Blackhawks beat Ducks in triple OT to tie Western Conference Final, plus latest on Rick Nash, Victor Hedman, Nick Foligno, Travis Zajac and more.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/LOS ANGELES TIMES: Marcus Kruger scored in triple overtime and Corey Crawford made a career-high 60 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks edged the Anaheim Ducks 3-2 to tie their best-of-seven Western Conference Final series at a game apiece. It was the longest game in Blackhawks history. Crawford now has a 13-9 overtime record, winning 11 of his last 15.
Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw thought he scored the winner in the second overtime when he headbutted the puck into the net but the goal was disallowed. He and Marian Hossa scored power-play goals in the first period, while the Ducks responded with tallies from Andrew Cogliano and Corey Perry. Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen made 53 saves in a losing cause.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: With three goals and plenty of scoring chances from both clubs in the first period, it appeared this game would be a more wide-open affair It settled down as the game went on, with both goaltenders playing well, though with a little help from their goalposts. The Blackhawks, despite issues over their blueline depth, demonstrated in this game they remain a tough opponent. It’ll be interesting to see what transpires as it shifts to Chicago for Games Three and Four.
NEW YORK POST: Criticism is growing again over New York Rangers’ winger Rick Nash’s playoff performance. “Over the last three years, Nash is eighth in the NHL in goals (89) and fifth in goals per game (0.47). Over the last three playoffs, in 51 games, Nash has scored six goals — one in 2013, three in 2014 and two this year.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Earlier in this postseason, Nash earned praise for his solid play at both ends of the ice. He’s worked hard in this year’s playoffs (and over the past two postseasons as well) but for whatever reason he’s unable to score and that’s hurting the Rangers.
THE TAMPA TRIBUNE: Overshadowed by Tyler Johnson’s stellar play is the fact Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman has been a force for his team at both ends of the ice.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since being drafted by the Lightning in 2009, Hedman has quietly but steadily become one of the NHL’s elite defensemen.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: To the surprise of no one, the Columbus Blue Jackets will announce Nick Foligno as their new captain today.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been quite a year for Foligno, who was among the few bright spots in an injury-ravaged season for the Blue Jackets. He reached career-high offensive numbers, played in the All-Star Game, earned a lucrative long-term contract extension and is now recognized for his leadership by becoming the Jackets’ first captain since Rick Nash was traded to New York nearly three years ago.
NJ.COM: New Jersey Devils center Travis Zajac is uncertain what his role will be under new GM Ray Shero.
THE BOSTON GLOBE: The Bruins reportedly remain in no hurry to name a new general manager. While assistant GM Don Sweeney is considered the leading candidate, there’s speculation they still hope to receive permission to speak with New York Rangers assistant GM Jeff Gorton.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: If that’s true, it’s rather callous toward Sweeney. Nothing like being told you’re in line for a promotion provided the guy your bosses really want is unavailable. Oh well, such is life.
**UPDATE** The Bruins officially named Sweeney as their new GM.
THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche recently parted ways with assistant coaches Andre Tourigny and Mario Duhamel.
TSN.CA: The NHL is hoping to deny a request to turn medical documents over to 60 players currently suing the league over concussion injuries on the grounds it would prove too expensive. The league claims it would cost over $13.5 million to turn over documents on almost 6,000 players dating back to 1967.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I call bullshit. Not over the cost cited by the league but their grounds that it’s too expensive. Last season, the NHL earned over $3.7 billion in revenue. Taxes and other expenses aside, the NHL can afford to turn over those medical records.