Downie had ‘great’ relationship with Landeskog, doesn’t think altercation forced trade

Shortly after Colorado traded Steve Downie to Philly in early November, reports claimed the deal happened because of a preseason altercation between Downie and the club’s young captain, Gabriel Landeskog.

When asked about the situation —  the Avs and Flyers met Thursday for the first time since the trade — Downie said the entire thing was blown out of proportion.

“I think it was [overblown],” Downie said, per Philly.com. “I don’t make the trades. I really can’t comment on it. Writers are going to write what they want. I never saw anyone quoted or anything.

“You’d have to ask [the Avalanche]. I’d say me and Landy had a great relationship.”

In a November interview with Sportsnet’s FAN 960 Calgary, CBC’s Elliotte Friedman talked about the incident and subsequent move.

“Obviously, people thought it was a weird trade,” Friedman explained. “You rarely see a first-rounder [Downie] get traded for a guy who — while a useful player — is now pretty much a fourth-liner [Max Talbot].

“During training camp, Downie got angry at Landeskog for a trip during a scrimmage, and he drilled [Landeskog]. I was just told that from that day, considering Downie was a bit unrepentant about it, I just heard the Avalanche decided they were going to make the change at that time.

“Basically the Avalanche decided that when that happened, and Downie was unapologetic about it, the time was going to come when he was going to get dealt.”

The spat did warrant mentioned in the Denver Post on Sept. 14, and the Post’s Adrian Dater subsequently posted an interview with Landeskog in which Landeskog, the NHL’s youngest captain, shrugged off the incident.

Despite that, he whispers of discord between he and Downie remained until the latter was traded.

Ovechkin vs. Crosby shifts into high gear, Carlson clobbers Malkin

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You have to love when sports deliver on – if not exceed – the hype.

The second period of Game 1 between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals has been brilliant and nasty, possibly more than many hockey fans dreamed.

It began with the Penguins getting the big edge; Sidney Crosby scored two goals in the span of 52 seconds and Braden Holtby needed to make some tough stops to keep it at 2-0.

MORE: Video of Crosby’s hot start

That put a damper on the great crowd at the Verizon Center for a bit, but the Capitals ended up responding.

Part of that was a physical response, with Dmitry Orlov delivering a big hit on Tom Kuhnhackl and John Carlson absolutely leveling Evgeni Malkin. The narrative got almost too obvious moments later, as Alex Ovechkin fired a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury to make it 2-1.

Fleury made a tough stop or two of his own once it was 2-1, so while the pace is picking up, the two goalies seem like they’re alert to the challenge as well.

There was plenty of nastiness with 18.9 seconds remaining in the second, setting the stage for what could be a thrilling third period … and maybe more?

Buckle up.

Video: Crosby scores two goals in 52 seconds vs. Capitals

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Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins came roaring out of the gate to start the second period after a 0-0 opening frame against the Washington Capitals in Game 1.

Crosby scored two goals in just 52 seconds to give the Penguins a sudden 2-0 lead. One feels some pity for any fans who didn’t get to their seats just to start the frame … though in the likely event that they are Capitals fans, they might have been spared.

To Braden Holtby‘s credit, he made a couple tough saves moments later to keep it 2-0. It’s been a hectic first few minutes of the second after that relatively mundane first 20 minutes, so hang on tight.

Check out video above; you can also watch the pair of goals in the GIF combo below:

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 be 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.