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.

PHT Morning Skate: Shane Doan takes a (friendly) shot at the Miracle on Ice

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Shane Doan took a friendly jab at the the movie “Miracle” and the Miracle on Ice. (BarDown)

–The best of the worst Upper Deck hockey cards from 2015-16. (Puck Junk)

–Here’s a list of the top 50 players in WHL history. (WHL)

–Watch the highlights of last night’s game between the Penguins and Capitals. (Top)

–A sad story about how Chris Phillips feels helpless as his hometown of Fort McMurray burns. (CBC)

–“You want to get back into things right away (but) I think these last four or five months have been good for me.” Former Penguins coach Mike Johnston is ready to coach again. (Local XPress)

–Blues forward Jori Lehtera is in a pretty random commercial:

Penguins push Capitals to brink of elimination with OT win

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The Pittsburgh Penguins ended a long run of playoff overtime struggles on Wednesday … and are now one win away from ending the Washington Capitals’ season.

Many expected the Penguins to crater on defense without Kris Letang (they were 2-8-1 in the regular season without him). While there were shaky moments, Pittsburgh emphasized its speed and other strengths in taking a 3-2 overtime thriller against Washington.

With that, the Penguins’ series lead grows to 3-1.

It was a thrilling, sometimes nasty contest, from Sidney Crosby shaking off an Alex Ovechkin slash, to Evgeni Malkin delivering a hit some thought was over the line and plenty of typical playoff skirmishes.

Ultimately, Matt Murray played another strong game and Patric Hornqvist scored the overtime-winner to put the Capitals in a tough spot.

The Penguins lost their previous eight playoff overtime games, so maybe it was just a matter of time before such a game went their way?

Then again, the history between the two teams is a little different:

If the Capitals want to advance beyond the second round for the first time in the Ovechkin era, they’ll need to accomplish quite the feat against arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Sidney Crosby looks hurt (and furious) after Alex Ovechkin slash

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Sidney Crosby is known to get fiery, but even for his feisty standards, he was furious during the third period of Game 4.

An Alex Ovechkin slash caught Crosby on the hand, leaving the Pittsburgh Penguins star shaking his mitt and pleading for a call.

After that, Crosby left to get his hand looked at … but not before flipping out and destroying his stick.

You can watch it happen in the GIF and the videos above.

Crosby was able to return not that long after that moment, although we can only speculate regarding how his overall game will be affected if his hand isn’t 100 percent.

Dirty or not? Evgeni Malkin’s hit on Daniel Winnik

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Tensions seem to rise with every passing game in the playoffs, particularly in a series with bad blood like the one between the Pittsburgh Penguins and Washington Capitals.

Kris Letang was suspended for his hit in Game 3, and some wonder if Evgeni Malkin should suffer a similar fate for his check on Daniel Winnik on Wednesday.

Winnik left the contest and has not yet returned during the third period.

Take a look at the hit in the video above and decide for yourself.