The Blue Jackets couldn’t ultimately beat the Penguins in their first-round series, but the New York Rangers are thankful for what the upstarts from Columbus showed in pushing Pittsburgh to six games.
“We had a chance to see the way they played, and the way Columbus [brought] their game to them,” Rangers forward Derick Brassard said, per the New York Post. “We can learn a lot from the way Columbus put everything behind the defensemen, made them defend. They forechecked very hard, they didn’t pass up many shots. That’s something that we’re going to try to do.”
We mentioned yesterday in PHT Extra that the Penguins didn’t exactly shut up their critics in beating the Jackets. Marc-Andre Fleury had some tough moments, and the players in front of him didn’t always play well either, particularly when Pittsburgh held a lead.
That being said, the Penguins were absolutely deserving of beating Columbus. The stats illustrate how badly they dominated in puck possession, and for all we heard about Sidney Crosby not scoring a goal, he still managed 19 shots and six assists.
“We’re meeting an elite team,” said Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, who joked he “popped a blood vessel” in his eye watching all the tape of the Pens-Jackets series.
“We know coming into this series that for us to have a chance against such a good team, we’re going to have to find another level – another level of execution, another level of compete. That’s how good these guys are.”
Related: Get your game notes: Rangers at Penguins
It wasn’t pretty, and they might have lost key defenseman Matt Niskanen to injury, but at least the Washington Capitals managed a win against the Boston Bruins.
For a while, it was looking pretty ugly.
After going up 3-0, the Capitals went more than a period’s worth of time without even managing a shot on goal. Whether you lean more toward giving the Bruins credit for fighting back or beating up the Capitals for “sitting on a lead,” it’s staggering that such a dangerous offense could be held in check for so long.
Luckily for Washington, Nicklas Backstrom salvaged the night with an overtime goal to give the Capitals a 4-3 overtime win.
Both teams have had a knack for extending games beyond regulation lately, by the way:
Capitals over the last three games:
Shootout loss to the Lightning
Overtime win against the Sabres
Overtime win tonight against the Bruins
Bruins over the last five games:
Shootout loss against Flyers
Shootout win against Hurricanes
Regulation win against Sabres
Overtime win against Panthers
Overtime loss to the Capitals
Maybe that’s what gets it done in 2016-17: finding ways to carve out wins and shake out rough patches, like the Caps did tonight.
Patrice Bergeron doesn’t have a reputation for dirty hits, but he drew the Washington Capitals’ ire for a hit on Matt Niskanen.
The Capitals consider Niskanen “probable” to return to Wednesday’s game against the Boston Bruins with what they’re calling an upper-body injury. Bergeron received a two-minute boarding penalty for the infraction.
(Check out video of the hit above.)
The Capitals’ Twitter acknowledged the brewing bad feelings.
Does Bergeron deserve supplemental discipline for that boarding hit?
Washington currently leads the game 3-2.
There are plenty of hazards on an NHL rink even if you’re not a player.
Barry Trotz ranks among the coaches who’ve been hit by pucks, though he’s one of the tiny sliver of humans who would shake off a puck to the forehead. It can be dangerous for officials, too, whether it means a wayward puck or wayward player.
The latest example comes in the form of linesman Steve Miller needing help off the ice after a puck hit him in the knee area. As you can see from the video, it looked like he was in serious pain.
It’s refreshing that hockey fans have, for the most part, moved on from debating Tyler Bozak‘s merits.
The general feeling is that the Toronto Maple Leafs use him in appropriate ways these days, so we can simply enjoy his work as a pretty spiffy hockey player.
Speaking of spiffy, check out the sweet moves he made against the Minnesota Wild for the goal above. Feels like you could dub over a Chris Berman “whoop” or two in there, right?
(If you’re into that kind of thing.)
Here’s that gaudy move in isolation and in GIF form: