James O'Brien

Braden Holtby

Video: Holtby spurns Hagelin on penalty shot

9 Comments

Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby has been the star of a series against Henrik Lundqvist and the New York Rangers so far, but Game 4 featured maybe his most brilliant moment.

Mike Green was forced to obstruct speedy Rangers winger Carl Hagelin, setting the stage for an almost-cinematic situation. The Rangers were down 2-1 in the third period, but Hagelin could tie it up on a penalty shot.

The result was dramatic, yet Holtby came through with a beautiful glove save:

Keep that one in mind. Chances are, Holtby’s agent will cue that clip up during his looming contract negotiatons …

Quick strike: Lightning steal Game 3 from Habs with last-second goal

Nikita Kucherov, Ben Bishop, Victor Hedman, Tyler Johnson
33 Comments

The Montreal Canadiens carried much of the play in Game 3, but Ben Bishop kept the Tampa Bay Lightning alive long enough for the most dramatic finish of the second round … since the last really exciting finish.

Much like the Washington Capitals’ last-second win in Game 1, the Lightning barely avoided overtime to grab a 2-1 win tonight. With that, Tampa Bay holds a 3-0 series lead over Montreal, and they can end the series as early as Thursday in Game 4.

In tonight’s case, Ondrej Palat made an alert pass to Victor Hedman, who went in deep to send a great one-time pass to Tyler Johnson. The undrafted marvel scored with just about a second left, shocking Carey Price and the Canadiens in the process.

Here’s video of the winner:

… And this is probably how it felt for Price and the Canadiens:

Let’s not kid ourselves, though. Johnson’s goal and Steven Stamkos’ pass serve as beautiful buzzer-beaters, but the bottom line is that Ben Bishop stole this one for the Lightning.

The Canadiens’ 15 third-period shots nearly matched what Tampa Bay generated all game (19). Overall, it was a 31-19 shot differential for Montreal, but Johnson’s last attempt was the one that ultimately mattered.

source:

(Chart via Natural Stat Trick)

One year after Montreal swept the Bolts from the 2014 postseason, the Lightning are one win away from possibly returning the favor. The Canadiens don’t have much time to gather their thoughts, either, as Game 4 is tomorrow.

If Game 3 is any indication, there won’t be much room for error.

For a playoff overview and all tonight’s biggest stories, click here.

Video: Burakovsky’s first playoff goal is big for Washington

New York Rangers v Washington Capitals - Game Three
1 Comment

After going through his first six playoff games without a point, Washington Capitals forward Andre Burakovsky now has points in two straight contests. That’s impressive since, as of this writing, that means he’s factored into the Caps’ only goals against the New York Rangers since the series shifted to Washington.

Burakovsky grabbed his first career postseason goal in Game 4, and it was a significant one, tying things up 1-1 in the second period:

Dare we wonder if there was “man strength” on display with that wicked shot?

Video: Brassard breaks Rangers’ lengthy drought

1 Comment

Goals have been very hard to come by lately for both the New York Rangers and Washington Capitals, so Derick Brassard’s 1-0 tally could be a big one in Game 3.

It was a beautiful play between Brassard, Martin St. Louis and Rick Nash, as you can see below:

If you feel like Brassard is the only Rangers player who’s scoring, you’re not totally outrageous. He has five of their 16 postseason goals, and has been the only one to find the net in some time:

The bright side for the Rangers: the Capitals haven’t exactly been lighting up the scoreboard, either.

Video: Bishop holds off close calls from Canadiens

Ben Bishop

Heading into their second-round series, many thought that the difference between the Montreal Canadiens and Tampa Bay Lightning may come down to who’s in net. So far, it’s been Ben Bishop making the big saves instead of Carey Price.

The desperate Habs have been carrying the play for much of this game (as of this writing, Tampa Bay lacks a second-period shot), yet Bishop keeps turning Montreal aside. As you can see from this stop, sometimes he’s also getting a little luck:

Bishop also stopped Dale Weise by a narrow margin:

So far, the Lightning hold a 1-0 lead against the Canadiens, but you have to wonder how many times Bishop can save the day.