Cam Tucker

Rangers win OT thriller, put Habs on brink of elimination

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The New York Rangers will head back to Madison Square Garden for Game 6 of their first round series with the opportunity to eliminate the Montreal Canadiens.

Mika Zibanejad scored the winner, capping off an overtime period in which the Rangers previously had numerous chances but either couldn’t beat Carey Price or couldn’t control loose pucks amidst the chaos in front of the Habs net.

But in the end, Zibanejad capitalized and New York took an emotionally charged — dirty at times — Game 5 by a final score of 3-2.

The Habs, who received an inspired performance from Brendan Gallagher, who scored and had four hits and five shots on goal, had the lead late in the second period but couldn’t maintain it.

Brady Skjei scored the tying goal with 1:32 left in the second period and the Habs managed only 10 shots on goal in the third period and OT.

While he wasn’t as busy in the second half of the game, credit also has to go to Henrik Lundqvist.

In another epic battle between the goalies, Lundqvist made a huge pad save while facing Max Pacioretty on a third-period breakaway and the game tied.

And when overtime began, it was the Rangers controlling the pace.

Game 6 goes Saturday in New York.

Report: NHL linesman Don Henderson files $10.25M lawsuit against Dennis Wideman

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Almost 15 months after Dennis Wideman knocked NHL linesman Don Henderson over with an apparent cross check, there has been another development in the infamous case.

Per TSN’s Rick Westhead, Henderson has filed in a Calgary court a $10.25 million lawsuit against Wideman. The report also states that the Flames are listed as defendants, as well.

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According to his lawsuit, Henderson suffered injuries to his head, neck back, shoulder, and right knee. He also allegedly suffered a concussion, pain, numbness and tingling in his right arm and hand, shock anxiety and depression, headaches and permanent and partial disability.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. No statements of defence have been filed. A Flames spokesperson did not immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

The incident occurred during a game between the Flames and Nashville Predators on Jan. 27, 2016, leading to litigation between the various parties for more than a year. The league suspended Wideman for 20 games.

The length of the suspension was eventually reduced on appeal, leading the league to file a suit in order to get the ban restored to 20 games.

However, last month, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan ruled in favor of Wideman and the NHLPA, ultimately keeping the suspension at 10 games — much to the disappointment of the NHL.

Video: Shaw and Smith drop the gloves, tempers flare between Habs, Rangers

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Quite an eventful first period between the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers.

With the series tied 2-2 and Game 5 in Montreal on Thursday, tempers were short in the opening 20 minutes. A massive scrum started in front of Henrik Lundqvist, leading to Andrew Shaw and Brendan Smith dropping the gloves in a spirited fight inside the Rangers’ zone.

More bad blood as the period ended with Shea Weber and Rick Nash getting tied up beside Carey Price.

The Habs jumped out to a 2-1 lead after the first period. Artturi Lehkonen opened the scoring for Montreal, and Brendan Gallagher restored the Habs’ lead 24 seconds after a short-handed goal from Rangers forward Jesper Fast.

It certainly gave the Habs a boost when Price made an absolutely amazing left-pad save on Mats Zuccarello just 40 seconds into the game.

 

2017 Calder Trophy finalists: Patrik Laine, Auston Matthews, Zach Werenski

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The NHL has announced the finalists for the 2017 Calder Trophy, given to the league’s top rookie.

Patrik Laine of the Winnipeg Jets, Auston Matthews of the Toronto Maple Leafs, and Zach Werenski of the Columbus Blue Jackets were named finalists for the award.

Laine and Matthews were obvious choices given their exciting penchant for scoring, but there were several young players — William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Sebastian Aho to name a few — that could’ve easily been named the third finalist. Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association submitted their votes at the end of the regular season.

Matthews and Laine went No. 1 and No. 2 overall in last year’s draft, prompting incredible anticipation around the league for what they could accomplish this season. And they didn’t disappoint.

Matthews, 19, led all rookies in scoring, with 40 goals and 69 points, helping the Maple Leafs to a playoff position. His NHL career began with a record-setting debut and he continued to delight from there. He finished tied for second overall in goal scoring alongside Nikita Kucherov. Matthews ended the season only four goals behind Sidney Crosby, this year’s Rocket Richard Trophy winner.

Laine, who just turned 19 years old on Wednesday, finished fifth in overall goal scoring and second in rookie goal scoring. He tallied 36 goals, showing off an incredibly accurate and quick wrist shot. He also had 64 points, second behind Matthews in the rookie race.

Werenski, also 19 years old, had an impressive rookie season on defense for the Blue Jackets. He had 47 points in 78 games, averaging almost 21 minutes of ice time per game. His freshman campaign bodes well for the future in Columbus, especially since he plays such a difficult position for younger players in the league. Not only did he play, but he often excelled. Unfortunately, he suffered a facial fracture in Game 3 of the Blue Jackets’ first-round series with Pittsburgh, ending his season.

The winner will be announced June 21 at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas.

Carlyle: Injured d-men Vatanen, Fowler should be available for second round

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Reinforcements could be on the way for the Anaheim Ducks in the second round of the playoffs.

The Ducks swept the Calgary Flames in the first round, which gives them some additional time off until the next round. And that time off could be beneficial for a pair of injured defensemen — Sami Vatanen and Cam Fowler.

Vatanen played just over 22 minutes in the series opener versus Calgary but hasn’t played since then because of an upper-body injury. He was considered day-to-day as a result. Fowler hasn’t played since April 4 because of a knee injury — suffered against the Flames.

Both defensemen are productive offensively, but they also eat up valuable minutes for the Ducks. Fowler led the team in ice time during the regular season, playing nearly 25 minutes per game, while Vatanen was third in that category. Naturally, both are relied upon for the power play and penalty kill.

Although Anaheim awaits its next opponent, it would be a huge boost for the Ducks to get Vatanen and Fowler both as healthy as possible and back into the lineup.

As of Thursday, Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said there is no specific timetable for either blue liner, however they should both be available for the second round.