A busy Thursday of NHL hockey has come to an end. There were three games, one of them a potential elimination game. The Rangers needed to win to avoid being swept. Could they win at home? Or would Boston score another sporting win over New York? There is plenty of information, including some stuff about Friday’s lone game.
The Bruins and Rangers hit the ice first, and then proceeded to be scoreless after one period. Then, Nathan Horton opened the scoring on the power play. After that, Torey Krug, who has emerged onto the national scene in these playoffs, slapped a shot into the net to make it 2-0. However, soon thereafter, Carl Hagelin got the Rangers on the board with a truly bizarre goal. It’s hard to explain. Hagelin barely had any power behind his attempt on net, but Tuukka Rask tripped over his own feet, and watched the puck just eke past him. It was weird.
Derek Stepan also scored a somewhat fluky goal early in the third to tie the game. This was followed by Tyler Seguin’s first goal of this postseason. He was quite enthused about it. Ah, but then Brian Boyle scored. Not only that, it was a power-play goal. The Rangers scored on the power play! The game went into overtime tied 3-3. There, Chris Kreider deflected a pass into the top of the net, giving the Rangers the win, helping them avoid the sweep.
Lundqvist made 37 saves, while Rask made 28. Derick Brassard had two assists. Good for New York. They avoided getting swept at home. However, Boston is still going to win this series. The Rangers aren’t going to win three more in a row. They were outshot in this game, they needed overtime to win, and they needed a couple fluky goals to help them. I’m not sure this series returns to New York.
Nobody was facing elimination in Chicago v. Detroit, but the Wings had the chance to go up 3-1 if they won at home. There was no scoring in the first period. In the second, Jakub Kindl scored from the point on the power play to give the Wings the lead. In the third, both teams played tremendous defense, and the Blackhawks were held to six shots. Dan Cleary added an empty net goal, and the Wings won 2-0.
Jimmy Howard stopped all 28 shots he faced, while Corey Crawford made 25. This was an intense game, with a lot of action. Howard had to come up big, and he did. He’s been excellent for three games straight. Now, Detroit is up three games to one. They just need one more win to pull off the upset. Will they do it? The Blackhawks are a great team. In fact, they are the better team. The better team doesn’t always win, though. I’m not sure they can win three in a row against Detroit.
Lastly, we were off to Los Angeles for the Kings against the Sharks. Who would take the edge in this series? Once again, there was no scoring in the first period. All these games took a little while to get going, evidently. Then, in the second, Anze Kopitar tapped in a rebound to get the Kings on the board. Early in the third, Slava Voynov added another goal. Los Angeles kept San Jose in check, and Jeff Carter’s empty-net goal made it 3-0.
Jonathan Quick made 24 saves. He’s been outstanding this postseason, arguably the best netminder of the playoffs. If this keeps up, he could win back-to-back Conn Smythes. Antti Niemi made 26 saves. The home team won yet again. Will that continue in game six? Or will the Kings close it out?
On Friday, Pittsburgh hosts Ottawa. The Penguins dominated game four to take the 3-1 series lead. Now, they are back at home with the chance to close things out. I like the odds of that happening. Pittsburgh is the better team, and they’ve been better in this series. Craig Anderson will need to play better than he did in the last game.
So, will the Penguins punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference Finals? Or will the Senators send the series back to Ottawa? Will Canada’s last hope hold on? Well, it is Memorial Day weekend. That’s America’s weekend. That doesn’t bode well for their chances, right? USA! USA! USA!