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Back To The Drawing Board For The Washington Capitals

from Dan Steinberg of D.C. Sports Bog,

“Can we talk people off the ledge?” Jill Sorenson asked early in Comcast SportsNet’s Caps postgame show Monday night, following Washington’s 4-3 overtime loss in Game 3.

Her question made sense. Vast numbers of the network’s voting audience were saying they were “extremely concerned” now that the Capitals had gone down two games to one against the underdog Maple Leafs. Fans online were mostly immolating themselves in a blind rage. The most optimistic of them were saying that even if the Capitals came back to win this series, they would be in trouble against the Pittsburgh Penguins in the next round. There were too many references to Washington’s tortured past to count.

So, uh … can we talk people off the ledge?

Analyst Alan May gave it a go, talking about how the Caps need to move the puck faster, play with more urgency, be crisper in clearing their zone and make fewer mistakes. Then it was Brent Johnson’s turn.

“I can’t take it,” he said. “I can’t force anyone to step off the ledge. I truly can’t. The only reason why is because this isn’t the regular season. How many times can you win the Presidents’ Trophy, over and over? They have the character in the dressing room, but you’re facing the Toronto Maple Leafs, night in, night out. You know their game plan. You know what they’re going to do. You have to hit the drawing board and figure out what you’ve got to do to go against that, to shake them off their game.”

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A Good Day And Bad Night In Boston

from Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe,

It was shaping up as a perfect Marathon Monday.

Postcard weather. A seamless 26-mile Boston Strong race with the usual thousands of feel-good/inspirational stories. A third straight win for the Red Sox at Fenway. And finally . . . the Bruins brought the NHL playoffs back to the Garden and recovered from a 3-0 second-period deficit against the Ottawa Senators.

But they could not finish. The Bruins battled back to a 3-3 tie, and gave us some great hockey, only to lose in the sixth minute of overtime on a power-play goal by Bobby Ryan after a cheesy roughing penalty on Bruins forward Riley Nash. Garden fans peppered the ice with water bottles to show their disgust with the zebras. Ottawa leads the series, two games to one.

It had been more than 1,000 days since the last Stanley Cup tournament game at the Garden and this is not the way we visualized the Bruins’ return to the playoffs. All three games in this series have been decided by one goal, two in overtime, but it feels like the Senators have the Bruins’ number. Going back to last season, Ottawa has beaten Boston eight times in nine games. At this moment, it’s hard to remember that the Bruins had a 1-0 series lead and a 3-1 lead in the third period of Game 2 before they folded in the final minutes.

When it was suggested by a reporter that the call must have been “demoralizing,” Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy said, “I agree with you, 100 percent.

“Very demoralizing. Demoralizing and disappointing. But they called it. Once they called it, it’s our job to kill it.’’

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The Calgary Flames Blow A 4-1 Lead

from Eric Francis of the Calgary Sun,

And you thought they had their hearts broken in Anaheim.

On Monday, they were trampled on.

How they could possibly bounce back from this is anyone’s guess.

The Calgary Flames are on the brink of elimination.

And drumming up the sort of resilience they’ve somehow mustered throughout this ill-fated series may finally be impossible now.

“That’s the toughest loss I’ve been around in this organization,” said captain Mark Giordano in a dressing room as silent as the stadium was minutes earlier when the Ducks won 5-4 in overtime.

“It’s a game you’re up 4-1 and can swing the series. Now, it’s do-or-die time, play with nothing to lose. But we better learn a lot from that. I mean, that can’t happen. Obviously, some bad breaks but we had a chance there to just keep storming them and we didn’t.”

Squandering a 4-1 lead accrued midway through the game with a relentless forecheck and physicality, the Flames somehow let it slip away.

More like a crash, sinking the hearts of a city that had all but made reservations for their favourite Red Mile hot spot for Wednesday as part of the celebration that they were back in the series.

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The Chicago Blackhawks Are Now Facing Elimination

from Tracey Myers of CSN Chicago,

The Blackhawks had finally broken through Pekka Rinne. Twice. They had their first goals of the series. They had their first lead of the series.

But after taking the initiative in the second period the Blackhawks went more into a defensive mode again. Against the Nashville Predators, who have shown they’ll take advantage of any chance, hop or bounce they get, it was an opportunity.

Now the Blackhawks are on the brink of elimination.

