If you’re the type who grimaces at a “low-chance game,” then Wednesday’s Game 4 matchup has been a breathe of fresh air. Actually, the second period was more like a wild circus of scoring. The two squads combined for five goals in about 11 minutes of game time.
Update: here are all five of the goals in a single video:
Maybe it’s all about one star finally breaking out, as Jonathan Toews broke a 10-game scoring slump to make it 2-1 (6:33 into the second):
It appears that Joel Quenneville was wise in putting the Chicago Blackhawks’ top two players back together, as Patrick Kane made it 3-1 with this rebound shot about two minutes later (8:41 in):
For a while there, this game seemed like it was falling apart for Boston, but the Bruins showed they can hang. Milan Lucic made it 3-2 by capitalizing on a loose puck (14:43 in):
Less than a minute later (15:32 in, to be exact), Michael Frolik set up a 2-on-1 goal for Marcus Kruger:
The Bruins refused to get deflated – or maybe they didn’t have time to sulk – as Patrice Bergeron took advantage of a weird bounce or two to make it 4-3 with this power-play tally (17:22 in):
Those goals don’t represent every chance by any means, either. Patrick Sharp was unable to bury a couple high-end chances and the second period ended with such a frenzy that the goal horn operator prematurely announced a phantom score.
It’s hard to predict who will win this game (which Chicago leads 4-3), but here’s a safe one: both head coaches are probably livid right now. Tune in for the rest of the contest on NBC.
WATCH LIVE: Blackhawks at Penguins – Wednesday Night Rivalry
We can debate all day how much the NHL, Vegas Golden Knights and others involved really want to do this, but they’re making the right choice with the expansion draft nonetheless. The league will make protected and available players lists available at the same time they’re shared with teams, according to NHL.com’s Nick Cotsonika.
Could this lead to feelings being hurt or perhaps even certain sneaky deals being scuttled? Perhaps, but those are headaches that management should be expected to absorb.
The bottom line is that an expansion draft is a dream come true for armchair GMs, rumor enthusiasts, fantasy sports fans and … really, just about anyone interested in hockey. It would be a bewildering decision to try to keep all of this information locked down, even for a league that frequently garners a reputation for choosing comfort over entertainment value.
@Real_ESPNLeBrun also noteworthy, some GMs happy with this development because they wanted to make sure they saw other teams' protected list
Even though Jake Allen has played extremely well of late, Carter Hutton will get the call when the Blues take on the Coyotes in Arizona tonight.
Some of this could have to do with the opponent. The Coyotes are playing out the string on a forgettable campaign, and have lost six of their last seven. That includes a 4-1 defeat in St. Louis on Monday (in which Allen stopped 27 of 28 shots for the win).
As mentioned above, Allen has been great in March and deserves huge praise for turning his season around. He’s gone 8-1-1 this month with a remarkable .951 save percentage, allowing a mere 14 goals over his 10 appearances.
Hutton, though, has played equally well when called upon. He’s gone 4-1-0 over his last five starts, posting a .962 save percentage and a pair of shutouts. In his last outing, on Mar. 16, he allowed just one goal in a victory in San Jose.
— A good matchup in Pittsburgh tonight, as the two defending Stanley Cup champions go head-to-head. Marc-Andre Fleury starts for the Penguins, while Corey Crawford goes for the Blackhawks.
— Calgary can clinch a playoff spot with a win tonight so, unsurprisingly, it’ll go with No. 1 Brian Elliott. No word yet on who starts for the visiting Kings, though it could be Ben Bishop after Jonathan Quick lost last night in Edmonton.
Golden Knights GM George McPhee continued to list the characteristics he wants from a head coach this week, explaining that he’s searching for a forward-thinking bench boss.
“We want someone who is very current on the game, who is progressive on how the game should be played,” McPhee said in a recent phone call with season ticket holders, per the club website. “We’re looking for that progressive guy that can really help us through the early years and help develop our team and our players.”
So, time to connect the dots.
Back in November, Vegas owner Bill Foley laid the initial groundwork for McPhee’s coaching profile, saying he wanted to hire an experienced head coach.
“He’s not looking for a first-termer,” said Foley. “Some may or may not be available. … I would say the coach that we name is going to be a recognizable individual.”
Among the names that have already been floated, many fit the above billing: Jack Capuano, Gerard Gallant, Ken Hitchcock and Michel Therrien, among others.
Vegas has already spoken with Gallant and reportedly made contact with Capuano as well, which shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Gallant was nominated for last year’s Jack Adams as the NHL’s top coach, and McPhee is familiar with Capuano, having worked as an adviser to Isles GM Garth Snow prior to taking the Golden Knights gig.
It’s also believed former Flyers head coach Craig Berube is being considered, along with current Montreal associate Kirk Muller.