The Washington Capitals already furnished the New York Rangers with bulletin board material thanks to Alex Ovechkin’s soft guarantee for Game 7. Why not double-down, then?
When asked about why the Capitals might take Wednesday’s decisive game against the Rangers, Evgeny Kuznetsov said it came down to Braden Holtby vs. Henrik Lundqvist … and he’ll take Holtby.
“Our goalie’s better,” Kuznetsov said with a laugh. “I don’t know what you want me to say. Our goalie’s better.”
Here’s video of his comments, along with other interesting reactions (some more likely than others to provide bulletin board material):
Those are bold words in just about any context, but considering Lundqvist’s status as one of the few truly elite goalies in the NHL – maybe the elite goalie in the league – things get that much spicier. Quite frankly, Lundqvist clearly got the best of Holtby in Game 6, yet perhaps their will be a reversal of fortune when everything’s on the line for both teams?
If that’s true, it would break an interesting pattern:
Perhaps Kuznetsov and Ovechkin were a little bit more candid following the frustration of seeing Washington’s 3-1 series lead evaporate into a 3-3 tie? Whatever the case may be, they’re adding extra motivation to a Game 7, the most inspirational situation a hockey player can ask for (at least from a team standpoint).
The beauty and silliness of sports wraps up in this thought, then: if Washington wins, this will look brilliant … and the opposite situation would make them look like bragging buffoons.
Barry Trotz probably doesn’t love this, yet it sure makes this situation more fun, doesn’t it? We’ll see if this candor only heightens over the long break until Game 7 on Wednesday, then.
The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are piling on scoring chances in Game 6, but only Chris Kreider found the net so far.
As well as Braden Holtby is performing, it seems to be advantage: Henrik Lundqvist early on. He turned some heads by making an impressive string of three successive saves, including showing a little bit of ingenuity against Troy Brouwer:
Yep, that’s impressive. Again, Holtby’s been great too, but so far “The King” is showing why he draws such royal praise.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Rangers at Capitals, 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Rangers will once again look to avoid elimination tonight as their series with the Washington Capitals shifts to the Verizon Center for Game 6. The series has been a showcase of outstanding goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby have stopped a combined 296 of 311 shots through five games for a .952 save percentage. New York has now played in an NHL-record 12 straight one-goal playoff games. The Caps have been eliminated by the Rangers in seven games in each of their last two playoff appearances. Washington is 7-2 against New York at home in the playoffs since 2012.
Flames at Ducks, 10:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007 the Anaheim Ducks have not made it past the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Ducks have a chance to close out their second round series with the Calgary Flames in Game 5 tonight at the Honda Center. The Flames are looking to advance to the conference finals for the first time since 2004 when they came one win shy of capturing the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. Calgary will be in tough tonight – the Flames have lost 21 straight at the Honda Center since a win on April 25, 2006. The Ducks won Games 1 and 2 in Anaheim by a combined 9-1 margin. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom have the call of Game 5.
A costly mistake by Curtis Glencross led to Ryan McDonagh’s overtime winner in Game 5 sending the series back to Washington for Game 6 on Sunday night.
Glencross’ cross-ice pass in the neutral zone was picked off by Jesper Fast leading to the game-winner.
“It’s disappointing, obviously,” Glencross said per CSN Washington. “They picked off a hard pass across the ice out of the air and came back and unfortunately they put it in the back of the net.”
Glencross scored his first career playoff goal in the third period to open the scoring. The goal snapped a 19-game drought. The euphoria was short lived however.
McDonagh took a drop pass from Derek Stepan at 9:37 of the extra period and beat a screened Braden Holtby for his second of the playoffs.
“(Brooks Laich) was all alone wide,” Glencross said of his pass attempt. “If I make a pass like that he’s gone in [alone] pretty much.”
Glencross expects his team to take better advantage of opportunities on Sunday at the Verizon Center.
“That’s hockey,” Glencross said. “We didn’t seal it up and when it goes to overtime it’s a game of mistakes and they got one. We’ll be good next game and we want to finish it off in six. We’ll have short-term memory, come back on Sunday and take the series.”
The New York Rangers were less than two minutes away from their season ending. They couldn’t seem to find a way to score on Braden Holtby.
Then Chris Kreider buried a snap shot with 1:41 remaining in regulation to force overtime, and Ryan McDonagh won it at 9:37 of the extra period, as the Rangers came back to earn a 2-1 victory in Game 5 against the Washington Capitals.
That is now the fifth time in these playoffs the Rangers have won by a score of 2-1. Every game they’ve played in this post-season — and they’re now up to 10 — has been decided by a single goal.
Game 6 goes Sunday in Washington.
For the longest time, it seemed the Rangers, despite holding the edge in shots, couldn’t solve Holtby, who was solid from the beginning, as illustrated with this quick left-pad save on Martin St. Louis early in the opening period when the Capitals were really under pressure.
Holtby made 41 saves in the loss.
Things looked even more dire for the Rangers when Curtis Glencross scored on a breakaway to give the visitors a 1-0 lead with less than 10 minutes left in the third period.
There was a controversial moment in the second period, as the Capitals appeared to score, only to have the goal waved off. There was traffic in front of Henrik Lundqvist, who ended up getting tangled with Joel Ward and Derek Stepan before the puck trickled in behind him.
From CSN Washington’s Chuck Gormley, citing an explanation from the NHL:
“The goaltender wasn’t allowed to play his position in the crease. Incidental contact.”