearances:

Whitney (Carolina, 2006), Vermette (Ottawa, 2007), Alexandre Bolduc (Vancouver, 2011)

Stanley Cups won:

Whitney (2006, Carolina)

Notes:

Raffi Torres has 56 games and been to two Cup finals, but he’s suspended.

Bolduc played 1:39 in Vancouver’s 1-0 victory over Boston in Game 1.

Los Angeles

Most postseason games:

Mike Richards (72), Rob Scuderi (70), Justin Williams (60), Willie Mitchell (60), Jeff Carter (56), Dustin Penner (49).

Stanley Cup finals appearances:

Richards (Philadelphia, 2010), Carter (Philadelphia, 2010), Scuderi (Pittsburgh, 2008-09), Penner (Anaheim, 2007), Williams (Carolina, 2006), Matt Greene (Edmonton, 2006), Jarret Stoll (Edmonton, 2006).

Stanley Cups won:

Scuderi (Pittsburgh, 2009), Penner (Anaheim, 2007), Williams (Carolina, 2006).

Notes:

Colin Fraser won a Cup with Chicago in 2010, though he only played three games in the opening round against Nashville.

Ethan Moreau and Simon Gagne also have extensive playoff experience, but neither are currently on the active roster.

Synopsis

One of the most overlooked narratives heading into this postseason was just how much experience the Kings had, though it wasn’t overlooked by captain Dustin Brown — who has all of 21 playoff  games under his belt.

“I think those guys definitely help,” Brown told LA Kings Insider. “I also think that a lot of these guys have been playing together a long time, and we kind of understand that this is the most successful we’ve been, but it’s not where we want to end up.

“Those guys definitely help to bring that to the forefront, and understanding that we haven’t done all that much, in terms of where we want to go and what we want to do.”

Phoenix has a decent amount of experience, though that’s partly to do with team makeup. Comprised of veterans and journeymen, the Coyotes have 10 players over the age of 30 and four (Doan, Langkow, Aucoin and Whitney) over the age of 35.

You’d almost expect them to have plenty of playoff experience, though it’s interesting to note Aucoin and Doan have never made it this far before.

Oshie’s hat trick lets Caps just barely squeak by Penguins in OT

Oshie OT goal
5 Comments

What a start.

This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.

This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.

What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:

This game also featured a sequence of three goals in 90 seconds and yet also some great saves by goaltenders Braden Holtby and Matt Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a controversial hit by Tom Wilson that might lead to a suspension.

There was even some odd stuff. Like how Jay Beagle got a stick stuck in his equipment.

Twice:

If this game sets the tone for the rest of the series, then we should be in for a closely contested, highlight filled affair.

NOTES:

Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Ben Lovejoy accounted for the Penguins’ other markers.

— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored the game’s opening goal. It was his first marker of the 2016 playoffs.

— Washington outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the first period, but Pittsburgh ended up with a 45-35 edge.

— This is the first time in the 2016 playoffs that Braden Holtby has allowed more than two goals. He surrendered just five goals in six games to Philadelphia.

— Matt Murray suffered his first career postseason loss after winning three straight contests against the New York Rangers.

Video: Wilson delivers late, knee-on-knee hit to Sheary

Wilson hit
7 Comments

Tom Wilson has already found himself in a controversy for delivering a late, knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night.

You can see that incident below:

Wilson spent two minutes in the sin bin earlier in the contest for crosschecking Evgeni Malkin, but there was no penalty on this play.

Fortunately Conor Sheary was able to stay in the game. The question now is if Wilson’s actions will lead to him being suspended prior to Game 2.

This isn’t Wilson’s first brush with controversy. He delivered a big hit to Brayden Schenn in 2013, but Wilson wasn’t suspended for that incident. Lubomir Visnovsky’s final campaign was cut short due to a check by Wilson that angered the New York Islanders. More recently, Nikita Zadorov was concussed by a crushing blow from the Capitals forward.

In 231 career regular season games, Wilson has 50 points and 486 penalty minutes.

Related: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints

Video: Penguins, Caps combine for three goals in 90 seconds

Oshie goal
3 Comments

For the first 30 minutes of Game 1 between Pittsburgh and Washington it looked like goaltenders Matt Murray and Braden Holtby might outshine these star-studded offenses. Then the floodgates opened up, if only for a moment.

Washington already had a 1-0 lead going into the second frame courtesy of Andre Burakovsky‘s first marker of the 2016 playoffs, but Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals within the span of 57 seconds midway through the second period to tilt the scale in Pittsburgh’s favor. That lead didn’t last for long though as Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got a breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it.

In total, there were three goals scored in the span of just 90 seconds and you can see all of them below:

After that sequence, the 2-2 tie held for the remainder of the frame. However, Oshie was able to reassert Washington’s edge just 3:23 minutes into the third period.

Video: Beagle gets stick stuck in visor

Beagle
4 Comments

Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.

Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below: