Matt Calvert

Get your game notes: Penguins at Jackets

10 Comments

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Columbus Blue Jackets hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins starting at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Game 2 saw several franchise firsts for the Blue Jackets in their sixth-ever postseason game. The Jackets picked up their first postseason win in their first postseason overtime game, thanks in large part to their first-ever two-goal scorer in the playoffs, double-overtime hero Matt Calvert.

• Of the 17 games played this postseason, five have featured comebacks from two goals down to win. The Pittsburgh-Columbus series has featured two of those. In Game 1, the Penguins won 4-3 after falling behind 3-1, and in Game 2, the Blue Jackets followed the same script, scoring three unanswered goals in their 4-3 double-overtime win.

• Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 41 of 45 shots in Game 2, but failed to pick up the win. Since the beginning of the 2010 playoffs, seven goalies participating in these playoffs have made at least 30 starts. Fleury is one of three goaltenders in that group with a losing record.

source:

• This series versus Columbus marks the eighth consecutive postseason series (since 2010) in which the Penguins have played Games 1 and 2 on home ice. Of those series, they won both games only once, in the 2013 Eastern Conference Semifinals versus Ottawa. (They won that series in five games.) In the four series in which they split the first two with their opponents during that span, Pittsburgh was 4-0 on the road in Game 3.

• Nine of the 14 combined goals (64.3%) scored have been scored in odd-man situations. Six of those goals came on the power play (Columbus is 3-for-10 so far this series, Pittsburgh is 3-for-11), led by Penguins defenseman Matt Niskanen’s NHL-high two PPG, while three came shorthanded (Derek MacKenzie and Matt Calvert for Columbus, Brian Gibbons for Pittsburgh).

• Penguins center Evgeni Malkin needs one point to become just the sixth player in Penguins history –and second active skater, alongside teammate Sidney Crosby – to register 100 career postseason points.

source:

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

16 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.