The Washington Capitals grabbed a Game 1 win against the New York Rangers with the kind of buzzer-beating sequence that won’t be forgotten for some time.
Nicklas Backstrom delivered a questionable hit on Dan Boyle before Joel Ward managed the 2-1 game-winner with less than two seconds remaining.
Boyle immediately left the ice, so we’ll see if the Rangers lose more than just the contest. The two teams brawled after the whistle, and one could assume that it had much to do with that Backstrom hit, Tanner Glass being sent sprawling onto Henrik Lundqvist and Chris Kreider’s collision with Braden Holtby.
Of course, it might have just been about the staggering series event that ended the contest.
The Capitals leaned heavily on Holtby in this one, as it seemed like he would make Alex Ovechkin’s first-period laser stand as the lone tally of the night. Instead, Jesper Fast was credited with a deflection goal with a little more than four-and-a-half minutes remaining in the third, giving the impression that we’d get the first overtime squabble of the second round.
Obviously, that was not to be, as Ward found the net for another big goal. The guy just seems to have a knack for playoff scoring … especially when a new contract is on the line.
This loss really has to hurt the Presidents’ Trophy-winning Rangers, but if previous Ovechkin/Lundqvist-era series are any indication, we could see many twists and turns before one team advances to the Eastern Conference finals.
It’s been a hectic third period for Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, and not just because the New York Rangers are pressing to tie Game 1.
Notorious crease-crasher Chris Kreider provided the most controversial moment, as he collided with Holtby. Judge that situation for yourself, as more than a few people were upset with the moment (which didn’t draw a penalty):
Holtby seemed in peril at times, as he also seemed briefly shaken up by a stick under the mask. (Perhaps he made a savvy move to get a whistle … or a combination of both?)
Those bumps and bruises will be easier for Holtby to manage if he can hold off the Rangers. Tune in to NBCSN to find out if he can.
Ovechkin chirps Lundqvist: ‘All series long, baby’
Few, if any, goalies have seen Alex Ovechkin in playoff form as often as Henrik Lundqvist. One can guess that the New York Rangers’ star netminder is probably all too familiar with seeing scary shots from the Washington Capitals’ key winger.
Ovechkin seems to be at his trigger-happy best in Game 1, and not just on that laser shot that currently stands as the only goal. It’s possible that he’s always yapping, really, but you get the impression that his trash talk gets a little louder when his game is on.
Microphones caught a great moment between the two, as Ovechkin taunted Lundqvist with “All series long baby, all series long” shortly after that goal:
That can’t be music to Lundqvist’s (or Rangers fans’) ears …
Here’s the goal that maybe left Ovechkin feeling extra bold:
The Buffalo Sabres’ coaching search isn’t expected to ramp up until next week, but the Associated Press reports that Todd McLellan and Luke Richardson are among the “initial candidates” for the gig.
That same report indicates that Mike Babcock would be a likely candidate, as well, if he decides to leave Detroit. (One could probably insert Babcock’s name into any team’s wish list, though, right?)
It sounds like Sabres owner Terry Pegula has some other fish to fry in regards to the NFL Draft, as he’s also the owner of the Buffalo Bills. Once the smoke clears on that, the AP reports that things might really get cooking.
One factor might just be familiarity after Sabres GM Tim Murray cited less-than-ideal comfort with former Sabres head coach Ted Nolan, according to the AP:
In firing Nolan, Murray said he had difficulty establishing a good working relationship with the former coach over the past year. Murray called it a priority to have a comfort level when it comes to hiring his next coach.
Richardson certainly fits that category, while Babcock and Murray have ties that go back to Anaheim in 2002. Babcock coached the Ducks from 2002-04, when Murray served as the team’s player personnel director.
McLellan would be an interesting choice, as he’d go from a weird semi-rebuild in San Jose to a full-fledged one in Buffalo. Just imagine how often he’d make these faces with the Sabres, considering that he was grimacing so often with a fairly successful Sharks squad: