The Washington Capitals struggled to beat Henrik Lundqvist on Friday night, but they finally solved him a second time to win Game 5 2-1 in OT, taking a 3-2 series lead against the New York Rangers in the process.
Let’s roll out the talking points.
- Fans and pundits love to lob unfair criticism on Alex Ovechkin. Hopefully Lundqvist is immune to such talk since he was a huge difference-maker (and usually is), but will that be the case? Can great play by the Swedish star stave off silly “choker” talk if the Rangers fall short in the playoffs once more?
- Mike Ribeiro hasn’t had a very productive series, but he scored the game-winner. How much would Washington miss him if he bolts via free agency? How much is he worth?
- Can the Capitals end this series in Game 6?
- If not, which team is more equipped for a Game 7 victory? Could every game of this games go to the home team?
- The Caps fired 13 shots on goal to the Rangers’ four in the third period. Was that a matter of fatigue or a squad hyped up by home-ice?
- Rick Nash seemed to struggle with cramps and inconsistent play. Is this evidence that he isn’t “ready” or “built” for the playoffs or merely a bump in the road?
Sometimes, the Nashville Predators were unlucky in November. Sometimes they were just bad.
Either way, they’re likely glad to step into December, and they’ve already gotten a big bounce. Watch how close this near-goal was into crossing the red line before Pekka Rinne barely stopped it with a well-placed goalie stick.
You can also see it up close via this GIF:
Here’s the NHL Situation Room Blog explanation for it remaining a no-goal:
At 13:06 of the first period in the Coyotes/Predators game, the Situation Room initiated a video review to further examine a play from 11:57. Video review confirmed the call on the ice that the puck did not cross the Nashville goal line. No goal Coyotes.
Alexei Emelin has been in and out of the Montreal Canadiens lineup, but this wasn’t the way they wanted him to keep his legs fresh.
The hard-hitting defenseman received a game misconduct and five-minute major penalty for a late hit on Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert on Tuesday.
So far, it sounds like Calvert may be OK.
You can see video of that hit above, as well as a GIF of the infraction via My Regular Face.
Many believe that Emelin should not have been ejected.
Injuries have been a regular problem for Joffrey Lupul for much of his time with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and it doesn’t look like that’s changing in 2015-16.
The team placed him on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 28, calling up Rich Clune in the process.
This IR stint means that Lupul will miss at least three games for Toronto.
From the sound of things, it’s a nagging issue, as NHL.com notes.
“He’s been having the same problem here for a bit,” Mike Babcock told media members on Sunday. “He doesn’t seem to be getting the power back that they thought, so we’re just trying to monitor it the best we can.”
Leafs Nation points out that Lupul has missed about one-third of Toronto’s contests since suffering a separated shoulder in April 2012.
At 32, there’s still time for Lupul to fight through this, although injuries generally accumulate with age.
Will Ryan Suter say something foolish during tonight’s game? Is Brent Burns‘ beard so long that it’s finally starting to scrape the ice?
We’ll find out the answer to those questions and more during Tuesday’s NBCSN doubleheader.
Need to follow the two games online? Never fear.
Game 1: Minnesota Wild at Chicago Blackhawks
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Game 2: Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks
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