Get your game notes: Rangers at Flyers

28 Comments

Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Philadelphia Flyers hosting the New York Rangers starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

— Philadelphia’s win Sunday snapped a nine-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden. The Flyers now return to Wells Fargo Center, where they took both games from the Rangers this season and four of their last five dating back to last season. New York last won in Philadelphia March 26, 2013, a 5-2 victory.

— Of the 33 times the Flyers have been tied at 1 in a series, they have won 17 of those series, and lost 16. Game 2 has often been a good indicator of Philadelphia success in the playoffs: when the Flyers win Game 2, they have gone on to win the series 30 of the 37 times, regardless of the Game 1 result. The Rangers have won eight of the last 12 playoff series in which they split the first two games, including five of the last seven playoff series in which they split the first two games at home.

— The Rangers started this season playing their first nine games on the road due to Madison Square Garden‟s renovation project, getting off to a 3-6-0 start. But in their final 32 road contests, the Rangers posted a 22-8-2 record to finish 25-14-2 on the road this season, setting a franchise record for road wins in a season. New York was one of three teams to record at least 25 road wins this season (Colorado, Anaheim) and had the most road wins in the Eastern Conference. The Rangers’ 52 road points this season rank second in franchise history (2011-12 – 53).

— The Flyers overcame an early 2-0 deficit in the first period to win Sunday and are one of six teams this postseason to come back and win after trailing by two goals. During the regular season, the Flyers came back to win after trailing by two goals on eight occasions. It was also the sixth time in the last seven playoff years that the Flyers won a game in such a fashion, tying them with the Bruins for the most over that span. All six of Philadelphia’s two-or-more-goal comeback wins in the playoffs since 2008 have come on the road and prior to Sunday‟s win, the club‟s last playoff victory when trailing by two goals was April 13, 2012 when they overcame a pair of two-goal deficits to win 8-5 against Pittsburgh in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.

— Flyers goaltender Ray Emery, who has been filling in for Steve Mason (upper body injury) and who
will start Game 3, started in back-to-back games for the first time this season, earning his 21st career playoff victory and his first in exactly three years since helping Anaheim defeat Nashville April 20, 2011 in Game 4 of the Western Conference Quarterfinals, 6-3. After allowing two goals within the first 10 minutes Sunday, Emery did not allow another goal. Mason said Monday, “The way [Emery’s] playing, there’s no hurry. He’s the reason we won yesterday, so, even if I was ready, there’s no reason to take him out right now.”

— Rangers forward Martin St. Louis opened the game’s scoring in the first period, netting his first playoff goal for the Rangers after tallying 33 during his tenure with the Tampa Bay Lightning. His 34 career playoff goals ranks 13th among all active NHL players. St. Louis has 7 points in his last 4 games dating back to the regular season.

Ovechkin shrugs off Caps’ Game 1 loss in very Ovechkin way

3 Comments

You know, it happens. Maybe not always in those exact words.

The Washington Capitals carried the play during portions of their 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins, and even down 1-0 in the series, just about every player seemed happy with their overall game.

(Granted, Braden Holtby picked apart two of the three goals he allowed, and so on.)

Still, Alex Ovechkin shrugged off the disappointment in a way that wasn’t quite Rated R, but probably ranks in the PG-13 range:

The penalty element is interesting, though.

When asked after the loss about the lack of power plays, Matt Niskanen merely offered a “no comment.”

The Penguins experienced some sprawling moments, yet they avoided taking a penalty each time. Often, when a team carries long sequences of play, they’ll go on the PP (especially with home-ice advantage) … but not the Capitals in Game 1.

via Natural Stat Trick

It’s a situation to watch as the Capitals hope to even the series against the Penguins with Game 2 coming on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. (You can watch online, via the NBC Sports App and follow the livestream here).

Holtby takes blame for two big goals in Caps’ loss to Pens

1 Comment

It’s just about a consensus that the Washington Capitals believed that they generally played a strong game despite falling 3-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Braden Holtby‘s teammates likely wouldn’t agree with his assessment that the Game 1 loss is on his shoulders, but the perennial Vezina candidate took the blame for Sidney Crosby‘s first goal of the night and Nick Bonino‘s game-winner.

Noting that the Penguins are a dangerous rush team – making them a different threat than the Toronto Maple Leafs – Holtby believes that he should have had his glove in position to stop the 1-0 goal. He said he’s capable of making such a stop and “will next time.” Check out Crosby’s two goals below, with Holtby having a beef with the first one:

It’s really difficult to place too much blame on Holtby for giving up Nick Bonino’s game-winner, as it seemed like a great rush play that few goalies would be able to stop.

Judge for yourself in the highlights:

The Penguins were ultimately able to take a 1-0 series lead, but the Capitals seem capable of shrugging off questions about frustrations, even with naysayers starting to gain confidence in claiming that there will be more than the same.

If Washington’s going to get over this big hurdle, Holtby is likely to be a big part in doing so.

Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

27 Comments

The Pittsburgh Penguins pulled off a 3-2 Game 1 win against the Washington Capitals, but Thursday’s thriller probably prompted a sigh of relief.

(Washington, meanwhile, might have uttered a sigh at such unpleasantly familiar feelings.)

The first period ended 0-0 in part thanks to Jake Guentzel‘s sprawling “kick save.” Business really picked up in the second after Sidney Crosby raced off to two quick goals, only for Alex Ovechkin to give Washington a shot thanks to a booming goal and some physical play.

It sure felt like this one might head to overtime, especially after Evgeny Kuznetsov was tying things up and flapping his arms like wings. That was not to be, however, as Nick Bonino took advantage of a pretty area pass to beat Braden Holtby for the decisive tally.

Now, it was only decisive because Marc-Andre Fleury was at the top of his game. Oh, and also because the Penguins did a collective Guentzel impression in frantically denying a tying tally.

Makes you want to wipe some sweat from your brow, eh?

The Capitals dominated by just about every statistical measure … except, of course, goals on the scoreboard. Pittsburgh will gladly take that 1-0 series lead, then.

Expect a desperate Washington team in Game 2, which airs at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can watch it online and via the NBC Sports App (click here for the livestream link).

Karlsson makes difference for Senators vs. Lundqvist, Rangers

9 Comments

Swedish superstars Henrik Lundqvist and Erik Karlsson were both stupendous in Game 1 between the New York Rangers and Ottawa Senators.

Still, it was Karlsson’s game-winning goal (from a seemingly impossible angle) against Lundqvist that made the difference as the Senators beat the Rangers 2-1 on Thursday. With that, the Senators are up 1-0 in the series.

That Karlsson goal really deserves a special look.

Whether you blame that 2-1 tally on Lundqvist or not, the Rangers would be foolish to do anything but praise their red-hot franchise goalie. He stopped all 21 Senators shots in the first period and ultimately made 41 out of 43 stops in defeat.

Craig Anderson was strong in his own right, mind you, stopping 34 out of 35 shots (including all 28 at even-strength) to help Ottawa take that tight contest.

Anderson’s strong play highlights the fact that Rangers – Senators doesn’t merely come down to Lundqvist vs. Karlsson … but even so, both Swedish superstars really did stand out in this one.

Game 2 airs on NBC at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App; click here for the livestream link.