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/Capitals, Rangers win 3-2 in OT
Series: Rangers lead 3-2
Oh so close: The Capitals led 2-1 late in the third period when Joel Ward accidentally offered his stick to Carl Hagelin for a snack after a faceoff. There was a small amount of blood, but that’s all she takes in hockey. That double minor gave the Rangers a four minute powerplay, and the game took a sharp turn. Brad Richards scored a goal thanks to some blind puck-jamming with 0:06.6 on the clock to push the game to OT, where Marc Staal scored on the other half of the double minor to win it for the Rags.
Actually close: Hat tip to Twitter for this (I believe it was Bruce Arthur), but prior to the Capitals scoring twice in a row last night, the previous 12 goals had been NYR-WAS-NYR-WAS-NYR-WAS-NYR-WAS-NYR-WAS-NYR-WAS. So things have been fairrrly even.
Well-timed: The only guy not named “Richards” or “Boyle” on the Rangers who won more than one faceoff was John Mitchell…who won the faceoff back to Marc Staal on the OT winner. Richards and Boyle, incidentally, took a combined 36 draws, while the rest of the team combined to take 13.
Head’s up: Dan Girardi hit Mike Green hard, and I can prove it:
Not for lack of trying: Marian Gaborik didn’t score last night, but he’s sure giving it his all – he fired seven shots at Braden Holtby last night.
Hunter hockey: For some reason I find Dale Hunter’s player usage intensely interesting (since the day he gave Ovy under 14 minutes and Beagle 20), so here’s a look at some of the more interesting TOIs: Nick Backstrom (20:25), Alex Ovechkin (19:08), Jay Beagle (15:00), Alex Semin (13:22). I’d say 15 is about right for Beagle, but only 13 for Semin? I bet he wants outta Washington if Hunter’s gonna be around.
Leadership: You can point fingers if you want (at Joel Ward for his penalty, who scored the Game 7 OT winner of the first series), or give some credit – Ryan Callahan attempted three shots (two on net) in the dying seconds of the game before Richards jammed it home, and ended the game with an assist, five shots on net, three blocked shots and three hits in almost 24 minutes of ice. That’s a big night.
Moving pictures: Check out all the drama below.
Coyotes/Predators, Phoenix won 2-1
Series: Ovah. Coyotes won 4-1
That’s more like it: After these two crazy run-and-gun style teams (not really) scored 15 times in the first two games, most of us were scratching our heads. Well, they reverted back to what we expected, as the Coyotes won a low-scoring squeaker and moved on the Western Conference Final for the first time in team history.
Aboot damn time: Shane Doan played in his 50th career playoff game last night – not the most impressive number, but we all know the story of his loyalty, so it’s impressive in a backwards way. He had an assist, was a plus, took a couple shots, got four hits, had a takeaway…he just did what he does.
Stud: Mike Smith stopped 32 of 33 shots sent his way, and was oh-so-close to scoring at the end of the game. He fired a shot down the ice that couldn’t have missed by more than a foot. This is back-to-back years Smith has made it to the Conference Finals, as he went last year with the Tampa Bay Lightning. He played in Game 4 (and got the win), and Game 5 (and lost a tough one).
Stud part two: Shea Weber did his part for the Preds: he played 28:20 of the game, and mashed seven shots on goal (with three misses), blocked a shot and laid three hits. His seven shots was tops on Nashville by a wide margin.
Surprise, surprise: Personally, I’ve been caught off-guard by how effective the play of Boyd Gordon has been, especially in the faceoff circle for Phoenix. As a team they won 30 draws last night – Antoine Vermette and Gordon combined for 24 of those.
Tight hockey: The Nashville Predators finished fifth in the playoffs in goals-against-per-game, giving up an average of 2.10. The Coyotes were even tighter though (second overall), as they’ve currently allowed 1.91. Even tighter? Their next foe, the Los Angeles Kings, who have given up an average of 1.56 goals-per-game, and that includes facing one of the League’s highest scoring teams from the regular season in round one, the Vancouver Canucks. So Pittsburgh/Philly, Phoenix/LA will not be.
Moving pictures: If you couldn’t watch last night, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what it looked like: