Cam Tucker

Kadri defends controversial hit on Ovechkin

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In a playoff series, individual battles between players can sometimes provide the most intrigue.

Take what is happening between Alex Ovechkin of the Capitals and Nazem Kadri of the Maple Leafs.

The Capitals won Game 5 in overtime, pushing the Maple Leafs to the brink of elimination. That’s a big story, because the Capitals are favored to win this series and expected to go on a deep playoff run, but Toronto has made this a heck of a series, with four of five games going to OT.

What occurred between Ovechkin and Kadri is also making headlines.

Late in the first period, Kadri delivered a controversial hit on Ovechkin, who was hurt on the play, leaving the ice and unable to put pressure on his left leg. It could’ve been a defining moment for the Capitals this post-season.

Fortunately for them, Ovechkin returned to the game but it’s been pointed out by a few people in the media that, during the second period, he seemed more intent on going after Kadri than anything else. After all, Ovechkin is a star player and based on comments after the game, it’s obvious the Maple Leafs want to get under his skin.

For his part, Kadri defended the hit, which was penalized for tripping.

“I thought he got rid of the puck and I just kind of tried to get a piece of him and he tried to get out of the way,” Kadri told reporters. “It’s not like I stuck my knee out or got my arms high or anything like that. It happened pretty quick. From what I saw, I thought it was OK.

“At the end of the day, I’m cheating my teammates if I don’t try to get a piece of him because he’s dumping the puck in and going around our defenseman. At the end of the day, I’ve got no choice. I’ve got to try and hold him up and save my defensemen,” he added, per CSN Mid-Atlantic.

Late in the second period, Kadri was slashed on the arm by Ovechkin and on the back of the knee by Matt Niskanen — basically at the same time, sending him to the ice.

Washington coach Barry Trotz said he was going to keep his opinion of the Kadri hit to himself, adding he was “quite concerned” when the “face of this franchise” went down like he did. His Toronto counterpart, Mike Babcock, thought the hit was all right.

“It’s interesting. [Trotz] probably thought there should’ve been a major. I thought there should’ve been no penalty,” Babcock told reporters. “The other night when [Roman Polak‘s] done for the year, our bench thought it should’ve been a major and they thought it should be no penalty.”

For both teams, the only thing that matters now is winning that next game. The Maple Leafs are looking to force a Game 7. The Capitals are looking to survive a first-round scare.

Babcock is apparently quite confident in his team going into Game 6.

Bruins prevail in 2OT to extend series after controversial disallowed goal

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Third time’s a charm?

The Boston Bruins thought they had the winner in the first overtime. Turns out, they didn’t — after officials ruled there was goalie interference following a review. Oh, the controversy.

Shortly after, they once again thought they might have the winner, only to have another review determine the puck didn’t cross the goal line courtesy a save from Jean-Gabriel Pageau.

But finally, in the second overtime, the Bruins prevailed with a come-from-behind 3-2 win, sending this series with the Ottawa Senators back to Boston for a Game 6.

Tuukka Rask was great in net, making 41 saves for the win. The Bruins also had to kill off a pair of penalties — delay of game-puck over the glass, and too many men on the ice — late in the third period in a tied game.

Sean Kuraly, a fifth-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2011 playing in his 11th career NHL game, was the unlikely hero for the Bruins.

He scored his first career NHL goal in the second period, tying the game. He then notched the winner midway through the second overtime period.

The win prolongs the series for one more game at least. A big question for the Bruins is whether or not they will have David Krejci in the lineup? He left the game after a knee-on-knee collision and didn’t return.

Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said following the game that Krejci is day-to-day.

“We’ll see in the morning,” said Cassidy.

Video: Bruins disallowed goal after controversial OT goalie interference call

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Needing a win to extend the series, the Boston Bruins thought they had the overtime winner in Game 5 versus the Senators on Friday.

But after a video review, officials deemed that wasn’t the case. It’s certainly a controversial ruling.

From the NHL:

At 14:25 of overtime in the Bruins/Senators game, the Situation Room initiated a review under the terms of a Coach’s Challenge to review the “Interference on the Goalkeeper” decision that resulted in a “no goal” call.

After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee determined that Boston’s Sean Kuraly interfered with Ottawa goaltender Craig Anderson before the puck crossed the goal line.

Therefore the original call stands – no goal Boston Bruins.

Shortly after, it appeared again that the Bruins had perhaps scored. Except this time, Jean-Gabriel Pageau reached back with his hand and moved the puck off the goal line before the puck ever crossed. There was another review, but again, no goal.

Capitals defeat Maple Leafs in OT as Justin Williams provides heroics

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‘Mr. Game 7’ has given the Washington Capitals a huge win in Game 5 of their first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Justin Williams scored early in overtime, giving the Capitals a 2-1 win that pushes the Maple Leafs — who have not gone away or been afraid or shown like they don’t belong at this stage of their development — to the brink of elimination.

Williams, parked in the slot, beat Frederik Andersen with a shot through the five-hole.

Again, that’s a massive goal for the Capitals. This series has been incredibly entertaining for hockey fans but it has proven to be incredibly difficult for the Presidents’ Trophy winners, with four of the five games going to overtime.

The Capitals had plenty of pressure on them heading into the playoffs, and their post-season history certainly contributes to that. That narrative continued with Toronto taking a series lead after back-to-back wins.

T.J. Oshie opened the scoring in the first period and Auston Matthews answered for Toronto in the second, causing plenty of angst for both fan bases in a series the Capitals were favored to win. They now have that chance, as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 6 on Sunday.

There was plenty of emotion in this game, too.

Nazem Kadri caught Alex Ovechkin with a low, controversial hit in the first period, sending the Capitals star through the air and to the ice in pain. Ovechkin was unable to put any pressure on his left leg as he went to the locker room, but he did return for the second period.

The feud between Kadri and Ovechkin continued in the second period with some hacks and whacks, causing the Leafs forward to miss a few minutes of the third period.

Video: Sean Kuraly’s first NHL goal is a big one for Bruins

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Sean Kuraly has his first career NHL goal — at a pivotal time for the Boston Bruins.

The Bruins trail the Ottawa Senators 3-1 in their first-round series. Down 2-0 in Game 5 and without David Krejci because of a lower-body injury suffered on a knee-on-knee collision, Boston has battled back to tie the game going into the third period.

Kuraly tied it with less than three minutes left in the second period, off a fortunate bounce as he looked to bring the puck out front. They all count.