Cam Tucker

Alan Quine plays unlikely double OT hero, Islanders push Panthers to brink of elimination

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Alan Quine’s NHL career to date now consists of seven games combined between regular season and playoffs — all this month, too — and one Stanley Cup playoff overtime winner.

Quine, 23, may not be a household name. But he’s put the New York Islanders one victory away from advancing to the second round, after he scored in double overtime to give his team a 2-1 win over the Florida Panthers in Game 5 on Friday.

Not a bad time to get your first NHL playoff goal.

Besides the actual winner, arguably the biggest moment of this game occurred in the first overtime period. After New York defenseman Calvin de Haan was called for closing his hand on the puck in the crease, his goalie Thomas Greiss calmly denied Aleksander Barkov on a rare penalty shot in playoff OT.

If Barkov scores there, this series shifts back to Brooklyn with the Islanders on the ropes. Instead, Greiss made that save — and many more — and Quine scored the winner and the Islanders will go home looking to eliminate the Panthers.

Scary incident in the second overtime, as Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad left the game and didn’t take another shift after awkwardly crashing into the boards.

Video: Greiss denies Barkov on rare playoff overtime penalty shot

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Penalty shots in NHL playoff overtime are rare. But one was awarded to the Florida Panthers in Game 5 against the New York Islanders on Friday.

Play was whistled after Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan closed his hand on the puck in the crease, as seen from the overhead view on the replay, leading to the call. With the game — and the lead in the series — on the line, it was Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss versus Panthers forward Aleksander Barkov, one on one.

Greiss calmly stayed with Barkov the entire way to make the save, keeping this game tied, for the moment, at one goal apiece.

This game now heads to double overtime. The series is tied 2-2.

 

Been there, done that? Rangers will again try to rally from a 3-1 series deficit

New York Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist (30) watches from the bench alongside center Derick Brassard (16) during the second period after giving up four goals to the Pittsburgh Penguins in Game 4 of an NHL hockey first-round Stanley Cup playoff series, Thursday, April 21, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) Trailing 3-1 in a series is nothing new for the New York Rangers.

It’s the third consecutive year it’s happened.

They rallied against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference semifinals in 2014. They did the same thing against Washington last season, becoming the first NHL team to overcome 3-1 deficits in consecutive seasons.

The Rangers have won 15 of the past 19 playoff games in which they faced elimination, going back to Game 6 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals in 2012 against Ottawa. New York has also won nine of 11 playoff games when facing elimination since the start of the 2014 playoffs.

Once again the Rangers face a win-or-else scenario, and it’s the Penguins again this season. The difference is this is the opening round of the postseason, and these are two different teams, although many of the faces are the same.

This Penguins team is playing two-way hockey under Mike Sullivan. The Rangers, who went to the Stanley Cup finals in 2014 and the Eastern Conference finals last season, don’t seem as sharp this season. Goaltender Henrik Lundqvist has been a little off, the defense has been lacking and no one is carrying the offense.

Lundqvist said that overcoming 3-1 deficits in the past means nothing heading into Game 5 at Pittsburgh on Saturday.

“It’s now,” said the 34-year-old said Friday after practice. “It’s what we do this year, in this series.”

Lundqvist, who was lifted in Thursday’s night’s 5-0 blowout after giving up four goals on 18 shots in 26 minutes, feels the experience of coming back in recent seasons will be useful, but it will be more important for the Rangers to play their game.

For him, personally, it involves being more focused emotionally and technically. While he is quick to add that Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and most of everyone on the Penguins is playing well, confidence is not something the Rangers lack.

“You can’t look at the big picture, that’s when you get lost,” Lundqvist said. “You just have to break it down and focus on your process. We know we are playing a good team and we know they are confident. But last time there we managed to win. We just need to do everything right.”

Coach Alain Vigneault said the most important thing for the coaching staff is to make sure the team has a short memory after consecutive bad performances and to narrow their focus and stay in the moment during games.

“What is in front of us is a must game,” Vigneault said. “We’re aware of it if we want to continue. To a man in that room, I know they all know they can play better than they have so far.”

Special teams have killed the Rangers in the series. New York is 1 for 16 on the power play. Pittsburgh has converted 7 of 19 chances with the extra skater, including 3 of 6 in Game 4.

New York also has to make sure Penguins goaltender Matt Murray works a little harder than he has in the past two games. He has faced 48 shots, but most of them were not difficult. The Rangers’ best chances ended with shots that missed the net.

“Just because we have done it before does not mean it is going to happen again,” Rangers forward Mats Zuccarello said. “It’s not going to work without hard work and dedication from everyone. At the same time we have to believe that it can happen. It’s our only chance right now. I think we are a confident group and we are going to work hard.”

NOTES: Vigneault said D Dan Girardi remains day to day. He has not played since Game 1. … The coach said rookie Oscar Lindberg played well in his postseason debut. … Vigneault is considering using D Raphael Diaz to add some punch to the power play.

Michal Neuvirth steals one as Flyers stave off elimination … again

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The Washington Capitals had more shots on goal in the first period than the Philadelphia Flyers had in the entire game Friday — and they lost.

Just like that, after facing a potential sweep in the opening round, the Flyers will return to Philadelphia for a Game 6. As for Game 5, Michal Neuvirth was the hero, foiling the likes of Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie and John Carlson. Philadelphia was outshot 44-11.

Ovechkin finished the game with eight shots on goal. Neuvirth was up to the task on everything he faced, stopping 44 shots to lead his team to a 2-0 win, forcing a sixth game in this series. Meanwhile, the Capitals’ history of being unable to close out the opposition in elimination games has been well documented.

Neuvirth was sensational, his best stop of the night coming off Marcus Johansson in the second period, as he sprawled to his right to make the save on a rebound opportunity in close to maintain Philadelphia’s lead.

Ryan White scored the winner. It occurred in the second period, which saw the Flyers manage just two shots on Braden Holtby.

This game started with a bang, as Oshie and Brayden Schenn dropped the gloves for a spirited scrap 10 seconds after the opening faceoff.

Video: Neuvirth robs Johansson, continues to bail out the Flyers

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Through two periods Friday, the Washington Capitals held a bit of an advantage in the shots-on-goal department. And by “a bit of an advantage,” we mean they were outshooting the Philadelphia Flyers 30-8.

And yet the score remained 1-0 for Philadelphia heading into the third period of Game 5 — a game the Flyers need to win to extend the series.

Ryan White scored the goal on one of only two Flyers shots in the second period.

But it’s been the play of Flyers’ goalie Michal Neuvirth that’s been the big story. He’s been busy, to say the least. And through 40 minutes, he was up to every challenge.

Arguably his best save of the game was on Marcus Johansson with 2:10 remaining in the second period. Neuvirth, who replaced Steve Mason with the start in Game 4 and stopped 31 of 32 shots to help Philadelphia avoid the sweep, stopped an Alex Ovechkin shot in the slot and moved quickly to his right to absolutely rob Johansson on the rebound in close, as the Capitals searched for the tying goal.