MichaelDelZotto

Del Zotto has ‘no idea’ about new contract with Preds

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Coming off one of the worst years — if not the worst — of his NHL career, Michael Del Zotto isn’t sure about his future with the Nashville Predators.

“I have no idea what’s going to happen,” the pending RFA said, per The Tennessean. “Obviously I’m not too happy with how this year has gone for me. I have high expectations for myself, and being traded here I wanted to prove I could play to the best of my ability and how I had in the past.

“We’ll see what happens this summer and just take it one day at a time.”

Del Zotto, 23, was acquired by Nashville in January in exchange for Kevin Klein but failed to make much of an impact with the Preds, scoring just one goal and five points in 25 games, finishing with a minus-4 rating while spending time as a healthy scratch. Ex-Preds head coach Barry Trotz questioned Del Zotto’s intensity level and noted his play slipped not long after being acquired.

As such, the pending Del Zotto negotiations figure to be tricky — as they usually are with restricted free agents.

Two years ago, the future looked pretty bright for MDZ; he racked up a career-high 41 points — as a 21-year-old — and finished 12th in Norris voting, ahead of Duncan Keith. He was playing big minutes and parlayed that into a two-year, $5.1 million extension with the Rangers, signed just prior to the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign.

Now, though, some of that luster has worn off. His defensive issues have been well-documented and he’s failed to impress each of his last two coaches, Trotz and Alain Vigneault. So it’ll be curious to see what kind of offer Preds GM David Poile tables this summer.

All that said, it’s worth noting that Del Zotto appears to like playing in Nashville.

“I’ve enjoyed my time here. I’ve only been here 2½ months,” Dhe explained. “The guys have been great to me, the organization has been unbelievable.”

Oshie’s hat trick lets Caps just barely squeak by Penguins in OT

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What a start.

This series between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals might be headlined by Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, but as many have said in the lead-up to tonight’s opener, there is so much more to this second round matchup than that. Washington’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game 1 tonight could be offered up as Exhibit A.

This game had everything except big offensive showings from Crosby and Ovechkin. They had their moments, but in the end combined for just one assist.

What we got instead was a hat trick by T.J. Oshie that was completed with a game-winning goal that made it past the line by such a narrow margin that it warranted a video review:

This game also featured a sequence of three goals in 90 seconds and yet also some great saves by goaltenders Braden Holtby and Matt Murray. At the other end of the spectrum, there was a controversial hit by Tom Wilson that might lead to a suspension.

There was even some odd stuff. Like how Jay Beagle got a stick stuck in his equipment.

Twice:

If this game sets the tone for the rest of the series, then we should be in for a closely contested, highlight filled affair.

NOTES:

Nick Bonino had a goal and an assist for the Penguins. Evgeni Malkin and Ben Lovejoy accounted for the Penguins’ other markers.

— Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky scored the game’s opening goal. It was his first marker of the 2016 playoffs.

— Washington outshot Pittsburgh 15-9 in the first period, but Pittsburgh ended up with a 45-35 edge.

— This is the first time in the 2016 playoffs that Braden Holtby has allowed more than two goals. He surrendered just five goals in six games to Philadelphia.

— Matt Murray suffered his first career postseason loss after winning three straight contests against the New York Rangers.

Video: Wilson delivers late, knee-on-knee hit to Sheary

Wilson hit
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Tom Wilson has already found himself in a controversy for delivering a late, knee-on-knee hit to Penguins forward Conor Sheary in the third period of Game 1 Thursday night.

You can see that incident below:

Wilson spent two minutes in the sin bin earlier in the contest for crosschecking Evgeni Malkin, but there was no penalty on this play.

Fortunately Conor Sheary was able to stay in the game. The question now is if Wilson’s actions will lead to him being suspended prior to Game 2.

This isn’t Wilson’s first brush with controversy. He delivered a big hit to Brayden Schenn in 2013, but Wilson wasn’t suspended for that incident. Lubomir Visnovsky’s final campaign was cut short due to a check by Wilson that angered the New York Islanders. More recently, Nikita Zadorov was concussed by a crushing blow from the Capitals forward.

In 231 career regular season games, Wilson has 50 points and 486 penalty minutes.

Related: Wilson says ‘I’ve never been a dirty hitter’ after teams voice complaints

Video: Penguins, Caps combine for three goals in 90 seconds

Oshie goal
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For the first 30 minutes of Game 1 between Pittsburgh and Washington it looked like goaltenders Matt Murray and Braden Holtby might outshine these star-studded offenses. Then the floodgates opened up, if only for a moment.

Washington already had a 1-0 lead going into the second frame courtesy of Andre Burakovsky‘s first marker of the 2016 playoffs, but Ben Lovejoy and Evgeni Malkin scored back-to-back goals within the span of 57 seconds midway through the second period to tilt the scale in Pittsburgh’s favor. That lead didn’t last for long though as Capitals forward T.J. Oshie got a breakaway opportunity and took full advantage of it.

In total, there were three goals scored in the span of just 90 seconds and you can see all of them below:

After that sequence, the 2-2 tie held for the remainder of the frame. However, Oshie was able to reassert Washington’s edge just 3:23 minutes into the third period.

Video: Beagle gets stick stuck in visor

Beagle
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Through 40 minutes of action in Game 1 of the second round series between Pittsburgh and Washington and we’ve already seen some big moments, along with a pretty unusual one.

Beagle ended up with a stick lodged into his visor towards the end of the second frame. He tried to get it out himself, but ended up having to go to the bench for assistance. You can see that below: