It looked like it was going from bad to worse for the Washington Capitals in Game 4 on Wednesday.
After falling behind in the first period, failing to take advantage of a Penguins team without Sidney Crosby, Conor Sheary, Kris Letang and Matt Murray, the Capitals suddenly found themselves facing a two-goal deficit after a Dmitry Orlov own-goal early in the second period.
Jake Guentzel fired the puck into the middle of the ice, where it banked in off the skate of Orlov, increasing the Pittsburgh lead and giving Guentzel his eighth goal of these playoffs.
That kicked off — totally intended, by the way — a wild few minutes in the second period. The Capitals roared back to tie the game, erasing the two-goal Pittsburgh lead with goals from Evgeny Kuznetsov and Nate Schmidt just 1:12 apart.
The Penguins have since retaken the lead on Justin Schultz‘s second of the playoffs, as the Capitals and Penguins combined for four goals in 11:24 of the second period.
The Penguins take a 3-2 lead into the third period, looking to put the Capitals on the brink of elimination.
Last month, the Canucks lost Nikita Tryamkin as he returned to Russia and the KHL.
On Wednesday, they managed to hold onto another towering defenseman in their organization, signing Andrey Pedan to a one-year, two-way contract extension.
The 23-year-old Pedan was placed on waivers last October and spent all of last season in the minors, playing 52 games with five goals, 10 points and 100 penalty minutes for the Utica Comets, coached by Travis Green, who was recently promoted to the head coaching position in Vancouver.
“Andrey had a good season in Utica and we’re pleased to re-sign him,” said Canucks GM Jim Benning in a statement. “He adds depth to our defense and his speed, size and physicality gives our coaching staff more options to compete every night.”
With the loss of Tryamkin and Philip Larsen to the KHL, and the potential for other spots on the blue line to open up through the expansion draft or off-season trades, the six-foot-five-inch, 213-pound Pedan should get an opportunity to try to land a roster spot when the rebuilding Canucks begin next season.
Pedan played 13 games for the Canucks in 2015-16. He certainly has a familiarity with Green, who sees NHL potential in the left-shooting blue liner.
Tensions continue to rise between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers, as both of those series resume Wednesday.
The Penguins have the chance to put the Capitals on the brink of elimination but they will be without Sidney Crosby in Game 4 due to the concussion he suffered after a Matt Niskanen cross check in Game 3.
The Oilers have the opportunity to move within one win of the Western Conference Final, however the Ducks are coming off an offensive outburst in Game 3 to get back into the series.
Here’s what you need to know:
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Penguins lead 2-1)
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET (Stream online here)
Anaheim Ducks vs. Edmonton Oilers (Oilers lead 2-1)
Times: 10 p.m. ET (Stream online here)
Niskanen ‘adamant’ he didn’t mean to cross-check Crosby
Sullivan says game plan won’t change without Crosby
McLellan fires back at Carlyle’s ‘white glove treatment for McDavid’ remark
The Arizona Coyotes have announced that chief operating officer Ari Segal has left the organization.
Wednesday’s news comes less than a full year after the organization announced the hiring of Segal, who had previously worked as president of business operations for San Diego’s AHL team and, before that, as a member of the NHL’s broadcast media strategy group.
“We thank Ari for his significant contributions during his time with the club,” said Coyotes majority owner, chairman and governor Andrew Barroway in a statement.
“Ari felt that it was time to move on to his next challenge. We look forward to seeing Ari thrive in his next role. On behalf of the entire organization, we wish him the best of luck in the future.”
It’s the latest development for the Coyotes, a franchise that remains in a state of flux, especially off the ice.
Toward the end of March, there were reports that the Coyotes ownership group may be getting a new member, with Randy Frankel named as a potential new partner.
That report surfaced just a few days after state lawmakers suggested the Coyotes pledge more money for a new arena.
Related: Bettman to Arizona reps: Coyotes cannot and will not remain in Glendale
The Anaheim Ducks are apparently heading out of town, reportedly flying a short distance west to Kelowna, B.C., and leaving behind the playoff-crazed city of Edmonton until the series resumes for Game 4.
On the other hand, the Edmonton Oilers are left to contemplate what went wrong in a 6-3 loss to the Ducks on Sunday, as Anaheim got back in the series but still trails 2-1.
From the 25-second mark of the first period, it seemed the Oilers were on a losing path in this one after Rickard Rakell opened the scoring.
Edmonton did come back, but then quickly gave the game right back to the Ducks, who scored three unanswered goals and had completely taken the crowd in Edmonton out of it in the third period. They did a pretty good job of silencing the fans in Edmonton right away, with three goals before the game was 12 minutes old.
“We worked our way back in, but it wasn’t our night,” said Oilers coach Todd McLellan. “We weren’t sharp enough. Individual miscues were plenty. They were all over the board. You couldn’t even shorten the bench to find two or three lines. There were that many who were erring on a consistent basis.”
The Oilers were able to escape Game 2 with a victory — and Anaheim with a 2-0 series lead — thanks largely to the play of goalie Cam Talbot, but the Ducks solved him Sunday, scoring six times on just 28 shots.
The Oilers may have sparked a brief comeback, but there was really no sugar-coating this one, especially after Anaheim regained the lead and then badly outplayed the hosts in the third period — when the Oilers needed to push for the equalizer.