Brad Richards

Continued power-play woes weighing on Rangers

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The New York Rangers had six power-play opportunities on Monday and failed to capitalize on any of them, bringing them down to just 1-for-14 with the man advantage in the Stanley Cup Final. Given how close Games 1 and 2 were, it doesn’t feel like a stretch to suggest that this could be a very different series if the Rangers were doing just a bit of a better job in that regard.

“We had a lot of power play opportunities but we didn’t give ourselves a chance on rims, stopping and battling for pucks,” Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh said after Monday’s 3-0 loss to Los Angeles. “They cleared a lot. It’s the third or the fourth shot that we say are going to be goals and we didn’t give ourselves enough of those opportunities.”

The Kings certainly deserve some credit for shutting down the Rangers’ power play, but at the same time what they’re doing isn’t unique. The Rangers only have a 12.6% power-play success rate in the postseason after being a middle-of-the-road team in that regard during the regular season.

New York has leaned heavily on Brad Richards, giving him an average of 4:39 power-play minutes per game in the playoffs, including 8:47 minutes last night. However, Richards has just four power-play points in 23 postseason contests, which ties him for fourth on the Rangers and would put him behind six players if he was a member of the Los Angeles Kings.

The Rangers need more out of Richards, but he’s certainly not the only one they need to step up. Even if they’ve held their own or even outplayed the Kings at times during this series, now that they’re down 3-0, it would take a tremendous effort on their parts to overcome this deficit. Any mistake or missed opportunity could be fatal for them now.

Capitals manage OT win after coughing up lead to Bruins

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 03: Nicklas Backstrom #19 of the Washington Capitals looks on against the Winnipeg Jets during the first period at Verizon Center on November 3, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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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.

Matt Niskanen injured by Patrice Bergeron boarding hit

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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.

Ouch: NHL official helped off ice after puck to knee (Video)

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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.

Yikes:

Video: Tyler Bozak with some saucy moves on this goal

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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: