Boston Bruins v Montreal Canadiens

Get your Game 7 notes: Habs at Bruins

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the Boston Bruins hosting the Montreal Canadiens starting at 7 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• Tonight marks the ninth Game 7 in the 34 all-time playoff series between the Canadiens and Bruins. Some of the most memorable moments in NHL history have taken place during Game 7s between these two arch-rivals, including Maurice “Rocket” Richard’s “unconscious goal” past Sugar Jim Henry in 1951-52, 39-year-old Jean Beliveau & rookie Ken Dryden’s upset of Bobby Orr’s Bruins in 1970-71, Boston’s “Too Many Men” penalty in 1978-79, Patrick Roy’s final postseason game in Montreal in 1993-94 & Nathan Horton’s OT winner in 2010-11. The Canadiens hold a 5-3 edge in wins; the Bruins are 3-2 at home though.

• With a win tonight, Boston will advance to the Conference Finals for the 2nd straight year & the 3rd time in the last 4 seasons. Montreal can advance to their first Conference Finals since 2009-2010 with a win tonight. Prior to their 2009-2010 appearance, the Canadiens had not made the Conf. Finals since 1992-93, the year they won the Stanley Cup. This marks the 7th straight season that Boston has played in a Game 7 – establishing a new NHL record.

• Carey Price’s 26-save shutout in Game 6 was his 4th career postseason shutout. All 4 of Price’s playoff shutouts have come against Boston (2 in 2008, 1 in 2011). Price became just the 2nd goalie in NHL history to earn his first 4 postseason shutouts all against one team. Martin Brodeur also recorded the first 4 of his 24 career playoff shutouts (an NHL record) vs. Boston, 1 in 1994 & 3 in 1995. (Elias Sports Bureau)

Price has stopped 190 of 204 shots this series; he has allowed 8 of those 14 goals in the 3rd period where he has faced 45 shots (.822 save%) compared to his .962 save% (153/159) in all other periods this series.

• Zdeno Chara will be playing in his 11th career Game 7 (4-6 record, 3 assists), most among active players. Claude Julien will be behind the bench for his 10th Game 7 (5-4 record), tying Mike Keenan for the most in NHL history among head coaches. This will be Michel Therrien’s first time coaching a Game 7.

• Tuukka Rask leads all goalies in GAA (1.90) & SV% (.933) this postseason. He holds a 1-1 career record in Game 7s (3.87 GAA, .855 save%). In 2009-10, Rask allowed 4 goals on 27 shots in a second-round Game-7 loss to Philadelphia (at home), 4-3. Last season, Rask allowed 4 goals on 28 shots (2 saves in OT) in a first-round Game-7 win over Toronto (at home), 5-4.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.