Lucic says he’s never seen Detroit’s Gustavsson play better

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Following Monday afternoon’s 3-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Boston Bruins winger Milan Lucic remarked that it was the “best he’s ever seen” Jonas Gustavsson play, according to CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty.

On face value, that might seem strange being that a) Gustavsson’s playing on a team that used to be in the West and b) “The Monster” gets injured often enough that some might be surprised Lucic’s seen him at all.

It’s more interesting when you recall that Gustavsson, 28, and Lucic, 25, saw plenty of each other when the Swede was tending net for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Surely you must be intrigued to wonder how “The Monster” has played against the Bruins in the past, so have no fear; PHT did the legwork to study his history against the B’s.

As it turns out, he’s seen some extreme highs and lows, judging from split stats:

Gustavsson vs. Bruins

2013-14: one game played, 1-0-0, .933 save percentage
2012-13: N/A
2011-12: 5 GP: 0-3-0, .838
2010-11: 1 GP: 0-1-0, .938
2009-10: 3 GP: 2-0-1, .940

As you can see, Gustavsson had one lousy year vs. Boston but was pretty much outstanding against the B’s in 2009-10 and 10-11, so that’s quite the sterling endorsement from Lucic.

Maybe Lucic was just feeling generous because he scored his 100th career goal against him today, though.

Penguins’ Guentzel makes ‘kick save’ to stop Capitals

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It doesn’t get much better than a player making the type of save you’d only expect from a goalie. OK, how about this: when it happens amid the high stakes of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Jake Guentzel had already been distinguishing himself with a red-hot scoring start to the postseason, but he made a big difference in a way that won’t show up in the box score (aside from maybe as a blocked shot) for Game 1 against the Washington Capitals.

In one of the few golden opportunities in a notably tight first period, Guentzel made a “kick save” to keep it 0-0. He also managed to avoid giving the Capitals a penalty shot in the process, so this was quite the effort from the impressive rookie.

Video will be added soon. Here’s the moment in GIF form first:

Lundqvist snubs Sens with 21 saves in first (Video)

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You know how goalies claim they prefer to be busy rather than risking rust in seldom seeing shots? If that’s true, Henrik Lundqvist was really, really happy in the first period.

The Ottawa Senators generated chance after chance in a busy opening frame of Game 1, generating a 21-12 shot differential against the New York Rangers. The game remains 0-0 in large part because Lundqvist has carried over his momentum from the Montreal Canadiens series so far.

As you can see from the video above, Lundqvist made some absolutely fantastic saves, especially in somehow stopping Mark Stone.

In a duller game, 21 shots on goal could a team’s entire output.

That’s impressive stuff from what appears to be a “vintage” Lundqvist. We’ll see how much more the Rangers lean on him as this one goes along.

Oh, and here’s a GIF of the best stop of the bunch, because seriously.

Kunitz is in for Penguins vs. Capitals in Game 1

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The Pittsburgh Penguins get a familiar face back in the lineup, as Chris Kunitz is good to go against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

The 37-year-old has been sidelined since March 31, ending his regular season with just an assist in his final nine games. His last goal came on Feb. 16.

So, in other words … he’s not quite as big of a deal for this series as he had been in the past.

He’ll draw into a solid fourth line with Matt Cullen and Tom Kuhnackl, while Carter Rowney will be a healthy scratch. Check out the Penguins’ line combos heading into Thursday’s showdown:

Foligno, Getzlaf, Giordano vie for Messier Leadership Award

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The NHL announced the three finalists for the Mark Messier Leadership Award: Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Ryan Getzlaf (Anaheim Ducks) and Mark Giordano (Calgary Flames).

In case you’re curious about the process, the league explains how it works (and how the buck stops with Messier):

Mark Messier solicits suggestions from club and League personnel as well as NHL fans to compile a list of potential candidates for the award. However, the selection of the three finalists and ultimate winner is Messier’s alone. 

So, yes, it might come down to steeliness/60.

Anyway, the most fun part of this award is that Getzlaf and Giordano just engaged in a first-round series, with Getzlaf’s hit on Giordano (see above) being one of the standout moments.

Perhaps Giordano will at least get the best of Getzlaf in this one?