James O'Brien

I am a contributing editor/writer/troublemaker for NBC's Pro Hockey Talk blog.

Leafs’ defense in trouble after Roman Polak helped off ice (Video)

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Things were looking so bad for the Toronto Maple Leafs during the second period, you almost expected for Kasperi Kapanen‘s crucial 2-2 goal to be reviewed offside.

That wasn’t the case so … there’s some good news. Otherwise, things are tough at the moment for the Maple Leafs against the Washington Capitals in Game 2.

Nikita Zaitsev, Toronto’s top minute-eating defenseman, already entered the playoffs on the shelf. It sure looks like Roman Polak could miss some serious time, too, after a painful-looking fall following a hit by Caps blueliner Brooks Orpik.

You can watch that hit and tumble in the GIF below (video will be added soon) … again, it doesn’t look promising.

Watch Capitals vs. Maple Leafs on NBC Sports

Once again: Predators score first vs. Blackhawks, and Arvidsson was involved

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Even those who saw potential for growth probably didn’t expect Viktor Arvidsson to share the Nashville Predators points lead with 61 during the regular season.

The Chicago Blackhawks likely came into this series aware of his presence – you don’t need to study tape to realize he scored 31 goals – but if he wasn’t on their radar before, he certainly should be by now.

Arvidsson scored the only tally of Game 1 as the Predators managed a 1-0 victory. Ryan Ellis scored the opening goal of Game 2, but guess who was screening Corey Crawford? Arvidsson.

Stream Blackhawks vs. Predators on NBC Sports

Video: Ovechkin gets a goal, from the exact spot you would expect

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During this first week of playoff action, we’ve seen Tanner Glass score game-winning goals and Joel Edmundson generate a goal in consecutive games.

All due respect to those guys (especially Glass, since most humans fear his punches), but such moments didn’t exactly follow the logic set by the regular season.

Don’t worry, though, there are some certainties in life: death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin scoring from his office.

Watch Capitals vs. Maple Leafs on NBC Sports

As it turns out, Ovechkin playoff goals are also common occurrences:

That goal (see in the video above) was his first of this series, tying Toronto and Washington at 1-1. This stings for the Maple Leafs, as they took advantage of a wonky opening frame and a great play by Jake Gardiner for this James van Riemsdyk goal:

The Buds have scored the first goal in Game 1 and now 2. We’ll see if they can make anything of that tonight after the Capitals overcame their edge last time around.

With John Carlson‘s 2-1 goal, the Capitals currently lead Game 2.

Dion Phaneuf: Game 2 OT-winner was biggest goal of his career (Video)

Between his days with the Flames, Maple Leafs and Senators, Dion Phaneuf has played 902 regular season games and 34 playoff contests. His Game 2 OT game-winner from Saturday might just be his crowning achievement.

Well, at least, it might be the biggest goal of his career.

And, hey, it sure was emphatic. With that booming shot, Phaneuf scored the 4-3 OT goal to tie the Senators’ series with the Boston Bruins. He spoke about his emotions after collecting that big tally in the video above.

Stream Bruins vs. Senators on NBC Sports

If you want to watch the goal alone, check below.

Read the Game 2 recap here.

NHL gives Matt Calvert a one-game suspension; most say that is not enough

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The NHL punished Columbus Blue Jackets forward Matt Calvert for viciously cross-checking Tom Kuhnhackl of the Pittsburgh Penguins, but few are satisfied with the one-game duration of the suspension.

Calvert received a two-minute minor penalty in that Game 2 win for Pittsburgh.

Stream Penguins vs. Blue Jackets on NBC Sports

The Department of Player Safety refers to cross-checking as a a “fairly common infraction” that is normally appropriately addressed by penalties. In this case, factors elevated it to a suspension: it was not a hockey play, even if the blow was “only delivered to the arm.” The league also believes that this falls into the category of message-sending by Calvert:

His lack of a suspension history helped his cause. Again, plenty of people find it to be an unsatisfying suspension.

Long story short: no Calvert for Game 3, but he can return in Game 4.