NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-Chicago Blackhawks at Minnesota Wild

Get your game notes: Blackhawks at Wild

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Minnesota Wild hosting the Chicago Blackhawks starting at 9:30 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• In Game 3, the Wild ended the Blackhawks’ six-game win streak with a four-goal outburst in the third period. The four goals were the most they had scored in a postseason period since May 5, 2003, when they scored five times in the second period of Game 5 vs. Vancouver, and were the most ever scored in a period in a home playoff game. This series, the Wild have scored all seven of their goals in the third period.

• The Blackhawks fell to 0-9 in the first road game of their last nine playoff series. (Their last win in a road opener was in Game 1 of the 2010 Western Conference Final vs. San Jose, a series they went on to sweep.) They are 10-5 in all other road games in the previous eight series. One of those wins came in Minnesota in Game 4 of the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals, a 3-0 shutout of the Wild.

• With the Canadiens’ OT loss last night, the Blackhawks (5-0) and Wild (4-0) remain the only teams with perfect records at home this postseason. Minnesota has outscored Colorado (in three games) and Chicago (in Game 3) by a combined 12-3 on home ice, getting goals from seven different players: Mikael Granlund (4), Zach Parise (3), Jason Pominville, Charlie Coyle, Erik Haula, Jared Spurgeon and Marco Scandella.

• Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 19 saves in Game 3 to record his first postseason shutout since posting three in a row for Anaheim from May 3-7, 2006 (36 postseason starts ago). It was the second postseason shutout in franchise history, after Darcy Kuemper blanked Colorado in Game 3 of their first round series. Since 2007, only two other teams have gotten shutouts from two different goalies in one postseason: Michael Leighton and Brian Boucher for Philadelphia in 2010 and Marc-Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun for Pittsburgh in 2013. Elias Sports Bureau

• The Blackhawks were held to 22 or fewer shots on goal in only two of 82 games during the 2013-14 regular season (second fewest in the NHL, after Ottawa – one). However, after being held to 19 shots on goal in Game 3, the Hawks have been held to fewer than 22 shots in all three games vs. the Wild. Four of Chicago’s five lows in shots this season (including the playoffs) have come against Minnesota.

Chicago shots on goal Opponent Date Result
19 at Minnesota Dec. 5 lost 4-3
19 at Minnesota May 6 (Game 3) lost 4-0
20 at Montreal Jan. 11 lost 2-1 (OT)
22 vs. Minnesota May 2 (Game 1) won 5-2
22 vs. Minnesota May 4 (Game 2) won 4-1

• The Blackhawks, third among all playoff teams in goals/game (3.22), are one of only two teams with five or more players with eight or more points each this postseason. (Pittsburgh has six.) None of the five Hawks have more than nine points: Jonathan Toews (4-5–9), Brent Seabrook (2-7–9), Marian Hossa (2-6–8), Patrick Kane (5-3–8) and Bryan Bickell (5-3–8).

• Wild winger Matt Cooke will return to the lineup after serving a seven-game suspension for his knee-on-knee hit on Colorado defenseman Tyson Barrie in Game 3 of Round One. (Minnesota went 4-3 in those games.) Cooke, who has never met Chicago in a playoff game in his 15-year NHL career, scored two goals and registered six hits in three games vs. the Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center this season.

• Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, who has been unable to talk since taking a Jonas Brodin shot to the throat in Game 2, leads the playoffs with 34 blocked shots in nine games, including four or more in five of them. Hjalmarsson had 42 blocked shots in all of the 2013 postseason (23 games).

‘Like a 1988 Smythe Division game’ – Caps, Pens react to wild 8-7 game

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: Dmitry Orlov #9 of the Washington Capitals collides into Brian Dumoulin #8 of the Pittsburgh Penguins after scoring a goal during the second period at Verizon Center on November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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It’s no surprise that Justin Williams, a player who earned the clutch nickname of “Mr. Game 7,” provided the money quote for the Pittsburgh Penguins’ wild 8-7 overtime win against the Washington Capitals.

“It snowballed too quickly for us,” Williams said, according to Caps’ website Dump n Chase. “All around, it was like a 1988 Smythe Division game out there, not something we want to do.”

Penguins-turned-Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen also echoed one of the points from the game’s recap, stating that the contest had “four of five turning points.”

You could probably spend hours pouring through all the oddball stats that sprouted up from this game.

While Williams and Niskanen provided some of the better quotes, most of the players were reduced to using the same word that, frankly, most of us were rolling out.

(Aside from those of us who were spouting expletives at perceived missed calls, particularly on the losing end.)

In admitting that he couldn’t explain the second period, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan probably described the entire game most accurately:

Either way, it was a lot of fun. Let’s do this in the playoffs, too, shall we?

/scans online for a budget defibrillator.

Video evidence that Mike Smith isn’t tanking

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The Arizona Coyotes are really bad, but you could argue that Mike Smith is why the Colorado Avalanche owns the NHL’s worst record instead.

He came into tonight’s eventual 3-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers with a sparkling .918 save percentage, and while he couldn’t save the Coyotes, he did rob of Jordan Eberle on what seemed like a sure goal.

Watch that great save in the video above, and maybe wonder if Smith didn’t get the memo about the whole “tanking” thing.

Penguins out-gun Capitals in absurd, controversial 8-7 OT thriller

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Leave it to number 87 to win an 8-7 hockey game.

Evgeni Malkin grabbed a hat trick during that patently absurd second period, yet it was Sidney Crosby who helped to create the overtime game-winner (credited to Conor Sheary) as the Pittsburgh Penguins edged the Washington Capitals on Monday night.

No doubt about it, there was some controversy, including on that clinching goal. And not just because the tally survived the review process:

MORE: Watch the full overtime here. Check this post out for additional information on that zany second period.

Regardless, the Penguins’ three-game losing streak ends (as does Washington’s nine-game winning run). The Caps at least got a standings point out of the deal, which seems pretty fair when you consider the fact that they scored a touchdown and extra point’s worth of goals in this one.

(Yes, there were NFL jokes on Twitter.)

Malkin’s hat trick goal and Crosby’s fourth point both demanded official reviews, but both also stood. Capitals fans are probably upset with this game, especially since you could make a legitimate argument that T.J. Oshie should’ve drawn … you, know, at least one penalty:

Instead, you could argue that Patric Hornqvist‘s hit on Oshie ended up being a turning point of the game in Pittsburgh’s favor, although you could also argue that even M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t keep up with all of the twists.

Roberto Luongo captured the mood of the three goalies involved (Braden Holtby got the hook after allowing five goals over a zany 8:09 span) and likely the coaches, too:

To recap, Malkin had that hat trick, Crosby scored a goal and three assists and Sheary generated a three-point night (two goals, one assist). Trevor Daley generated three assists while Justin Schultz did it one better with four.

Oshie collected a goal and two assists, Lars Eller generated two big goals and Alex Ovechkin chipped in two helpers of his own.

The goalie stats, were, well … (see that Luongo tweet).

***

Overall, it was a messy, unpredictable, staggering and sometimes controversial game.

Normally, one might say that this is just what you’d expect from a Capitals – Penguins contest. Can anyone really argue they expected this explosion, though?

Do yourself a favor and watch the highlights, as there were so many exciting moments and goals that it’s difficult to summarize them all in one recap. Heck, if you just watch the highlights of the night for Crosby and Malkin, you’re likely to be highly entertained.

If we’re treated to another contest between these teams in 2016-17, it will be in the playoffs. Plenty of hockey fans would love to see that, at least if their hearts can take it.

Just about everything happened in second period of Capitals – Penguins

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Update: The game only slightly slowed down after the second period, as the Penguins ultimately edged the Capitals 8-7 in overtime. Read all about it here.

This post goes into greater detail about the second period, which is worthwhile … because it was a brain-full.

***

Let’s just take a second to step back and rub our eyes in disbelief at this Washington Capitals – Pittsburgh Penguins game, particularly the just-passed second period.

Basically everything is happening.

Evgeni Malkin is now at 21 goals on the season as he generated a hat trick in the middle frame. That third goal will be highly – and understandably – contested thanks to possible goalie interference by Patric Hornqvist.

At his best, Hornqvist is in the thick of things, and that was certainly the case on Monday. Granted, this hit on T.J. Oshie was questionable:

Braden Holtby was chased from the Capitals net after the Penguins reeled off five goals in 8:09, which you can view here:

The Capitals brought a 2-0 lead into the second period and fattened it to 3-0. After that, the Penguins built a 5-3 lead with the flurry from above.

Brett Connolly made it 5-4 just 30 seconds after Malkin’s second goal, while Lars Eller tied it up at 5-5 about two minutes later.

That tie lasted … less than 30 seconds, as Malkin’s third tally made it 6-5 for the Penguins.

There’s a bunch of other stuff that happened, too, probably.

/catches breath

You can watch the rest of the game on NBCSN, online or via the NBC Sports App. Here’s the livestream link.