Henrik Lundqvist apparently wasn’t expecting it. While falling to the ice, Alex Ovechkin released a perfect wrist shot to beat the New York Rangers goalie on the blocker side.
It was a beautiful goal from Ovechkin, who looked unstoppable as he split New York’s ‘D’ with a determined effort, fell to the ice and made his shot. However, the Capitals couldn’t complete the comeback and lost Game 2, with the Rangers tying up this second-round series.
“He’s one of the best players in the game, there’s no question,” said Lundqvist, as per CSN Washington.
“There’s not a lot of players that can do what he does out there and it’s a challenge for us every game to try to stop him. But to be able to shoot it that hard on your knees, he definitely surprised me a little bit there.
“But you have to be ready for anything, especially that line. They’re playing really well, so you just have to be on your toes out there.”
It didn’t take long, only 38 seconds, for New York Rangers forward Chris Kreider to make an impact on Saturday’s Game 2 against the Washington Capitals.
His goal, which came off a rebound in the first minute of play, got the Rangers started on their way to a dominant first period and an eventual win to even the series at one game apiece.
Kreider could’ve had more, too, his speed a factor throughout the game. He led all New York forwards in ice time, and had eight shot attempts to go with four hits.
“He’s a huge difference maker. He puts a big influence on the game for us the way he can skate, the way he can hit and his shot and his physicality,” said Ryan McDonagh, as per Rangers Rants. “All together it’s a tough combo to defend for anyone. It’s a good sign that he was able to get it going and he’s got to continue that for us if we want to be successful.”
Added Dan Boyle: “He’s been doing it all year. He’s the fastest player I’ve ever played with by far and I’ve played with some pretty fast players. Possibly the strongest. He’s done it all year long.”
Mark Giordano, out since Feb. 25 with torn biceps, took part in a full team practice with the Calgary Flames on Saturday, but head coach Bob Hartley quelled the notion of a dramatic and sudden return to the lineup.
“Today, it’s a good step in the right direction but he’s still very far,” said Hartley, as per Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun.
Despite the absence of their captain, best defenseman and arguably best player in Giordano, the Flames still managed to exceed expectations by getting into the post-season.
After a victory in the first round over Vancouver, the Flames are in tough (very tough) against the Anaheim Ducks. Game 2 of that series goes Sunday.
Calgary’s GM GM Brad Treliving said at the beginning of March that his prize blue liner was done for the season as a result of the injury. On Saturday, Giordano expressed optimism with the recovery.
“I don’t know,” Giordano told ESPN. “I think overall, rehab’s gone really well so far. You can’t really put a timeline on it, you’ve got to see how you function out there and how you feel. But so far everything’s gone really smoothly. So hopefully it keeps going that way.
“We haven’t really talked about putting a date on it. It’s going to be a lot more of this stuff and ramping it up more before I can even think of playing.”
The Flames trail the Ducks 1-0 in the series, after a brutal 6-1 loss in Game 1.
We continue to wait for a decision from Mike Babcock. Will he remain as head coach of the Detroit Red Wings, or choose to take over behind the bench of another National Hockey League team, starting a new path in his career?
Don Cherry, during his Coach’s Corner segment on Friday, offered his input and advice for Babcock:
“Of all the guys in the world that should tell Babcock what to do, it’s me,” said Cherry, a Jack Adams Award winner as the NHL’s coach of the year with the Boston Bruins in 1975-76, as per Sportsnet.
“I have some suggestions for him,” Cherry continued. “I would say San Jose. Don’t go to a rebuilding team, it’ll break your heart. You only have one life, enjoy it. Go to San Jose. I bet he goes to San Jose, I think that’s where he’s going to go.”
The Tampa Bay Lightning can take a 2-0 series lead on the Montreal Canadiens in the second round of the 2015 Stanley Cup playoffs, and Steven Stamkos has yet to score in this post-season.
That’s now eight straight 2015 playoff games without a goal for Stamkos, who recorded 43 goals during the regular season. It could be that he’s soon due for a breakout performance. But the opportunities to score, he admitted to Sportsnet.ca, have been increasingly more difficult to come by.
In Game 1 against Detroit, Stamkos has eight shots on net. Since then, he’s had only 17 combined in the last seven games.
“It’s just getting tougher and tougher,” Stamkos told Sportsnet.ca. “When you’re out there and you’re trying to get to the net, there’s guys obviously that have a job and they don’t want to be on the video the next day because they let you go in the slot or let you have an opportunity to score.”
Luckily, for Stamkos and the Lightning, Tyler Johnson has taken some of the pressure off with his playoff-leading seven goals. No other player on Tampa Bay’s roster has more than two goals so far since the Stanley Cup tournament began.