PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Connor McDavid did his part to help the Erie Otters win Game 1 of their series with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds on Thursday night. The top prospect scored three straight power play goals in a 3:22 span to tie the game at 3-3 in the third. However, the Greyhounds responded with three straight to take Game 1 6-3.
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A Montreal Canadiens fan has created a goal celebration light show in his living room programmed to play each time the Habs score a goal. (Puck Daddy)
The Washington Capitals took a 3-2 series lead in their best-of-seven with the New York Islanders with a 5-1 win on Thursday night. Perhaps the Islanders weren’t in the right frame of mind to start the game? The team was delayed getting to the Verizon Center because of traffic caused by President Obama’s motorcade. (CSN)
Here’s a look inside the Caps room following the win:
Actress/model Kate Upton is currently in Vancouver to shoot the movie “The Layover” directed by William H. Macy. The pair were at Rogers Arena taking in Game 5 between the Flames and Canucks on Thursday night.
The benefit of being a Cinderella Story is that you get very familiar playing in must-win games. Ottawa needed to go on an incredible 21-3-3 just to make the playoffs. Compared to that a four-game winning streak doesn’t sound so daunting. The Seantors were down 3-0 in the first round going into tonight’s contest, but they stayed alive for at least one more game by earning a 1-0 victory over Montreal tonight.
As has been the case so often for Ottawa in recent months, goaltending was the story. Craig Anderson, who had lost the starting gig to Andrew Hammond by the end of the season, got the nod for the second straight game and turned aside 28 shots to earn his third career playoff shutout.
His efforts proved critical as netminder Carey Price and the Canadiens were very effective at shutting down the Senators. Two of Ottawa’s top forwards, Kyle Turris and Bobby Ryan, were once again held off the scoresheet in this first round series. Not that they were alone in that tonight as 25-year-old rookie Mike Hoffman accounted for the game’s only goal:
Of course a team winning Game 4 after falling behind 3-0 isn’t unheard of, but actually pulling off a reverse sweep is a very rare feat. Ottawa will have another must-win game on Friday.
Goaltender Corey Crawford has led the Blackhawks to a Stanley Cup championship, but when Chicago attempts to eliminate Nashville on Thursday, he won’t be playing between the pipes. Rookie Scott Darling has been a big part of the first round series and will get another start in Game 5.
It’s an impressive, yet oddly common story this season. If you look at the GAA leaders so far in the 2015 postseason, you won’t see Carey Price or Henrik Lundqvist listed in the top-three. Instead it’s Darling, Devan Dubnyk, and Jake Allen. Three netminders who weren’t in starting roles when the campaign began. Then there’s Petr Mrazek, who shutout the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday to give Detroit a 2-1 series lead.
“It might be the year of the backup goalie this year,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “Somebody you’ve never heard of may get an opportunity and all of a sudden is a key guy. We all know the importance of the goalie and how the guy who is playing well is getting that net. Sometimes it’s competitive with internal competition but at the same time the rapport is excellent [with the normal starter] and it’s a healthy situation to be in.”
The question is if this trend will continue. Dubnyk really can’t be regarded as a backup anymore and that’s been true since Minnesota acquired him, but if Darling, Allen, or Mrazek falter, then their respective teams might not wait long to replace them.
We’ve already seen Ottawa’s Andrew Hammond be relegated to warming the bench despite his tremendous regular season run and Vancouver’s Eddie Lack was yanked early in Tuesday’s contest. Even still, at this point it’s entirely possible that the goaltender who leads his team to a Stanley Cup championship will be one that didn’t hold the starting job at the beginning of the season.
A quick look at what games will be on what channels in tonight’s Stanley Cup playoff action…
Canadiens at Senators, 7:00 p.m. ET on USA
In the 35 times the Montreal Canadiens have taken a 3-0 series lead, they’ve never lost. Meanwhile the Ottawa Senators are looking to become just the fifth team to battle back from down three games to win a series. The L.A. Kings did it last spring against the San Jose Sharks on the way to winning the franchise’s second Stanley Cup. John Forslund and Andy Brickley have the call of Game 4.
Rangers at Penguins, 7:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Pittsburgh Penguins will look to even their series at two and avoid heading back to New York down 3-1. In order to tie the series the Penguins will need to have a better start. New York has out-scored Pittsburgh 9-1 in first periods dating back to Game 5 of last year’s series. Doc Emrick and Pierre McGuire will have the call.
Blues at Wild, 9:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN
The Minnesota Wild have won three of the eight playoff series they’ve played, but they’ve never held a 3-1 series lead. The Wild will look to put the Blues on the brink of elimination in Game 4 at Minnesota’s Xcel Energy Center. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom will be on the call.
Ducks at Jets, 9:30 p.m. ET on USA
Like the Sens, the Winnipeg Jets will try to avoid a sweep tonight. The Jets have blown third period leads in each of the first three games of the series and find themselves behind 3-0 to the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim has out-scored Winnipeg 7-0 in third periods in the series. The Jets will look for their first playoff win in franchise history in Game 4 while the Ducks are seeking their first playoff sweep in nine years. Chris Cuthbert and Bret Hedican are on the call.
Beaulieu, 22, was hurt on this hit from Sens captain Erik Karlsson in Game 3:
Beaulieu remained in the contest but didn’t play in the third period or overtime.
The loss will sting Montreal a bit — Beaulieu played 15:34 and 12:47 in the first two games of the series — but the club is well equipped to deal with losing a defenseman. Sergei Gonchar, Greg Pateryn and Mike Weaver all sat out Game 3, and it looks as though Pateryn will draw in for tomorrow’s potential close-out contest.