Noteworthy is a feature blatantly ripped off from Trey Kerby and The Basketball Jones crew that catches you up on everything you need to know from the night before in the NHL.
Rangers/Senators, Rangers won 3-2
Going the distance: Thursday will be the first Game 7 in Madison Square Garden in any sport in 17 years. I’d make a joke about the Rangers rarely making the playoffs since then, but as an Islanders fan, I don’t feel I have the right.
In the spotlight: Daniel Alfredsson returned to the Sens lineup after missing three games with a concussion, and man, were the fans happy to have him back:
One small problem, though. The game was a little frustrating for the Sens at times, and Alfredsson couldn’t hide it all night.
‘Bout time: Before the Rangers scored in the second period, they hadn’t put a puck past Craig Anderson in six periods. Great hockey analysts will tell you, it’s tough to win without scoring. …It’s tough to win without scoring.
Socccer style: Chris Neil scored just about the most blatant kick-in goal ever (the only thing that was more blatant was his stick in Henrik Lundqvist’s midsection, pushing him out of the way) at the end of the game that pissssed off Henrik Lundqvist. The goal didn’t mean anything in the end, but still, odd to hear King Henrik so fired up. As my friend Dave Lozo put it:
Watching Henrik Lundqvist yell at reporters last night was like watching your parents argue for the first time as a child. I’m scarred.
— Dave Lozo (@DaveLozo) April 24, 2012
Henrik’s post-game criticism was on point until this:
“Someone wants them back in the game obviously. There’s no other explanation. “
Ah, c’mon dude. Pretty sure the League prefers having New York in the playoffs to Ottawa.
Black aces on steroids: Ottawa upped the ante, taking the all-time players-scratched-in-a-game lead with 15 yesterday (again, no salaries, no salary cap, might as well have your prospects around learning, taking it all in and staying in shape. If someone has to jump in the lineup, they better be in shape). That’s a busy pressbox.
More soccer?: During the same play in which Neil interfered with/kicked Henrik Lundqvist and the puck, Milan Michalek allegedly kicked Rangers’ defensemen Dan Girardi, and could be facing supplemental discipline. That’d be a painful blow for the Senators heading into Game 7, but you know what’s also painful? Getting kicked with a skate. Bonehead move.
Thunderdome: Legal, illegal, I’m not really sure, but still fun to see Neil on the other end of this conversation for once (“fun,” because he’s okay, of course). Del Zotto caught him behind the net:
Phoenix/Chicago, Coyotes win 4-0
Series: Coyotes win, 4-2
On fi-yah: Mike Smith recorded the first postseason road shutout in FRANCHISE HISTORY for the Coyotes, stopping 39 shots. He was pretty emotional in the interview after (as was Doan during his) – you can tell this means a lot to these guys, who get verbally beaten down pretty routinely by NHL fans and the media.
Seems like yesterday: This was the first playoff round won by the Phoenix/Winnipeg franchise since 1987. So if you do the quick math on that, this is the first series the Coyotes have ever won. Shane Doan deserves this as much or more than anyone.
Rope-and-hope: The Chicago Blackhawks took it to the Coyotes in the first, out-shooting them 16-2. They were outshooting them 28-8 at one point.
Bright light: Speaking of “at one point” …at one point the Coyotes were being outshot 27-6, and young-and-super-talented defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson had a goal and four shots. He finished with a goal, an assist, those four shots, two hits, a blocked shots, and over 26 minutes of ice time.
This is getting out of hand: The Coyotes had 17 scratches last night, moving ahead of Ottawa who’d taken the lead earlier in the day. Isn’t that just like, your entire AHL team? I get having some guys around, but all? Imagine being one of the few guys not invited to the party? You’d figure out your place on the team pretty quick.
C’mon, man: Jimmy Hayes sees nothing but numbers the entire time before delivering this hit on Michal Rozsival, and pays for it. The game was still in reach for Chicago before he took this major, and the Coyotes put them away with a PP goal.
Just one game on the docket tonight, Game 6 between the Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils (7:30 PM EST), which should be fun. The Panthers are trying to put away the Devils in New Jersey (they’re currently up 3-2), so it should be a doozy.