Patrick Kane scored his 50th career postseason goal but the Predators came back, with Kevin Fiala getting the overtime winner to beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Monday night. The Predators take a commanding 3-0 series lead; they’ll have their first chance to eliminate the Blackhawks in Game 4 on Thursday night.

The Blackhawks were subdued after this one. Save a period or so, the Predators have outplayed the Blackhawks in these three games. Now the desperation is at an all-time high.

“Yeah, it’s not easy. It’s not easy. It’s a good team and they want it. They’re pushing themselves to the limit. But we have no choice. We’ve got to find a way to put pressure on them,” Jonathan Toews said. “We’ve got to make them realize that winning that fourth game is the toughest for any team in any series. We can be that team to try and frustrate them and put pressure on them, especially in their own building in the next game. You never know what can happen, so we’ll just focus on winning the next one.”

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Videos- You Want OT Goals?

All four OT goals from Monday's Stanley Cup Playoff games...

 

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Filed in: NHL Teams, Anaheim Ducks, Nashville Predators, Ottawa Senators, Toronto Maple Leafs, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

NHL Short Notes

MONDAY’S RESULTS
Home Team in Caps
Ottawa 4, BOSTON 3 (OT) – OTT leads 2-1
TORONTO 4, Washington 3 (OT) – TOR leads 2-1
NASHVILLE 3, Chicago 2 (OT) – NSH leads 3-0
Anaheim 5, CALGARY 4 (OT) – ANA leads 3-0
 
60 IS NOT ENOUGH
All four games contested on Monday required overtime. Elias notes that four games required overtime on the same day for the third time in Stanley Cup Playoffs history (also April 11, 1980 and April 10, 1985).
 
* Eleven of the first 24 games in the First Round have required overtime (45.8%), with road teams holding a 6-5 edge in those contests. Elias notes that the record for most overtime games in the opening round of the postseason is 17, set during the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs (47 games).
 
* Elias adds that 11 of the 24 games in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs have seen the winning team overcome a deficit, including seven multi-goal comebacks.

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Open Post- Playoff Games Tonight

Feel free to comment on the games tonight.

Ottawa @ Boston, series tied 1-1, 7 p.m., SN, TVAS, CNBC, NESN
Washington @ Toronto, series tied 1-1, 7 p.m., CBC, TVAS2, NBCSN, CSN-DC
Chicago @ Nashville, NSH leads 2-0, 9:30 p.m., SN1, TVAS, CNBC, FS-TN, CSN-CH
Anaheim @ Calgary, ANA leads 2-0, 10 p.m., CBC, TVAS2, NBCSN, PRIME

Filed in: NHL Teams, | KK Hockey | Permalink
 

Afternoon Line- T.J. Oshie

Filed in: NHL Teams, Washington Capitals, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: t.j.+oshie

Zach Werenski Done For The Year With A Facial Fracture

 

Filed in: NHL Teams, Columbus Blue Jackets, | KK Hockey | Permalink
  Tags: zach+werenski

About Those Recent, Gruesome Head Injuries

from Ray Ratto of CSN BayArea,

The culture of celebrating facial and head injuries in hockey has always been the most cringeworthy part of the sport. It is as if the photo certifies a player as officially tough to the point of insanity about the one part of the body that should be most protected and concerned about.

Knowing what we know and are continuing to learn about CTE and other brain injuries, though, the rush to return to action (Werenski) or to get rid of protective equipment (Couture) doesn’t seem quite so noble any more. This isn’t bruise porn, which some people suggest it might be, but it is a new default position for head injuries, as in, “Hey, cool, blood! But what about that brain?”

It takes a bit of the vicarious fun out of the whole process.

Of course, the problem with this argument is that not being doctors, we cannot know just how severe the internal injuries Werenski were, or weren’t. We know he bled well, but we don’t know if he went through a full concussion protocol or just got stitched up like a sock. For all we know, he was clear as a bell except for that softball he was smuggling under his cheekbone. Without having been the examining physician, we’re not properly equipped to announce that Werenski’s care was insufficient or pressured by the culture of “playing while grotesque.” It might have been, and it might not have been, and that’s as definitive as anyone can be.

But I do know that acts of bravado when it comes to the head aren’t as much vicarious sanguinary fun as they used to be, for a very good reason. Because brains aren’t teeth, or bones, or ligaments. They are a special category, and should be treated in everyone’s thoughts as such. 

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About Kukla's Korner Hockey

Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.

Email Paul anytime at pk@kuklaskorner.com

 

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