James O'Brien


Video: OT becomes ‘The Pekka Rinne Show’ (complete with wardrobe malfunction)


Pekka Rinne did everything you could ask for from a $7 million goalie in the first overtime of Game 4 between the Chicago Blackhawks and Nashville Predators. Apparently that included some slapstick comedy.

For one thing, he’s been making some absolutely ludicrous saves, with the best stop being a battle between this OT stop:

And a desperation save that allowed overtime to happen in the first place:

All that heart-stopping action gave way to a light moment, as officials took a long time to find a puck that got stuck in Rinne’s equipment:

Twitter milked this situation for all it was worth, as you could probably guess.

Cratering Canucks put Miller in for Lack

Ryan Miller, Eddie Lack

Their first-round series against the Calgary Flames is really slipping away, so perhaps it’s time for the Vancouver Canucks to turn to Ryan Miller.

They’re doing it for at least part of Game 4, as they pulled Eddie Lack after allowing three goals on just seven shots. Here’s the final goal allowed:

Again, this may be one of those situations where a team makes a goalie change as much to wake up the team at large as it is to respond to a netminder’s performance.

This situation would get a lot more interesting if the Canucks can back into this one and make this more than a time-killing relief appearance for Miller, though.

Red Wings’ Abdelkader says trip on Mrazek was a ‘dirty play’


Petr Mrazek provided another great performance for the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3, but teammate Justin Abdelkader still wasn’t happy about one moment in a 3-0 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

During one of the true turning points of the contest, Mrazek stopped Brian Boyle on a shorthanded breakaway. After that, he drew a tripping penalty on Cedric Paquette:

Apparently Abdelkader wasn’t happy with the actions of Paquette, a pot-stirring player for the Lightning. He deemed it a “dirty play,” as the Tampa Bay Times’ Joe Smith reports.

In case you’re wondering, Abdelkader didn’t just respond via the press:

This series is one game behind Tuesday’s other three, but it seems like they’re making up for lost time by building up some bitterness.

Back-strom in it: Capitals top Isles in OT to tie series

Washington Capitals v New York Islanders - Game Four

Last time the New York Islanders were in overtime, John Tavares worked some magic. This time, he was on the short end of his broken stick, as Nicklas Backstrom’s OT-winner gave the Washington Capitals a 2-1 (OT) win and tied the series at 2-2.

After breaking up the big guns to try to spread their offense out, Barry Trotz went back to what has worked for Washington for many years, putting Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin together. That decision ended up being wise, as they combined for the Caps’ two goals.

The Islanders carried the play for noteworthy chunks of time, as you can see from this Natural Stat Trick graph:


That said, the Capitals seemed to seize the moment in overtime, generating a 7-3 shot advantage during that abbreviated period. Eventually that paid off, as Backstrom managed to deflect a puck in for a crucial Capitals win.

Many expected this series to be one of the most even-matched battles in the East, and with this crucial turn, that could very well be the case.

It’s also starting to ratchet up the intensity, due in large part to the Tasmanian Devil-like presence of Tom Wilson.

In other words, we have ourselves a genuine feud. We’ll see how things turn as the series shifts back to the Verizon Center for Game 5, then.

Amazing Mrazek: Red Wings bottle Lightning for 2-1 series lead

Petr Mrazek

Yeah, Mike Babcock made the right goaltending choice tonight.

Some wondered if Jimmy Howard might step back into the Detroit Red Wings net for Game 3 after the Tampa Bay Lightning tied up their first-round series, but Babcock stuck with Petr Mrazek. That decision paid off handsomely on Tuesday, as Detroit topped Tampa Bay 3-0 to take a 2-1 series lead.

The Red Wings didn’t call upon Mrazek anywhere near as much as they did in Game 1, when the young goalie stopped 44 out of 46 shots to steal a win for Detroit.

That doesn’t mean he could lean back and read a book in net, mind you, as the Lightning still managed some nice chances when they weren’t tripping over their own feet. This Brian Boyle breakaway could have been a turning point if Mrazek didn’t come up with a stop (and then a drop):

On paper, the Red Wings stack up decently against the Lightning in “The Yzerman Cup,” yet there were moments in Tampa Bay when Detroit seemed to strain a bit to keep up.

That feeling largely dissipated at Joe Louis Arena, however, as the Red Wings kept the Bolts’ often-dangerous attack under wraps.

Some of those struggles were on the Lightning themselves, though. Tampa Bay went 0-for-6 on the power play, including a golden opportunity in which they received almost a minute of 5-on-3 time. Far too many pucks were flubbed by point QB’s and forwards, so the Lightning ended up empty.

All of a sudden, the questions start to emerge about Jon Cooper’s group converting potential into playoff results as the veteran group grabs the series edge.