Carey Price, Tuukka Rask

Disrespected? OK, but that’s not why the Habs won

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For the record, I love the “we were disrespected” angle that the Montreal Canadiens were playing up last night after eliminating the Bruins. It’s great for the blogging business, providing lots of clicks and comments and ranting and raving. Same goes for Milan Lucic being “disrespectful” in the handshake line. Even more so, actually.

But here’s the thing: getting disrespected wasn’t why the Habs beat the B’s. Perhaps it provided a bit of useful motivation, but let’s not allow that narrative, as much as you all care about PHTs well-being, to overshadow things like:

— Carey Price is one of the best goalies in hockey.

— PK Subban is one of the best defensemen in hockey.

— Teams that have those two things often do well in the playoffs.

— The Habs got Thomas Vanek at the deadline, and it didn’t cost them all that much. His five goals lead the team in the postseason.

— Max Pacioretty was called out by his coach after Game 4. He responded, big time.

— Dale Weise was deemed expendable by the Canucks. In Montreal, he’s been anything but.

— Lars Eller. Pretty savvy trade acquisition for an expendable goalie.

— Brendan Gallagher. Pretty savvy draft pick at 147th overall.

The Habs are full of good stories, from all of the above to Daniel Briere to Mike Weaver to Andrei Markov. And let’s not forget about their coach, Michel Therrien, who just so happens to be enjoying all this success while the guy who replaced him a few years ago in Pittsburgh is getting ready to look for work, apparently no longer a genius.

I’m not quite to the point where I’m going to rip the Habs for playing the “we were disrespected” card, as some have. I’m not going to rip Lucic much, either. Hockey is an emotional sport. We demand the players play on the edge, then we’re outraged when they get frustrated and don’t “#stayclassy”? Seems a bit much to me. But that’s another story.

And besides, I don’t doubt the Habs felt disrespected. (I mean, come on.) However, focusing too much on the respect factor is selling themselves short. Montreal’s got a great chance to get back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1993. Because, as it turns out, Montreal’s got a pretty good team.

Pavelski’s late goal helps Sharks grab 2-0 series lead over Preds

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The San Jose Sharks became the only team in the second round to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their series. The Sharks did it by beating the Predators 3-2 in Game 2 on Sunday night.

San Jose opened the scoring in the second period when Logan Couture buried a rebound by Preds goalie Pekka Rinne. Brent Burns took the initial shot from the point and extended his playoff point streak to four games.

The Predators finally got on the board at the 12:56 mark of the third period when Mattias Ekholm tied the game at one.

Here’s the goal:

Nashville’s good fortune didn’t last very long. Sharks captain Joe Pavelski gave San Jose a 2-1 lead less than five minutes later.

Pavelski also picked up two assists in the game. The 31-year-old has at least one point in six of his seven postseason games in 2016.

Joe Thornton then added an empty-netter in the final minute of play before Ryan Johansen scored with four seconds remaining.

Despite the loss, Preds head coach Peter Laviolette wasn’t too disappointed by the way his team played.

The Predators outshot the Sharks (39-25), they outhit San Jose (46-26), but they just couldn’t outscore them.

Like the old saying goes: “you’re not in trouble until you lose a game on home ice.” The Preds still haven’t done that, which means they’re not done yet.

The series now shifts to Nashville for Game 3, which will be played on Tuesday night.

Video: Marc-Edouard Vlasic saved by his visor after taking Shea Weber shot to the face

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It’s a scary night for players getting hit in the head with pucks.

After Brian Elliott was hit in the head by a Jason Spezza slapshot, it was Marc-Edouard Vlasic‘s turn to narrowly avoid disaster.

In the third period of Sunday’s game against the Predators, Vlasic took a puck to the face. The end result could have been catastrophic had Vlasic not had a visor.

You can see the incident by clicking the video at the top of the page.

It’s nice to see that Vlasic was in a joking mood after the game:

Hockey Twitter breathed a collective sigh of relief after Vlasic got back up:

It sounds like Olli Maatta won’t be ready for Game 3

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You’ve all seen it by now (if you haven’t, click the video at the top of page). Penguins defenseman Olli Maatta was forced to leave Game 2 against the Capitals after taking a late hit from Brooks Orpik. Not only was the hit late, but Orpik also caught Maatta in the head.

After the Penguins’ optional skate on Sunday, Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan wasn’t optimistic about Maatta’s chances of playing in Game 3 on Monday night.

“Olli’s being evaluated as we speak, so I don’t have any real update as far as his status is concerned,” Sullivan said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He’s being evaluated today, we’ll probably have more information in the morning.

“I don’t have a lot of sense of his availability. I’m probably not optimistic, though.”

After the game, Capitals coach Barry Trotz stood up for his defenseman.

“We’ll let the league handle it,” Trotz said, per CSN Mid-Atlantic. “If you know anything about Brooks, he plays hard, he plays clean. He’s not a dirty player.”

And the league certainly did handle it, as they suspended Orpik for three games.

Related:

Penguins coach takes issue with late, high Orpik hit on Maatta

Brooks Orpik suspended three games for hit on Olli Maatta

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Brooks Orpik has been suspended for three games for his hit on Olli Maatta (top). The Caps defenseman will be forced to miss Games 3, 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven series against the Penguins.

Orpik delivered a late, high hit to Maatta in Game 2. The Penguins defenseman was wobbly getting off the ice and he was unable to return to the game.

Here’s how the Department of Players Safety saw the play:

“Orpik steps up to pressure Bonino, who quickly moves the puck to Maatta. Orpik peels off Bonino to pressure Maatta, who releases a shot from the top of the circle. The two continue on their path toward the goal line, as the puck is kicked into the slot. A full second after Maatta releases the puck, Orpik delivers a high, forceful hit making significant head contact. This is interference.”

To watch the NHL’s Department of Player Safety’s full explanation, click the video below.

This is the third time Orpik’s been suspended in his NHL career.