Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins skates with the puck against the Boston Bruins during Game Three of the Eastern Conference Final of the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on June 5, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.
(June 4, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America)

Playoffs Tonight: Penguins must make history to survive


The Chicago Blackhawks came back from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits to defeat the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday and consequently take a 3-1 series lead. The Conference finals could finish on Saturday, but that depends on the outcome of tonight’s game.

Boston Bruins host Pittsburgh Penguins (8:00 p.m. ET, NBCSN/Live Extra)
Boston leads 3-0

Boston jumped ahead to 3-1 and 3-0 leads in their previous two series. In the first round, they just barely managed to advance despite the early series edge they built for themselves, but the second round had a far less dramatic conclusion for the Bruins.

Of course, people won’t soon forgot when the Boston Bruins coughed up a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 — but a lot has happened since then. While that incident might provide them with perspective, they’ve shown time and again that they are capable of closing a series.

“The one thing we do know is we’ve got to play a better game than we did (Wednesday),” Julien said, according to the Boston Globe. “We might have won the game, but we’re certainly not pleased with the way we played.

“We know they played better but I don’t think we did, and we’ve got to make sure we’re at the top of our game tomorrow.”

The Penguins did play better in Game 3, even if they didn’t set the bar terribly high with their showing in the first two games of this series. They battled the Bruins for 95 minutes, but weren’t rewarded.

“By no means are we going to break down and give up. The percentages are against us, but we have a good team,” Pittsburgh’s Brandon Sutter told the Penguins’ official website. “We’re taking this day-by-day right now.”

Taking it one game at a time is the key for the Penguins. That strategy is so heavily preached that it’s long since become a cliche, but it’s all the Penguins got. They’ve put themselves in a position where they have to make history to survive.

It’s a long shot, but given how much talent the Penguins have, it’s hard to dismiss the possibility.


Marner’s brilliant passing powers uplifting night for Leafs

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 15:  Mitchell Marner #16 of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates scoring his 1st NHL goal against the Boston Bruins during an NHL game on October 15, 2016 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Bruins 4-1. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
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For a while, the story of the Florida Panthers – Toronto Maple Leafs game would be the remarkable march of Jonathan Marchessault.

As great as his story remains (he gave Florida 1-0 and 2-1 leads), those pesky young Maple Leafs keep stealing the headlines.

In tonight’s case, it was Mitch Marner who was raising eyebrows as he assisted on all three of Toronto’s goals in a 3-2 victory.

His third assist was just sublime:

After the game, Tyler Bozak pondered the two goals Marner helped him score and deemed the youngster “an elite player,” according to the Globe & Mail’s James Mirtle.

Considering the growing discomfort regarding Frederik Andersen‘s play, this tweet should help to make Maple Leafs fans smile:

Ehhhhh, Marner might deserve that first star, but the gesture means almost as much as the win.

Devan Dubnyk pushes shutout streak to two games

ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 15: Devan Dubnyk #40 of the Minnesota Wild defends the net against Winnipeg Jets during the game on October 15, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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Devan Dubnyk already showed signs of having a hot start to 2016-17, but Thursday made that point abundantly clear.

For the second straight game, Dubnyk generated a shutout, with the Minnesota Wild beating the Buffalo Sabres 4-0 in this instance.

It’s not as if Dubnyk is just leisurely turning aside the occasional chance, either; he made 38 saves to blank Buffalo and needed to stop 65 shots on goal considering the 27 he turned aside in a 5-0 win vs. Boston.

Ryan Suter said that Dubnyk bailed his teammates out during the second period, as the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s Michael Russo reports.

He’s now allowed just 10 goals in six games so far in 2016-17, with Taylor Hall‘s overtime-winner being the last shot to beat him. That came on Sunday:

More often than not, Dubnyk’s been making those saves so far in this young season.

Video: Another way Patrik Laine evokes Alex Ovechkin

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There are plenty of differences between Alex Ovechkin and Patrik Laine, including obvious things like one being from Russia and the other from Finland.

Still, there are moments when Laine inspires comparisons to his idol, even this early in his rookie season.

Thursday presented one of those moments. It wasn’t just that Laine fired a 3-0 goal home for the Winnipeg Jets against the Dallas Stars with such moxie; it was also that he showed some swagger with a celebration afterward.

This GIF captures the moment brilliantly, while you can also watch the goal in video form.

Sure, there will be some grumbles from the “act like you’ve been here before” crowd, but this is brilliant stuff for the rest of us.

Video: Want another booming hip check? Sean Couturier obliges

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 25:  Sean Couturier #14 of the Philadelphia Flyers looks on against the Buffalo Sabres at Wells Fargo Center on October 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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Early this season, Dmitry Orlov delighted onlookers and angered Matt Duchene with a mind-blowing, throwback hip check. People really seemed to enjoy it.

While you’d struggle to top that hit, Philadelphia Flyers forward Sean Couturier must have sensed the void in checks that almost seem to flip opponents, doing so against Anthony Duclair during Thursday’s contest.

Rate this as you will:

Want another look at the Orlov one for comparison’s sake or to chuckle in disbelief? Why not: