Thursday, May 25, 2017

Seventh Heaven for Kunitz, Penguins in Double OT



The Pittsburgh Penguins are going to the Stanley Cup final for the second consecutive year.

Chris Kunitz sent a fluttering one-timer past screened Senators netminder Craig Anderson at 5:09 if the second overtime to give the Penguins a 3-2 victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators.

The Penguins did it the hard way against an extremely resilient Senators team that twice battled back from one-goal deficits to force the extra sessions. After Kunitz gave Pittsburgh the lead at 9:55 of the second, Mark Stone answered 20 seconds later with his fifth goal of the playoffs and first of the series. Justin Schultz put the Penguins up 2-1 with a power play marker in at 11:44 of the third but less than three minutes later it was Ryan Dzingel who corraled a loose puck after Erik Karlsson's shot from the point rung the iron to level the Sens at 2-all.

Karlsson, who led all skaters with 39:33 of ice time, had two assists and finished his playoff season with two goals, 18 points and a plus-13.

The overtime was frantic, and Phil Kessel had a few golden opportunities to win it in the first extra session, but on one opportunity he missed the net from a point-blank shooting position and on the other he had a deflected rebound glance off his glove and just over the net.

Pittsburgh outshot the Senators 42 to 29, and 9 to 4 from the beginning of overtime.

Sidney Crosby, who finished the game with one shot on goal in 26:49, made the key play on Kunitz overtime winner. He corraled a puck below the Senators goal line before spinning away from Chris Wideman and setting up Kunitz with a tape-to-tape pass. Kunitz didn't get a clean shot off, but his fluttering one-timer had eyes and sailed right over the right shoulder of Anderson.

"Anderson was unbelievable," Crosby said after the game. "He was unbelievable the last few games, but especially tonight."

Ottawa dropped to 0-6 as a franchise in Game 7s with the loss. The Penguins improved to 10-7 in Game 7s and 4-7 at home.

The Penguins will be home at PPG Paints Arena on Monday night when they host the Nashville Predators in Game 1 of the Final.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Toronto Grants Avalanche Permission to Speak to Kyle Dubas



The Toronto Maple Leafs gave the Colorado Avalanche permission to speak to Leafs' Assistant General Manager Kyle Dubas, says Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman. But nobody is quite sure of the specifics. Joe Sakic is still the Avalanche's GM, and Dubas is thought by many to be next in line for the General Manager job in Toronto when Lou Lamoriello steps down. The 31-year-old is also currently the General Manager of the Toronto Marlies.

Dubas' name came up in rumors last year, when his services were reportedly being sought by the Coyotes, and some thought he might be in the running for the Sabres General Manager job, which was recently awarded to former Penguins Assistant GM Jason Botteril.

Could this be a plan hatched by the Leafs to have Dubas go to Colorado, trade them Nathan MacKinnon for a bag of pucks, then return to Toronto in a few year's time?

Watch: Crosby Gets a Friendly Spear and a Squirt



After six games of intense playoff hockey, it's pretty clear that the Senators and Penguins are going to save the mutual respect for the post-Game 7 handshake. Here Marc Methot, who nearly had his finger whacked off by Sidney Crosby earlier in the season, pays his respects to Sid the kid with a few lovetap spears, while Mike Hoffman goes for the old squirt-water-up-the-glove trick from the bench.

Totally juvenile. Slightly annoying and disrespectful, but overall far lass egregious than an illegal check to the head.

And onward to Game 7 we go.

Sharks Sign Simek, Sanderson



The San Jose Sharks have turned to Europe to make a few depth signings.

The Club announced that Czech defenseman Radim Simek has signed a one-year deal, while Swedish forward Filip Sandberg signed a two-year deal.

Simek, 24, recorded 11 goals and 13 assists in 42 games during the 2016-17 season with Bili Tygri Liberec of the Czech League. He recorded two points in eight points for the Czech Republic at this year's IIHF World Championships.

Sandberg, 22, recorded 25 points (8 goals, 17 assists) and a plus-17 rating in 52 games with HV71 of the Swedish Hockey League in 2016-17.

Here are the terms, per Kevin Kurz, Sharks insider:

Monday, May 22, 2017

Brutal Hit on Viktor Arvidsson Gets Nick Ritchie Tossed from Game 6



Things went from bad to very bad in the first period of Game 6 of the Western Conference Final for the Anaheim Ducks. Already down 2-0 after goals by Austin Watson and Colton Sissons, Nick Ritchie took a five-minute major and was given a game misconduct for this nasty hit on Viktor Arvidsson.

The Predators did not score in the ensuing power play.

Jonathan Bernier, making his first career playoff start in relief of injured John Gibson, has stopped just two of four shots. Pekka Rinne was perfect in the first, stopping all 12 shots he faced. The Finn has been incredible at home in these playoffs.

In other news, Arvidsson was bloodied after the hit, in the shape of an "R." Not really sure why it's news, but it seems to be.

So there you have it.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sweden Wins Worlds and Lundqvist Gets Mauled in Dangerous Celebration



Sweden defeated Canada to win the IIHF World Hockey Championships on Sunday, and Henrik Lundqvist nearly died.

Check out the celebration tackle by William Nylander after the victory was clinched in a shootout by the King.

Here's the save and the tackle:

And here's another angle, which is a lot scarier. William Nylander, you young whippersnapper, take it easy on the King.

In the first Gold Medal game that went to a shootout since 1994, Lundqvist stopped all four shots he faced while Nicklas Backstrom and Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored for Sweden. It was Sweden's first victory over Canada in an IIHF World Championship final in four tries.

Both goalies--Lundqvist and Cal Pickard--were named Best Player of the game for their respective teams.

Nylander was named tournament MVP. He was not penalized for nearly killing his goalie. All's well that ends well.

Watch: Wingles Throws Elbow to Head of Scott Wilson



So, what should you do when your team trails by a touchdown late in the third period of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final?

How about try to take Scott Wilson's head off?

That's what Ottawa's Tommy Wingels went with--and he nearly succeeded.

Will the NHL's Department of Player Safety make its presence felt? Stay tuned...

Karlsson Says He'll Be Fine for Game 6



A scary moment occurred for the Ottawa Senators in Game 5 when all-world defenseman Erik Karlsson twisted his ankle after a skate-to-skate collision with Pittsburgh's Scott Wilson in the second period. The Swede would leave the ice and not return for the remainder of the game, and no, it wasn't because he wanted to watch his fellow Swedes with the IIHF World Hockey Championship over Canada in Cologne, Germany.

Karlsson, who has been playing the postseason with two hairlines fractures in his left foot, told media he'd be fine for Game 6.



He'll need to be. The Senators aren't the same team without Karlsson, and they have zero momentum after suffering a humiliating 7-0 defeat to the Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Sunday.

Only one of those goals came with Karlsson on the ice.

Pittsburgh went 3-for-3 on the power play and outshot the Senators 36-25.

Game 6 is Tuesday night in Ottawa.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Rakell to Miss Game 5 with Lower Body Injury



It just keeps getting worse for both teams in the NHL's Western Conference Final.

Anahiem announced that winger Rickard Rakell will miss Game 5 with a lower body. He joins Ryan Johansen and Mike Fisher and marquee names that started Game 4 but will not play Game 5.

Rakell was tied for second on the Ducks with 13 points, and he leads the team in plus-minus (+13) and is tied for the team lead in power play points with four.

From the looks of things, Nicolas Kerdiles will draw in at forward for the Ducks, and the top line will be comprised of Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Ritchie and Corey Perry.

Giant Hit: Stralman Rattles Rantanen with Open-Ice Beauty



I don't know if you guys have heard, but Sweden and Finland don't like each other very much.

Further proof of that theory is this hit by Anton Stralman, who absolutely tattoos Mikko Rantanen as the Finn attempts to enter the offensive zone during Sweden's 4-2 win over Finland. Rantanen was okay after the play.

Sweden will face Canada in tomorrow's IIHF World Hockey Championship Final in Cologne, Germany

Getzlaf Fined $10K for "Inappropriate Remark"



Ryan Getzlaf received a $10k fine for an inappropriate remark that the Ducks' center directed at an on-ice official during the Ducks 3-2 Game 4 win over the Predators in Nashville on Thursday night.

Reportedly, he called a ref a "Fu**ing **cksucker."

Here's the NHL's full statement about the incident. No suspension is forthcoming.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Ryan Johansen out for Rest of Playoffs after Emergency Thigh Surgery



The Predators will be without their leading scorer and possession driver for the rest of the playoffs. The club announced on Thursday that Ryan Johansen injured his thigh and had to undergo emergency surgery after the Predators 3-2 overtime loss to the Ducks in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

Here is the club's statement:


Apparently Johansen was initially injured late in the second period of Game 4, per this tweet:

Johansen would take 14 more shifts and finish the game with 27:28 of ice time.

The 24-year-old leads the Predators with 13 points in 14 games and is the leading scorer in these playoffs at 5-on-5 on a points per 60 minute basis.

The Predators also could be without center Mike Fisher for Game 5. The captain took a head shot when Josh Manson left his feet to lunge for a puck during a goalmouth scramble in the third period. He did not return to the game and will be reevaluated by Predators medical staff.

At this point it's not really clear who will draw in for the Predators at pivot if Fisher can't go. Vernon Fiddler has been the club's fifth center in these playoffs and he has played five games and scored one goal. But the Predators will have to go lower in the depth chart for their next option.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Statisfaction: Ducks Win, Perry Ties NHL Record for OT Goals in Single Season



Welcome to Statisfaction, your daily dose of NHL-related numbers and factoids. Tonight we'll discuss Corey Perry's OT heroics, Cam Fowler's all-around awesomeness and the Ducks improved penalty kill. Stats via Natural Stat Trick, Corsica Hockey and NHL.com

1. Perry Ties for Most OT Goals in Single Playoff Season

Corey Perry's unassisted overtime winner at 10:25 of the first extra session gave the Anaheim Ducks a split in Nashville and leveled the Western Conference Final at two games apiece. It was a huge goal for the Ducks, and it was a milestone tally for Perry. The goal ties the 32-year-old with Mel Hill (1939) and Maurice Richard (1951) for most overtime goals in a playoff year.

In the history of the NHL playoffs, only four players have scored more overtime winners than the Ontario native, who now has four. Joe Sakic (8), Maurice Richard (6) Glen Anderson (5) and Patrick Kane (5) are the four.

Perry needed a little puck luck to get it done tonight. His shot from the board caromed off the stick of P.K. Subban and up over Pekka Rinne.

2. Nashville's home playoff winning streak ends at ten


The Predators became the first NHL team to win 10 consecutive home playoff games at home in 19 years with their Game 3 win over the Ducks, and the 15th to achieve the feat in history. The last two teams to do the trick (1997-98 Avalanche and 1996-97 Red Wings) each won the Cup.

3. Cam Fowler on Fire

Cam Fowler was a big reason the Ducks had a dominant first period on Thursday. He was flying all over the ice and a big reason that the Ducks were able to tilt the ice in their favor in the first period. Fowler, who leads all Ducks defensemen with eight points, did not stop there. He paired with Josh Manson and the two managed a plus-10 5-on-5 Corsi and a plus-1 overall. Manson led all Ducks with a 63.04 CF% (29CF, 17CA) and he was on for 10 scoring chances for and 6 against. Fowler has been primarily paired with Sami Vatanen in the playoffs, but the insertion of Kevin Bieksa into the lineup forced some changes on the Ducks blue line. Bieksa skated with Vatanen and they struggled badly in possession. With the Bieksa / Vatanen pairing on the ice at even strength, the Ducks managed 11 shot attempts for and 22 against.

4. Ducks Penalty kill improving as playoffs progress

The Ducks allowed 6 power play goals from 16 times shorthanded against the Flames, then allowed seven power play goals from 26 times shorthanded against the Oilers, but they have tightened things up significantly against the Predators. Thus far they have only allowed 1 power play goal from 19 times shorthanded, good for a 94.1 percent kill rate.

The killed off all five Predator power plays in Game 4, includin a 5-on-3 for 1:31 late in the third.

5. Johansen leads the playoffs in points per 60 minutes at even strength.

Ryan Johansen's line continues to get the best of the battle of the Ryans in this series, and his numbers show that he has been one of the best players at even strength all playoffs long. In fact, Johansen leaads the NHL in points per 60 in these playoffs at 5-on-5. Pity that he could not help the Predators score in his 6:28 of power play ice time tonight. Johansen got just one shot on goal in 27:28 of ice time in Game 4, but he was a plus-1.

Czech Defenseman Jan Rutta Looking at NHL Offers



It looks like Czech defenseman Jan Rutta is coming to the NHL.

According to his agent, Allan Walsh, Rutta will make a decision on NHL offers soon:


TSN Insider Darren Dreger reports that the 26-year-old Czech is garnering big interest from the Edmonton Oilers and perhaps the Calgary Flames.



The 6'0" 210-lb defenseman scored 32 points in 46 games for Chomutov Pirati of the Czech League last season.


Rutta just finished up playing for the Czechs in the IIHF World Hockey Championships, and was named the Czech player of the game in the Czech Republic's quarterfinal loss to Russia on Thursday.

Isles Hire Luke Richardson as Assistant Coach



The New York Islanders have added former NHL defenseman Luke Richardson as Assistant Coach. Richardson, who played 1,417 NHL games for six different NHL teams, retired in 2009. He worked as an assistant in Ottawa before becoming the head coach at AHL Binghamton in 2012.

Richardson coached at Binghamton until the end of last season but left his post in pursuit of NHL coaching jobs. He coached Canada to a victory at the Spengler Cup in 2016.

“I applied for a few jobs, didn’t get them and had to reset a little bit,” said Richardson. “And when I talked to Doug about this job, he was so excited coming off the success he had when he took over. It didn’t take a lot of convincing.” Spengler and Islanders head coach Doug Weight were teammates at Edmonton.

According to Arthur Staple of Newsday, the Islanders are expected to hire more coaching help this summer. Kelly Buchberger, another former teammate of Weight, and Scott Gomez, are the names at the top of the list.

In other news, the Islanders confirmed that Bob Corkum would not be back as assistant coach.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Statisfaction: Sens Crush Pens in Game 3



Welcome to Statisfaction, your daily dose of NHL-related numbers and factoids. Today we'll look at Ottawa's Game 3 rout of the Penguins, covering face-offs, Erik Karlsson, Sidney Crosby and a few other topics. Tonight's stats via Natural Stat Trick, Corsica Hockey and NHL.com

1. Malkin lost 10 of 11 face-offs in Game 3

Not good, Geno. In total the Penguins won just 20 of 57 draws on Wednesday. There's been a lot of talk from the analytics community about the gap between perceived and real importance of face-offs these days, but I mean, you lose that many you are asking for trouble. Particularly during the playoffs for a team like Pittsburgh which probably suffered in terms of getting matchups and bench flow with all those lost draws.

Crosby won 9 of 23 for the Pens, and the only Pittsburgh player to win half was Matt Cullen, who won five of ten.

Derick Brassard was 14 for 16 and Jean-Gabriel Pageau was 12 for 17 for the victorious Senators.

2. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped five of nine shots

Rough night for the Pens' netminder, who entered the game with a .931 save percentage and saw it drop to .924. Not all that bad, considering how horrible tonight's first period was for Fleury, though it really wasn't any fault of his. And it may cost him his starting job. Not surprisingly, everybody and their mother is calling for Matt Murray to get the start in Game 4. The 22-year-old stopped 19 of 20 shots and yes, he did guide the Pens to the Stanley Cup last season, but is one bad partial period enough for Mike Sullivan to sit Fleury down? What happens if you lose Game 4 with Murray in the net? Right back to Fleury?

No matter what happens, the fact that we're talking about a change (this is one of 7,000 articles that have popped up since the game ended) is absolutely crazy. Fleury has been an absolute god b the pipes for the Pens in the playoffs. It's crazy that 13 minutes of defensive lapses and bad bounces might send him to the bench.

3. Sidney Crosby Was a Minus-3 at Even Strength

Now there's something you don't see every day. Sid was on the ice for the second, fourth and fifth Ottawa goals. Crosby did chip in a power play goal in the third to make it 5-1. Since returning from his concussion in Game 5 of the Capitals series, Crosby has not been a little off his usual god-mode form. He is a minus-4 with four points. He was held pointless with four shots on goal in the first two games of the series.

4. Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot doing what they do

Erik Karlsson and Marc Methot were on the ice for Ottawa's last four goals. Karlsson has been on ice for 20 goals for and 8 against at even strength since the playoffs started. To bring that number more into perspective, Ottawa has scored 10 and given up 19 at even strength when Karlsson isn't on the ice. The Swede was averaging 28:55 of total ice time per game, but Guy Boucher was able to get him some rest on Wednesday. He skated 28 shifts and finished with 22:28 of total ice time. Karlsson has 14 points in 15 games in the playoffs, tops among all defenseman in the playoffs.

5. Craig Anderson has a .964 Save Percentage in the Conference Final

Craig Anderson has quietly been the Senators best player in the first three games of this series. Yes, the Sens have done a fantastic job of shutting down Pittsburgh's banged-up lineup with their swarming nuetral zone 1-3-1 cauldron, but Anderson has been there whenever Pittsburgh has found its way past the D. He has stopped 80 of 83 shots and has a 0.98 GAA.

Watch: German Commentators Go Nuts as Team Beats Latvia in Shootout



So much for remaining neutral.

Check out these two crazed lunatics, who were on the call for Germany's 4-3 IIHF World Hockey Championships victory over Latvia on Tuesday in Cologne. The Germans blew a 2-0 lead to the upstart Latvians and leveled with a power play goal with :33 seconds left to force overtime.

Then they went to a shootout, and well, you don't need to understand German to tell who won. Here's what it looked like on the ice:

Germany advances to face Canada in Thursday's quarterfinals. Here's the full lineup:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Oilers' Sekera out 6-9 Months with ACL Tear



The Oilers will be without a key defenseman to start the 2017-18 season. GM Peter Chiarelli informed media today that Andrej Sekera had suffered a torn ACL during his collision with Ryan Getzlaf in Game 5 of the Oilers series with the Anaheim Ducks. He will be out for six to nine months.

Sekera, who finished with a goal and two assists in 11 playoff games, finished the regular season with 35 points and a career-best plus-14 in 80 games for Edmonton. He was primarily paired with Kris Russell and is expected to be a big part of the Oilers defense again next season.

Chiarelli said he was scheduled to have surgery on Thursday and given the timetable, Sekera could return to the lineup in anywhere from November to next February.

That will open up a temporary spot on the Oilers blue line. Could it be Griffin Reinhart that gets a shot? The former first-round pick in the 2012 draft (4th overall, New York Islanders) did not play a single regular season game for the Oilers but was called for duty during the playoffs, making an appearance against the Ducks on May 7. Reinhart had 21 points in 54 games for AHL Bakersfield this season.

Predators Win on Late Josi Goal, Take 2-1 Series Lead over Ducks



The Nashville Predators took a 2-1 series lead over the Anaheim Ducks in their best-of-7 Western Conference final on Tuesday night at Bridgestone Arena with a hard-fought 2-1 victory. Roman Josi drove home a power play goal at 17:17 of the third period to cap a third-period comeback that saw Nashville battle back from a goal down and continue to push for the game-winner despite having two goals disallowed due to goaltender interference.

The Predators have now won 10 consecutive home playoff games since they lost Games 3 and 4 of their first-round series with the Ducks last season. Nashville improved to 2-1 in these playoffs when trailing after two while the Ducks dropped to 5-1 when leading heading into the third.

Nashville outshot the Ducks 40 to 20 and did not allow a shot on goal in the final 11 minutes and 23 seconds of the game. According to Natural Stat Trick, the Predators finished with 28 scoring chances to 11 for the Ducks.

Anaheim opened the scoring on a power play goal from Corey Perry, his first of the series and third of the playoffs, at 15:35 of the second. The veteran sent a wrister from the goal line that somehow got past Rinne, who had trouble getting his positioning against the post on the play.

Nashville leveled at 3:54 of the third on Filip Forsberg's 6th goal of the playoffs. Forsberg won a loose puck from Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen, dished it out front to Ryan Ellis for a chance and then banged home the rebound as Anaheim goalie John Gibson was falling beneath the weight of Viktor Arvidsson, who was sent into the goalie on a check from behind by Vatanen.

"We never stopped believing," said Filip Forsberg after the game. "We were taking over after that goal."

The Predators kept coming late and finally broke through after Chris Wagner was sent to the box for high-sticking at 16:05. Mattias Ekholm's point shot was stopped by Gibson but the rebound caromed off of Arvidsson right to Josi who deposited into the open net for the eventual game winner.

With the roof virtually coming off the Bridgestone Arena, the Ducks could not manage a single shot on goal down the stretch, even with Gibson pulled for an extra skater for the final minute and 22 seconds.

Game 4 is Thursday night in Nashville.

Watch: Predators Have Two Goals Disallowed Nine Seconds Apart



Ducks goalie John Gibson has been spending a lot of time on the ice tonight. On his arse, to be more specific. But it has been productive time because it seems like each time Nashville crashes the crease and puts Gibson on the seat of his pants, Nashville and its fans suffer a heart-crushing, momentum-slaying wash-out.

Twice in the third period, in a nine-second span, the Predators had goals waved off. That didn't please the fans at Bridgestone Arena, who threw some debris on the ice after the second wash-out. Not the classiest of moves, but can you blame them? When you live with your team you die with it.

If you're scoring at home, both calls appeared to be correct. Neither player was pushed into Gibson, and both took him out of the play before the goal was scored (full video of both above). In today's NHL, goaltender interference is frowned upon, and we think that's a good thing.


Jared Boll Laughs it up as Anaheim Scores First Goal of Game 3


Jared Boll has been enjoying some ice time for the Ducks during their Western Conference Final with the Nashville Predators--and he's also enjoying his off-ice time. The checking forward put a big hit on Harry Zolnierczyk late in the second period (full video below) and was immediately asked to fight by surly enforcer Cody McLeod. Boll Obliged, McLeod got the instigator penalty and the rest is history.

Just hilarious, if you're Boll.

But pretty unecessary if you're McLeod. The playoffs are not the time to take an instigator penalty and McLeod learned that the hard way tonight. Corey Perry's goal from an impossible angle has given the Ducks a 1-0 lead, and they'll have the momentum heading into the third.

McLeod would have had many chances to seek retribution without taking an instigator, and that's on him.

Here's the play in its entirety, and the fight (which was a decent one).



And here's the goal:

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ryan Johansen rips into Ryan Kesler after Game 2 Loss



After just two games of dealing with Anaheim Ducks' shutdown center and No.1 pest Ryan Kesler, Ryan Johansen is fed up.

The 24-year-old had some choice words for Kesler after the Ducks defeated the Predators 5-3 in Game 2 of the Western Conference Final to level the series at a game apiece.

"I don't know how you can cheer for a guy like that," Johansen said, adding: "I'm just going out there to try and play hockey and it sucks when you have to pull a stick out of your groin every shift."



Johansen has thrived despite the pestilence from Kesler. He has a goal and three assists to lead all Predators in scoring in the first two games of the series. And he even got his digs in early in Game 2 when he got his stick into the face of Kesler after a face-off, which sent Kesler to the ice for a spell.

But Kesler, as is typically the case, got plenty of shots in as well. Like this:



Game three should be a real doozy between these two clubs, but since Nashville will be home and therefore have the last change prior to each face-off, they might be able to get Johansen some time away from Kesler.

Sounds like he could use it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Saucer Pass Hockey Podcast, Episode 6



Today we celebrate 7th heaven in these NHL Playoffs, talking about tonight's matchups.

One thing we did not mention in the podcast is the Penguins record on the road in Game 7s, which is 5-0.

Here are some other topics discussed in today's podcast:

1. Some Game 7 NHL History
2. Clever roster decisions by Barry Trotz and Todd McLellan gives their teams an edge
3. Should Sid the Kid even be playing?
4. A look at the goalie matchups
5. A funny quote from Randy Carlyle
6. Predictions
7. See you next time!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Could this be the beginning of a storybook Cup run for the Caps?



Are the Washington Capitals about to shed their playoff loser label once and for all?

It sure feels like it after the Capitals banged their way past a slow-footed Penguins team in Game 6 on Monday night at PPG Paints Arena to force Game 7. Washington has all the momentum in the series and they will look to capitalize on it by completing an improbable comeback in the deciding game of this series on Wednesday night at the Verizon Center. If they do it they'll become the 29th team in NHL history to battle back from 3-1 down to win a series.

They'll also be the first team with Alexander Ovechkin on the roster to make it to a Conference Final, which is utterly ridiculous when you think about it.

The very fact that the Caps have come level in the series, coupled with the level of intensity in their collective game on Monday, is a sign that Washington is ready to take the next step. This is a team that flirted with disaster in the first round when they were one goal away from going 7 with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Then they fell behind 3-1 against the Pens, losing Game 4 against a Penguins team that was without Sidney Crosby and Conor Sheary.

Braden Holtby, typically one of the Capitals best players every postseason, struggled mightily, putting up a .857 save percentage in the first four games of the series.

Washington looked ripe for another inexplicable postseason flameout, but somehow they've pulled themselves up by the bootstraps and pressed on. The Caps have dominated this series from a possession standpoint, with a 5-on-5 Corsi of 62.24% while collecting 64.23% percent of the scoring chances, but it wasn't enough in the first four games because Holtby was flat and Marc-Andre Fleury was on fire.

That has changed dramatically in the last two games.

While Holtby has started to flourish, Fleury allowed nine goals on 58 shots in Games 5 and 6 for a save percentage of .845 and a GAA of 4.59. Either the Caps have solved him or he's simply lost his mojo. Can he get it back for Wednesday's winner-take-all contest in DC?

It's going to be tough.

Whatever momentum the Penguins had in this series has been all but squandered. Washington has outscored them 8-2 in the last four periods, and Sidney Crosby has not been the same player since he returned from his concussion to play Game 5. There's further worry about Crosby's health after he took a dangerous fall into the boards late in the first period on Monday and had great difficulty picking himself up and getting off the ice.

Many felt that Crosby should have been pulled from the game for examination by the NHL's concussion spotters, but he was allowed to play on. It created some pretty bad optics for the NHL and it may have been the wrong move to let Crosby continue without an immediate evaluation. Look, everybody knows that the NHL product is a far better one with Crosby in the lineup, but his concussion struggles have cast a gloom over the series. Instead of watching him create that otherworldly magic he's known for, we're watching every hit he takes while holding our breath, hoping that it isn't the one that sends him off the ice for good and puts his career in further jeopardy.

The Penguins have been decimated by injuries this season, and it might be too difficult for them to get up off the canvas against this Capitals juggernaut for Game 7, given how bad they were physically outplayed in Game 6.

Game 7's are supposed to be toss-ups. But it sure feels like the Penguins only chance to win this series went out the window in the third period of Game 5. They held a 2-1 lead and a 43-1-1 record when leading after two periods in their last 45 regular season and playoff games combined at that point. There was reason to believe the end was near for the Caps but they stormed to victory, pumping three unanswered goals past Fleury to flip the script in this series.

But anything can happen in Game 7, and Washington must beware of letting their foot off the proverbial gas pedal. They put themselves in a bad position by falling behind 3-1 and they are by no means out of this series yet now matter how well they played in the last two games. One bounce could decide this series.

One fluky goal could end a decade of frustration for Alexander Ovechkin and the Capitals, or it could be the next painful body blow in a long line of playoff failures for a Capitals organization that specializes in breaking its fans' hearts.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Isles Set to Offer Tavares Mega Money



The New York Islanders are set to offer their star center John Tavares a big contract this summer.

As in, very big.

Arthur Staple of Newsday reports that the Islanders are prepared to offer Tavares $10 million per year for eight years, if Tavares tells the Islanders that he's interested in staying.

The 26-year-old is set become a free agent in the summer of 2018.

Here's the details from Staple's piece:

He is eligible to sign a new deal on July 1 and the Islanders, from owners Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky on down, have spent the better part of a year keeping the lines of communication open with his agent, Pat Brisson, about the organization’s plans.

The Islanders are likely to offer Tavares an eight-year contract worth upward of $10 million per season.

If Tavares tells the club he’s not interested in signing this summer, Snow likely will be forced to entertain trade offers for his superstar before July 1 arrives. Even with a year left on his deal, the Islanders can’t wait to see what happens in the 2018 offseason and risk seeing their franchise player walk away with no compensation.


Staple also reported that Tavares had surgery on his right hand last month and is expected to make a full recovery by the beginning of next season.

Tavares is still in a cast, but is proceeding as scheduled in his recovery and should have the cast removed next week.

Watch: Crosby Tumbles Face-First into Boards



Just in case you wanted to know the type of things to avoid in your second game back from a concussion, we have an example of that for you here.

DEFINITELY avoid the type of head-first collisions with the boards that Sidney Crosby just endured (see video above) during the first period of the Game 6 of the Capitals-Penguins series at PPG Paints Arena on Monday night.

And also avoid getting sticked in the face by the guy that cross-checked you in the head in Game 3:


It's been a rough one for Crosby and the Penguins thus far. The Capitals have just taken a 2-0 lead on a goal by Andre Burakovsky at 6:36 of the second period. The Penguins hold a 13-5 edge in shots as we approach the mid-way mark of period two.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Foiled by the Oil: Ducks Drop Game 6 with a Thud



The Edmonton Oilers weren't about to let another one slip away.

After a heartbreaking Game 5 loss that saw them blow a three-goal lead in the final three-plus minutes, the upstart Oilers came out with a vengeance in front of the Rogers Place faithful on Sunday night in Edmonton.

The scored early.

They scored often.

Then they scored some more.

Leon Draisaitl recorded a hat trick and Mark Letestu scored twice to power the Oilers to a 7-1 victory. The win sets up a Game 7 at Anaheim's Honda Center on Wednesday night, a building that has seen the Ducks lose a Game 7 in each of the last four seasons.

"Obviously the season was on the line and we all had to step it up a notch and the whole group did," Draisaitl said after his three goals pushed his totals to 6-10-16 for the posteason.

The German struggled at the start of the playoffs when an illness sapped his strength in the first four games, but he has hit his stride since. He becomes one of just five Edmonton oilers in history to record two four-point playoff games in a single postseason with his effort tonight.

The Oilers potted three goals on their first six shots to chase Ducks goalie John Gibson from the game.

After winning in dramatic fashion on Friday in Anaheim, the Ducks will face even more pressure as the return home to reverse a concerning playoff trend. The Ducks were eliminated in the first rounds of 2016 (Nashville) and 2013 (Detroit), the second round of 2014 (Los Angeles) and the third round of 2015 (Chicago) in seventh games at the Honda Center.

The difference between those losses and this year? Randy Carlyle is in has head coach for Bruce Boudreau.

"Half of the guys in here haven't been here for that stuff," Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf said after the game.

When asked what what wrong in Game 6, Ducks coach had a simple answer: "Everything."

He added: "It's not the same group, and I wasn't here. So don't pin any of the Game 7's on me. Simple as that. This is a different group. ... We're not afraid to go into our building and play a solid hockey game, and that's what is going to be required.



Simply Smashville: Predators Reach First Conference Final



It's been a long time coming. 19 seasons, if you're scoring at home, but the wait is over in Nashville, as the Predators reached their first Western Conference final by clinching their best-of-7 series with the St. Louis Blues in six games on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

More Saucer Passes: Caps Dominating Fancy Stats But Holtby Hurts

The Predators battled back from a 1-0 deficit, scoring three unanswered goals to raise the roof at Bridgestone Arena and validate the savvy moves of GM David Poile, who swung big deals to land top center Ryan Johansen and defenseman P.K. Subban last year.

Those deals have paid huge dividends for Nashville, as Johansen has led the team's top line and Subban has raised him game in the playoffs, playing shutdown defense with his partner Mattias Ekholm.

Nashville trailed after one, but surged early in the second as Ekholm saucered a perfect pass to Roman Josi, who took the cross-ice feed and rifled home his fourth goal of the playoffs from just below the left face-off circle to tie it at 1-1. Nashville's defense has now been involved in 15 of the team's last 19 goals, and the blue line has produced nine goals this postseason, tops in the NHL.

The Predators also took the initiative early in the third when Viktor Arvidsson saucered a nice feed to Johansen on a two-on-one and the Predators' center deked and slid his second goal of the playoffs past Jake Allen to give Nashville a 2-1 lead at 3:15. Calle Jarnkrok added the empty netter 19:00 of the third to put the game out of reach.

Nashville has now won eight of ten games in the playoffs and they have allowed just 14 goals in those games.

The Predators are now 4-0 in elimination playoff games played at home.

Their were many heros for Nashville, none bigger than their goaltender.

Pekka Rinne finished the game with 23 saves on 24 shots. The 34-year-old Finn has been absolutely on fire in these playoffs with two shutouts and a .951 save percentage which leads all goalies.

Since 1968 only one goalie that played seven games or more has finished a playoff season with a save percentage higher than that -- Rogie Vachon, who had a .953 save percentage while sharing the net with Gump Worsley for the Canadiens during their 1969 Cup run.

"Right now it means everything," said Rinne. "Like I said before we haven't gone further than this. It's a great feeling. ... We all know that we have what it takes and everything is in our hands. It's a good feeling -- it's why you play this game."

"He was unbelievable again," said Josi in the locker room after the game. "Probably every game he was our best player and he was our best player tonight again."

Rinne added an assist on Jarnkrok's empty netter, giving him three for the playoffs.

"He's so confident back there," said Josi. "He's confident in making saves and he's confident in passing the puck. He's been unbelievable for us."



Rinne entered this post season with a .912 lifetime save percentage in the playoffs to go with a 2.51 GAA and one shutout. Thus far in 2017 he has a 1.37 GAA and two shutouts to go with his .951 save percentage. But he'll have to continue his stellar play for the predators to reach their first Stanley Cup final. They'll fave the winner of Wednesday's Game 7 between the Oilers and Ducks in the Western Conference Final.

"He's obviously the biggest reason we are moving to the third round," said Johansen. "And he's going to have to keep playing that way, too. He's the backbone of our club, we've said that all year."

Bird No Longer the Word for Kuznetsov



Evgeny Kuznetsov riled up the haters with his bird celebration after scoring in Game 1 of the Washington Capitals best-of-7 series with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Now he's shut it down, telling reporters (see video above, at the end) it was "bad karma" after Washington's Game 5 victory at Verizon Center.

God forbid anybody should have too much fun after scoring a goal in the NHL playoffs.

That said, the celly wasn't one of our faves.

Kuznetsov, who has five goals in the playoffs including goals in three straight games against the Penguins, will hope to lead his team's offense again on Monday night when the Capitals travel to Pittsburgh for Game 6.

Statisfaction: Caps Dominating Fancy Stats but Holtby Hurts



Welcome to Statisfaction, your daily dose of NHL-related numbers and factoids. Today we'll begin with the Washington Capitals statistical domination of the Pens.

1. Washington Dominating Possession, but on the Brink

So, the Caps are seemingly in control of the puck, the shot attempts and the run of play against the Penguins, but they are still on the brink of elimination and barely survived Game 5 on the strength of a three-goal outburst vs. the Penguins at Verizon Center on Saturday. Could it mark the beginning of a turn of fortune for the Caps? Many waited for that same thing to happen for the Minnesota Wild against the Blues in the first round, but it never did. We don't know how it will play out, but we do find these numbers interesting.



At 5-on-5 Washington has a 63.4 CF% and a 60.44 FF% in the five games of this series. They also have managed to own 64.71% of the scoring chances in the series, per Natural Stat Trick. And yet, they have only scored 10 goals to 9 for Pittsburgh at 5-on-5. Is it because Pittsburgh is so good at countering and scoring on the rush? The Penguins have a 10.46 shooting percentage while the Capitals have a 7.46.

2. Braden Holtby not really cutting the mustard for Caps

Holtby had a great third period for Washington on Saturday night, but prior to that he has really struggled in net in this series. He has put up a .901 save percentage in the series, which is far below his career playoff lifetime save percentage of .932.

Here are Holtby's playoff stats from this year compared to his lifetime playoff stats.



3. Predators D Playing a Part

Nashville's defensemen have points in 14 of the team's last 16 goals. The Preds will look to book their first trip to a Conference Final on Sunday vs. St. Louis. One thing to note: Ryan Ellis and Roman Josi have struggled as a pair against the Blues.

The below table shows how much Josi and Ellis have struggled in several key categories in this series:



4. Pens Blow a Late Lead

The Penguins were 43-1-1 in games that they held a lead after two periods heading into Saturday night. But the Capitals broke through with three goals to stay alive. Will it prove to be a turning point?

5. Crosby Leads Playoffs in 5-on-5 Points per 60

And next on the list is Tanner Glass! Also interesting to note how effective Colton Sissons has been for Nashville.

Below are the top five playoff performers in terms of points per 60 mins, via Corsica:



Saturday, May 6, 2017

Late Game Woes Do Rangers in Again at Ottawa



Three times in these playoffs the New York Rangers have given up the tying goal in the final two minutes and had to slog through an overtime. All three times they've come up empty, scratching their heads and wondering at what point it all went wrong. The latest Ranger meltdown occurred on Saturday as the Senators rallied late to tie on Derick Brassard's goal at 18:34 of the third before notching the winner on a Kyle Turris put-away at 6:28 of overtime.

The Senators take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven series, which heads back to Madison Square Garden for Game 6 on Tuesday night.

“What’s done is done,” Rangers forward Matt Zuccarello said. “We have to win two games.”

Once again the critics are questioning the late-game decisions of Rangers' coach Alan Vigneault. Defenseman Brady Skjei was not used in the final five minutes and the Rangers were caught off guard late after the Senators pulled Craig Anderson for an extra skater.

"Maybe the guys didn't know the goaltender was coming," Vigneault said. "But there was less than two minutes and we were down by a goal--we should expect it."

The Rangers can take solace in the fact that they have won four in a row at home and dominated Ottawa in Game 3 and Game 4, outscoring them 8-2.

"We're down, and can't lose another game," said Vigneault. "We're going to go back to New York, regroup."

The Rangers were outshot 6-0 in the overtime and only had one shot attempt while the Senators had 13. Michael Grabner had a goal waved off at 4:12 of overtime when it was ruled that he played the shot with a high stick.

On Turris' winner his shot was initially blocked by Dan Girardi, but Turris alertly scooped up the loose puck and charged past Girardi before depositing the puck past Henrik Lundqvist.

"I know it's Kentucky Derby day. I guess that was our horse tonight," Senators coach Guy Boucher said. "Definitely somebody who came out with the max character and the pushback we can expect from him. It was very inspiring."

The Rangers lead early by a 2-0 margin, but later had to rally from 3-2 down. Ryan McDonagh scored t 17:49 of the second to tie it and rookie Jimmy Vesey scored his first playoff goal to put the Rangers up 4-3 at 12:48 of the third.

But the Senators dominated play down the stretch before breaking through with Brassard's tying goal.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Hurricanes Ink Goalie Scott Darling to Four-Year Deal



Last week the Carolina Hurricanes traded a third-round pick to the Blackhawks for the rights to negotiate with soon to be free agent Scott Darling. Now they've locked him up.

The Hurricanes announced that they've signed the 28-year-old Darling to a four-year, $16.6 million deal that will keep him signed through 2021.

Darling spent three years as Corey Crawford's backup in Chicago. In 75 appearances he went 39-17-9 with a 2.37 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Since the beginning of 2014, Darling has the second-lowest save percentage of all NHL goalies that have appeared in 70 games or more.

The Hurricanes have had problems between the pipes for years, and they decided to go for Darling despite the fact that Cam Ward and Eddie Lack are still signed by the club. Both are eligible to become free agents at the end of next season. Ward is owed $3.3 million; Lack is owed $2.75 million.

It is not clear which goalie the club plans to leave unprotected at the expansion draft.

Carolina had the second-lowest 5-on-5 save percentage in the NHL during the regular season at .9126. Darling should be able to lend a hand with that.

Karlsson Expected to Play Game 5 vs. Rangers



Erik Karlsson has been run ragged by the New York Rangers' physicality in the last two games, but the defenseman is reportedy set to go for Game 5 of the Rangers-Senators, scheduled for Saturday afernoon.

Karlsson, playing with two hairline fractures in his left foot, was seen favoring that leg as he skated off the ice after the second period of Game 4 at Madison Square Garden.

Senators head coach Guy Boucher says that he kept the Swede out of the third period for precautionary reasons, and that he plans to use him for Game 5.

Karlsson had a good start against the Rangers. In each of the first two games the Rangers did not score against Ottawa when the teams were at 5-on-5. Karlsson was on ice for two even strength goals, including the Game 1 winner that he himself scored.

However, Karlsson has gone minus-4 in the last two games as he saw his ice time limited to 23:42 in Game 3 and 14:54 in Game 4.

It all spells big trouble for the Senators, who have seen a two-game lead disappear against the surging Rangers. The Senators are a negative possession team without Karlsson on the ice. So far in the playoffs the Senators own a 47.6 CF% at 5-on-5 when Karlsson is on the bench, and they own a 56 CF% with him on the ice. Their team shooting percentage is higher (8 percent vs. 4.64 percent) with him on the ice and their team save percentage (.930 vs. .926) is higher with him on the ice.

But if he is laboring so much that he's ineffective, things will go from bad to worse for the Senators. They've been outscored 8-2 in the last two games and are desperately in need of some energy from someone, or this series could be over fast.

The Rangers have ramped up their intensity and dominated the two games at Madison Square Garden from start to finish. The Rangers have now won four games in a row at home this post-season after snapping a six-game home playoff losing streak in Game 4 of their first-round series against Montreal.

Oscar Lindberg and Tanner Glass were two of the Rangers best players on fourth line along with J.T. Miller. Glass and Lindberg (three goals) had three points each over the last two games; Miller had two.

Teams that win Game 5 best-of-7 Stanley Cup Playoff series have won the series 78.9 percent of the time in league history, per Hockey-Reference.

Eaves, Kase out for Ducks in Game 5



Patrick Eaves (lower body) and Ondrej Kase (lower) will miss tonight's Game 5 between the Anaheim Ducks and Edmonton Oilers at Honda Center. Eaves is missing his second consecutive game. Kase, brought in to replace Eaves in Game 4, was injured after just two minutes of ice time on a hit by Milan Lucic.

That means the door is open for Nic Kerdile to make his NHL debut. The 23-year-old is from Irvine, California and became the first player from Orange County to play for the Ducks when he made his NHL debut on February 22.


Kerdiles is tied for second in the AHL playoff scoring race after scoring six points to help the San Diego Gulls defeat the Ontario Reign in five games.

Defenseman Kevin Bieksa has also been ruled out for Game 5.

Statisfaction: Guentzel Takes Aim on Pens Rookie Record



Welcome to Statisfaction, your daily dose of NHL-related numbers and factoids. Today we'll begin with the Jake Guentzel's historical rookie playoff season.

1. Jake Guentzel is on fire

Pittburgh's Jake Guentzel's 8 goals lead all skaters in the playoffs, and the rookie is closing in on the Penguins all-time playoff record for points in a playoff year. He has 12 now, which leaves him one shy of Jaromir Jagr's record of 13, which was set in 1991 (Mario Lemieux did not reach the playoffs in his rookie season).

Guentzel even pumped in two points without Sidney Crosby on his line in Game 4 of the Pens series with the Caps on Wednesday. He also has been extremely accurate with his shot thus far in the post-season. Guentzel has scored on 8 of his 21 shots on goal (shooting percentage: 38.1 percent) and he has only missed the net six times in the playoffs.

2. Nate Schmidt Has Been a Revelation for Caps

He didn't begin the playoffs as a starter, but now that Nate Schmidt has become a fixture in the Caps' lineup, he's proven just how effective he can be. He leads all Washington defenseman in CF%, SF% and GF%.

Amazingly, he's the only Washington defenseman with a positive plus/minus, and he's all the way up at plus-6.

3. Adam Larsson had a really bad game on Thursday

Adam Larsson has been the Oilers' steadiest defenseman in the playoffs, and he's been a physical presence as well. But the burly Swede struggled mightily in Game 4 against the Oilers--he was on ice for all four goals against and he turned the puck over to Ryan Getzlaf moments before the game-winner was scored by Jacob Silfverberg. In total, Larsson has been on ice for four Edmonton goals four and 11 against at even strength. No defenseman has been on ice for more goals against in these playoffs.

On the flipside, Matt Irwin has played 92 minutes at 5-on-5 in eight games for the Predators and he has not yet been on ice for a goal against (Nashville has scored twice with him on).

4. Red-hot Ryan Ellis is Nashville's Pace-Setter

Speaking of Nashville defenseman, no Predator blue-liner has been more effective offensively than Ryan Ellis. He's averaging 1.13 points per game.

