- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
No. 1 Star: Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
Stopped 28 of 29 Rangers shots on goal in Washington’s 2-1 victory. The win for the Caps gives them a commanding 3-1 series lead over New York. Holtby has been Washington’s best player, allowing five goals in four games against New York. One of his saves Wednesday was a penalty shot. During that stretch he has a .960 save percentage.
No. 2 Star, Tyler Johnson, Tampa Bay Lightning
The young forward delivered his eighth goal of the playoffs, with 1.1 seconds left in the third period to give Tampa a 2-1 win and a 3-0 series lead over Montreal. He now has 11 points in 10 playoff games for Tampa this year.
No. 3. Star: Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals
The 20-year-old forward scored both of the Caps’ goals to help give Holtby enough support for the win. They were Burakovky’s first two goals of his playoff career. He has three points in four games against the Rangers this series.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy1 hr ago
Braden Holtby was up to his dominant tricks against the New York Rangers in Game 4 on Wednesday.
A third period potentially game-tying penalty shot on Carl Hagelin?
No worries! Save. Various other high quality chances? A stop here, a stop there.
“You’re going in there thinking you’re going to score, and that was my thought process. I wanted to fake shot and then bring it to my backhand and he [Holtby] was in the split there, and he made a good save,” Hagelin said.
The Washington netminder stuffed 28 of 29 Rangers shots on goal to give the Caps a 2-1 victory and a 3-1 series lead. He has allowed just five goals against the Rangers. Andre Burakovsky scored two goals for Washington – his first two scores of his playoff career – to help the Caps against the Presidents’ Trophy winning Rangers.
“Well, there is no doubt that he has been good," New York coach Alain Vigneault said. "He has made some big saves and their players, obviously in front of him, have done a good job of blocking shots and blocking lanes. So, it has made it real challenging for us right now.”
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy2 hrs ago
There are few types of losses that are more back breaking and soul crushing than a last second defeat in the playoffs. Especially for the Montreal Canadiens, who seemed ready to go to overtime in Game 3, and now face an 0-3 deficit thanks to Tampa forward Tyler Johnson.
Look at Johnson’s goal, which just barely beat the buzzer with 1.1 seconds left and put the game at 2-1.
That. Is. Something.
“I didn’t even know it was that close to the buzzer,’’ Johnson said via the Tampa Tribune. “I was a little upset when they were reviewing the goal because I didn’t know it was that close, I didn’t know they had to do that. But it was a giant weight off the shoulders. It’s a fun time to go to overtime, but no one really wants to do it.’’
The Canadiens were down 1-0 until midway through the third period when Brendan Gallagher evened the score.
- Josh Cooper at Puck Daddy5 hrs ago
Bob Hartley of the Calgary Flames, Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators and Alain Vigneault of the New York Rangers are the finalists for the 2014-15 Jack Adams Award, given to the head coach who "contributed the most to his team's success," as voted by the NHL Broadcasters' Association, the National Hockey League announced Wednesday.
Before we talk about the awesomeness of the finalists, let’s go over those who got snubbed.
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy8 hrs ago
So is Game 4 of the New York Rangers’ series against the Washington Capitals a must-win for the Blueshirts?
“I look at it like every game in the playoffs is a must-win,” center Derick Brassard said.
Well that’s boring.
“You could say that our backs are against the wall here," he said, "but we’ve responded whenever we’ve been in that position, so I think it’s just staying in a good frame of mind and going on the ice and trusting our abilities and our team.”
OK, so the Rangers will never say Wednesday night’s game is a must-win; and frankly, with two more games at MSG and an undeniable propensity for these teams to play seven-game series, it’s logically not a must-win either.
But doesn’t it feel that way? Despite how tight these games have been, how slim the margins of victory are, doesn’t it feel like the Rangers need to get to Braden Holtby, flash some offense from their top line players and turn this thing into a best-of-three rather than a lose-and-go-home?
Their coach would sure like to see something from the top line.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy9 hrs ago
The Tampa Bay Lightning know exactly how the Montreal Canadiens feel right now.
A year ago, the Lightning dropped the opening two games at home in their first-round series against the Canadiens. They headed to Montreal ‘not dead to rights yet,’ as defenseman Matt Carle put it then, and despite losing goaltender Ben Bishop, felt they could turn things around.
They didn’t, and Montreal won a pair of one-goal games to complete the sweep.
Ahead of Game 3 Wednesday night at Amalie Arena in Tampa, the Lightning know what kind of Canadiens team they will see. They will likely have to weather a first period storm from a Montreal side desperate not to be facing elimination Thursday night.
Meanwhile, the Lightning know how they need to start. Just look at Game 3 a year ago when Rene Bourque gave the Canadiens a 1-0 lead 11 seconds into the first period.
Experience could be beneficial for the Lightning in Wednesday’s Game 3.
- Sean Leahy at Puck Daddy10 hrs ago
Here are your Puck Headlines: A glorious collection of news and views collected from the greatest blogosphere in sports and the few, the proud, the mainstream hockey media. Have a link you want to submit? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• We already miss Bon Jovi Ron Duguay after he received a makeover Wednesday morning. [MyFoxNY]
• Ilya Kovalchuk on a possible return to the NHL: “I have two more years on my contract. Then, we’ll see.” Scandalous! [ESPN.com]
• Ted Leonsis has promised to shave his head if both his Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards make the finals in their respective leagues. [Washington Post]
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy11 hrs ago
It's a Wednesday edition of Marek vs. Wyshynski beginning at 2:00 p.m. ET/11:00 a.m. PT, and we're talking about the following and more:
Special Guest Stars: Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun on the Calgary Flames; Mark Lazerus of the Sun Times on the Chicago Blackhawks.
• The no-goal in Ducks vs. Flames.
• DeflateGate and cheating.
• Hockey News and Views
Question of the Day: What's your favorite kind of cheating in hockey? Email email@example.com or hit us on Twitter with the hashtag #MvsW to @wyshynski or @jeffmarek. Click here for the Sportsnet live stream or click the play button above!
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy12 hrs ago
We begin with the caveat that needs to be given whenever we discuss a standout offensive player struggling in the postseason: The Minnesota Wild’s probable sweep at the hands of the Chicago Blackhawks is not Thomas Vanek’s fault.
That established … woof.
Vanek signed a three-year deal worth $6.5 million per season with the Wild last summer. It was a redundant acquisition – the Wild didn’t necessarily need Vanek, whose best case for joining the team appeared to be an obvious connection to his college playing days – but added a dynamic offensive weapon to their roster. Well, when he’s on.
In the playoffs, he’s been off. Way off.
Vanek doesn’t have a goal his postseason for the Wild in nine games and is a minus-7. Going back to his ill-fitting campaign with the Montreal Canadiens last season, and Vanek has gone 15 playoff games without a goal. He has six assists in that span.
Here's Vanek after the St. Louis Blues series, via TwinCities.com:
- Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy13 hrs ago
Ever since it was teased in the since-settled Todd Bertuzzi lawsuit, I’ve had a hankering to see NHL commissioner Gary Bettman under oath and answering questions about the League’s culture of violence.
Not only because I think there’s a better chance of cracking Captain America’s shield than there is Gary Bettman in a lawsuit deposition, but because I’d like to hear him speak with as much candor as he can be compelled the muster about things like fighting and concussions.
Rick Westhead of TSN reported on Monday that the judge in the concussion lawsuit brought by former NHL players has ordered Bettman to testify in the lawsuit.
Westhead also published a few of the specific points on which Bettman will be questioned, and one can already see how this will play out.
In the case of the NHL People vs. Gary Bettman …