Buffalo Sabres v Pittsburgh Penguins

Video: Malkin, Penguins win wild, controversial one over Leafs

40 Comments

There was no shortage of entertainment – really, that’s code for controversy – between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.

The Penguins, after falling behind the Leafs by three goals in the second period, came back in a 6-5 shootout victory over the visitors from Toronto. Evgeni Malkin, who entered the night with only four goals so far this season, scored twice in regulation, had a goal waved off and assist, and then added the second Pittsburgh tally in the shootout.

That was also the deciding goal, after Sidney Crosby scored first in the breakaway competition.

The Leafs jumped out to a two-goal lead at the end of the second period. But they literally failed at any kind of offensive attack in the final 25 minutes of play.

Tyler Bozak scored to make it a 5-3 game with five seconds remaining in the second period. The Leafs didn’t register a single shot on Pittsburgh goalie Jeff Zatkoff – Marc-Andre Fleury was pulled after Toronto’s third goal – in the third period or overtime.

The win was not without its divisive issues.

Malkin’s second goal of the night, which tied the game at 5-5 just before the midway point of the third period, is up for debate about whether it should’ve been allowed.

It appeared Leafs’ goalie Jonathan Bernier may have had the puck covered, or in his pads, when Malkin first knocked it loose, and then eventually in to the net.

Leafs head coach Randy Carlyle, who didn’t get an explanation for the controversial Malkin tying goal, had some critical words for referees Ghislain Hebert and Kevin Pollock.

“By that time they didn’t want to talk to anybody,” Carlyle said afterward, as per Mark Masters of TSN.

They get to a position where they think they don’t have to talk to people I guess…”

And then there was this lengthy battle between Crosby and Dion Phaneuf.

It started in behind the net, than cooled off for a few seconds, and concluded with the two meeting up again and getting called for coincidental minor penalties.

Capitals accuse Letang of leaving his feet, hitting Johansson in head

14 Comments

Get this: the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins seem divided on the legality of Kris Letang‘s hit on Marcus Johansson.

(Take a moment to gather your thoughts amid this shocking revelation.)

You can watch the hit over and over in the video above. This post features some takes on that check, which the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly reviewing.

Generally speaking, the three things people discuss regarding the check is how late it might be, if Letang used his feet and if Johansson’s head was the principal point of contact.

Letang told his side of the story:

The Capitals disagree:

While Barry Trotz pleads the Fifth after his previous comments about Brooks Orpik‘s suspension:

No doubt about it, Letang’s status is the top story to follow in this series between Games 3 and 4. We’ll find out soon enough how it all shakes out.

Penguins ride Murray’s masterpiece to 2-1 series lead vs. Capitals

20 Comments

If Marc-Andre Fleury suiting up bothers Matt Murray, then the rookie goalie channeled those feelings into a masterful performance on Monday.

The Washington Capitals absolutely dominated Game 3, but Murray was even better, stopping 47 shots as the Penguins stole one 3-2 to take a 2-1 series lead.

(Capitals fans might see some parallels to Washington’s Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers; they fell 2-0 despite a 44-11 shots on goal edge thanks to Michal Neuvirth‘s heroics.)

Murray stopped chance after chance before Alex Ovechkin finally broke through for his first goal of this series. Justin Williams then brought the Penguins’ lead down to 3-2 to make for a hold-your-breath final minute.

A driven Ovechkin and strong overall play from the Capitals (despite this defeat) aren’t the only reasons why Game 4 might present some twists.

First things first: Kris Letang might get suspended for Game 4 (if not for more than one game) thanks to this controversial check on Marcus Johansson.

Beyond that, there could be some bumps and bruises from this contest.

Bryan Rust left during the first period and didn’t return to the game after blocking a shot. Brian Dumoulin seemed shaken up after an Alex Ovechkin hit in the third period. The Capitals might have a player or two to look at, as well.

In other words, the Penguins could really lack for quality defensemen with Letang possibly suspended and possible injury absences for Dumoulin and Olli Maatta.

This series is living up to the hype … and really building up the hate.

Yes, NHL is reportedly looking at Letang’s hit on Johansson

22 Comments

It remains to be seen if Kris Letang will get suspended for his hit on Marcus Johansson … and if he does, for how long.

(You can read initial reactions and some analysis about the specifics of the check vs. the one that got Brooks Orpik suspended here.)

There are a few things we do know already.

For one thing, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is reportedly looking into it.

Another factor that could help Letang avoid a suspension or limit the duration of supplemental discipline: Marcus Johansson returned during the second period.

In fact, Johansson delivered some hits on Letang.

There have been some nasty moments in Game 3, and more might be coming. The Penguins lead 2-0 with a few minutes remaining in the middle frame.

Kris Letang may face suspension for hit on Marcus Johansson

99 Comments

Update: Reports indicate that the NHL’s Department of Player Safety is indeed looking into the hit.

***

As thrilling as this Pittsburgh Penguins – Washington Capitals series has been, it seems like every game presents another controversial hit.

Game 3’s most noteworthy entry (so far?) came when Kris Letang was whistled for interference on Marcus Johansson.

Penguins fans griped that Brooks Orpik didn’t get a major penalty for his hit on Olli Maatta … now Capitals fans likely feel the same about the check Letang delivered.

Watch it in the video above. Also, Stefanie “My Regular Face” has it in GIF form:

Things could get ugly in Game 3:

One factor in a suspension happening – or at least the duration of the suspension – would be what the point of contact was:

Also, lateness of the check:

The Penguins ended the first period up 2-0 against the Capitals, even though Washington played one of its best 20 minutes of the series. Expect more drama.

Update: The Penguins won the game 3-2.

Read reactions to the check here.