Ellis is currently on a seven-game point streak which is the longest playoff points streak by a defenseman since 1998.

5. The Erik Karlsson effect

Through 10 playoff games we can get a glimpse of how Ottawa has been doing with and without Erik Karlsson on the ice at 5-on-5.

Without Karlsson Ottawa has seven goals for and 12 against, with a CF% of 47.6, a shooting percentage of 4.64 and a save percentage of .9259 in 321 minutes.

With Karlsson in 219 minutes, Ottawa has eight goals for and six against with a CF% of 56 percent, a shooting percentage of 8 percent and a save percentage of .9301.

Yeah, he makes a big difference, whether he has been injured or not.

Stats courtesy of NHL.com, Natural Stat Trick and Puckalytics.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Crosby Skates, but Timetable for Return Unclear



Sidney Crosby skated for the first time since suffering a concussion on Monday night during Game 3 of the Penguins best-of-7 series with the Washington capitals. The Penguins' captain wore a black jersey and skated on his own on what was a day off for the Penguins, who next face the Capitals on Saturday for Game 5.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan would not reveal the team's plans with regard to getting Crosby back in the lineup.

"He's in the process of rehabbing," Sullivan said. "We'll leave it at that. It's a day-to-day process. We're taking each day as it comes."

Crosby returned to the ice about four days after his last concussion, which was suffered in practice on October 7th, but did not play in a game until two weeks later. It could be a while before he returns, and the Penguins certainly don't want to rush their most valuable player back when they are in control of their series with the Capitals.

Crosby did not speak with media on Thursday.

Vegas Golden Knights Sign Russia's Shipachyov to Two-Year Deal



The Vegas Golden Knights made a pretty big splash by signing KHL star Vadim Shipachyov to a two-year, $9 million deal on Thursday. The 30-year-old has become an elite scorer in the KHL. He put up 76 points in 50 games this season for St. Petersburg SKA (good for third in the KHL scoring race), and another 20 points in 17 playoff games.



The 6'1", 190-pound forward is a native of Cherepovets, Russia.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Ducks Win Wild One in OT to Level Series



The Anaheim Ducks have leveled their best-of-7 series with the Edmonton Oilers at two games apiece, thanks to a monumental game by Ryan Getzlaf, a few nice breaks and a bang-bang overtime winner from Jakob Silfverberg.



Getzlaf took over the game in the second period with the Ducks down 2-0. It was a period owned by the Ducks, and the 31-year-old veteran lead the charge. He made the pivotal block in overtime then converted an ill-advised turnover by Adam Larsson into a perfect cross-ice feed which Silfverberg promptly sent past Cam Talbot.

The goal came at :45 seconds at OT, and just 2:27 after Drake Cagguila tied the game with a clutch goalmouth roof job that brought Rogers Place to a frenzy. It was the first playoff goal of Caggiula's career, and it gave the Oilers a chance in overtime to skate out of Edmonton with a 3-1 stranglehold on the series.

It was not meant to be.

Silfverberg's game-winner might not have happened if icing had been called just prior to Larsson's turnover. Getzlaf's zone exit pass went through Silverberg and caused a linesman to raise his hand for icing, but the referee following the play ruled that Oscar Klefbom was close enough to make a play on the puck before it went over the goal line.

That wasn't the only questionable call in this game. Oilers coach Todd McLellan challenged Getzlaf's first goal of the game in the second period for goaltender's interference by Corey Perry. The goal was allowed on the ice and after video review it was ruled a good goal. Perry did make contact with Talbot on the play but he was also gently guided by Larsson on the play.



The call had lasting implications on the Oilers, because they were left without a challenge when Rickard Rakell scored to tie the game at 5:33 of the second. Perry looked to be offside on the play but there was nothing the Oilers could do about it.

Getzlaf scored his second goal of the game at 14:25 of the second when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made the fatal mistake of hanging on to the puck in the slot too long in the defensive zone. Getzlaf made a quick swipe at the biscuit and whacked it off of Nugent-Hopkins' stick and into the net.

The Oiler veteran passed Teemu Selanne with that goal to move into first place on the Ducks' all-time playoff goal list.

Getzlaf has five multi-point playoff games in the Ducks first eight post-season tilts. He is second in playoff scoring behind Evgeni Malkin (16 points) with 7 goals and 13 points.

Connor McDavid picked up his fourth goal of the playoffs for the Oilers, who were outshot 39-32.

Leon Draisaitl added a pair of assists for the Oilers. The 21-year-old German is now 2-8-10 for the playoffs.

Game 5 is Friday night in Edmonton.

Notes and Numbers:

The Ducks had 30 unblocked shot attempts to just 12 for the Oilers in the second period, and they outchanced Edmonton 19-7 in the middle stanza.

Adam Larsson had a particularly rough game for Edmonton. He was on ice for all four Ducks goals and made the giveaway to Getzlaf that lead to the game-winner.

McDavid was a negative possession player, with a Corsi of 45.65 percent.

Ondrej Kase only played 2:02 for the Ducks. He left the game after taking a hit from Milan Lucic in the neutral zone.

Everybody and their Mother Reacts to Bonino Embellishment



Nick Bonino should get an Academy Award. He'd be happier with a trip to the Eastern Conference Final.

Bonino helped his team inch within a game of knocking off the President's Tropy winning Capitals by drawing this high-sticking penalty on T.J. Oshie with 1:52 remaining. The call came at the worst possible time for the Capitals. They had to finish the game shorthanded and ended up losing 3-2.

Washington will go back to Verizon Center down 3-1 to the Penguins--an unenviable place to be against a team that is playing so well despite being without Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Matt Murray.

Naturally, the internet got its knickers in a twist over the Bonino embellishment/ high-sticking call. He sold it really hard -- it just takes a quick glance at the replay to see that Oshie's stick never touched his face (or beard).

Was that a jerk move? Or was it a slick play by a veteran who knew he could get away with it based on the position of the ref on the ice? We'll let you guys decide.

But we will say this: Have to credit Bonino here. He knew the position of the referee and seemed to make an instinctive decision to sell that call after he felt the severity of the blow from Oshie. That was a slick, veteran move, whether you love it or hate it. Bad news for Bonino, though. That ref will never give him the benefit of the doubt again.

And he could be handed one of those embellishment fines by the league (as if he wouldn't be proud of that).

Here's some of the best crazy ramblings we found on Twitter just after the game. (Note: We do not condone or endorse any of the below tweets. We are simply giving you the gamut.)