Stars frustrate Ducks’ star players in Game 3 win

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Ryan Getzlaf just couldn’t take it anymore. So, he began punching back.

The Dallas Stars seemed intent on disrupting and frustrating the star players of the Anaheim Ducks – the perfect case in point coming late in the second period when Stars’ forward Antoine Roussel and Ducks’ captain Getzlaf began exchanging punches with their gloves still on, causing a massive melee.

Getzlaf is still wearing a protective visor down by his jaw, after he took a puck to the face in the series opener last week. The Stars won their first playoff game since 2008, skating to a 3-0 victory on Monday.

“I’m pretty sure if you watch the scrums, our guys got punched in the face a few times,” said Stars head coach Lindy Ruff afterward, as per the Associated Press. “Eventually you’re going to punch back. … For us, we know we’ve got a good skating team and I think that we can frustrate.”

Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau also offered his opinion on the matter.

“We’ve warned the refs about them, anyway. It’s just something that I guess you do anything to win, but it’s not something that I think our team would do,” he said afterward, as per the Dallas Morning News.

“We’ll take them and be as physical and be as mean as they want, but obviously they know there’s something wrong with his jaw, so they’re going after it.”

Getzlaf was dominant in Game 2, but didn’t have nearly the impact in Game 3, with more penalty minutes (only two) than shots on goal (only one).

“You’ve got to stay as disciplined as you can, but you have to protect yourself, too. I never expected them to target my face that much,” said Getzlaf.

The experience in a losing cause is apparently, at least based on the post-game comments of the Anaheim players, setting the table for a spirited fourth game in this series, with the Ducks still leading two-games-to-one.

“They’re going to get in our best player’s face, I guess Wednesday night we’re going to have to do the same thing,” said Ducks’ forward Patrick Maroon, as per Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register.

Maroon added: “We’re going to have to show that intensity. We can’t let that happen to our star players. They’ll get it.”

Fleury, Penguins hang on for Game 1 win against Capitals

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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

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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.

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: