Check out today’s collection of notable NHL playoff game recaps and news.
NHL Playoff Game Recaps
THE WASHINGTON POST: The Washington Capitals humiliated the Philadelphia Flyers with a lopsided 6-1 victory in Game Three of their best-of-seven opening-round series. It was the first home game for the Flyers since team founder Ed Snider passed away last week. The Capitals took a commanding 3-0 lead in the series, but it came with the loss of defenseman Brooks Orpik, who left the game following a hit by Flyers forward Ryan White. A brawl also broke out late in the third period when Flyers forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare drove Capitals defenseman Dmitry Orlov head-first into the end boards. Fortunately, Orlov wasn’t seriously hurt on the play. The resulting penalties saw the Capitals add two goals, prompting disgusted Flyers fan to toss souvenir bracelets onto the ice, earning their club a two-minute bench minor.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: This game won’t be fondly remembered by the Flyers or their fans. It’s not as though the Flyers aren’t trying their best in this series, but they’re a rebuilding team going up against a dominant Capitals club. They don’t have the depth in talent to match up favorably against the Caps, and that was painfully apparent in Game Three. That’s why their frustration boiled over and cost them even more on the scoreboard. The Flyers might be able to earn a face-saving win in Game Four, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Capitals sweep this series. As for Orpik, he had to be helped from the ice and didn’t return. We should learn more about his condition today.
LOS ANGELES TIMES: Tanner Pearson’s overtime goal gave the Los Angeles Kings a 2-1 win over the San Jose Sharks, preventing the latter from taking a 3-0 series lead. Sharks center Joe Thornton opened the scoring but the Kings got that one back on a goal by Anze Kopitar.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Game Four will be crucial, especially for the Sharks. Having held a 2-0 series lead, their confidence could take a beating if the Kings rally back to tie the series. It certainly won’t settle the nerves of their fans, who have painful memories of the Sharks blowing a 3-0 series lead to the Kings two years ago.
TWINCITIES.COM: The Minnesota Wild rallied back from an early 2-0 deficit to down the Dallas Stars 5-3, with team captain MIkko Koivu netting the game winner and Jason Pominville scoring twice. The Stars lead the series 2-1.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Wild showed a lot of character and determination in this one. They were listless in the first two games and in danger of falling into a 3-0 series deficit. They needed their best players to answer the call and they did. The Stars didn’t help matters with their sloppy defensive play.
NHL Playoff Headlines
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES/STLTODAY.COM: Several of the Chicago Blackhawks’ best forwards (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Andrew Ladd) have been held scoreless against the St. Louis Blues, whose top line (Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera) has given the Hawks fits in this opening-round series.
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS/TRIBLIVE.COM: New York Rangers captain Ryan McDonagh (right hand injury) surprised his teammates by skating in his first full practice since being sidelined two weeks ago, but he remains doubtful for Game Three of their series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Meanwhile, it’s uncertain if Penguins starter Marc-Andre Fleury (concussion) will suit up for that game. They’re also trying to find suitable linemates for center Evgeni Malkin, who recently returned to the lineup.
THE DETROIT NEWS: By avoiding a game-ending fight with Tampa Bay Lightning forward Brian Boyle, Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader ensured he didn’t risk a suspension for Game Four. Abdelkader claimed he didn’t scrap with Boyle because one of his hands was taped up because of an injury, plus his coach wanted him to avoid fighting.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boyle, the Lightning and their fans believe Abdelkader simply chickened out, especially when his hand injury was tied to suckerpunching Bolts forward Mike Blunden late in Game Two.
MIAMI HERALD: The Florida Panthers and New York Islanders are enjoying a much-needed day off after playing three games in four nights to open their best-of-seven series.
THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER: After falling behind 2-0 in their series against the Nashville Predators, can the Anaheim Ducks channel their anger to overcome their current deficit? Their anger got the better of them in Game Two, leading to costly penalties.
Other Notable News.
TSN: The coach’s challenge rule is dominating the conversation in the opening round of the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs. Barely a week in, there’s been eight coach’s challenges made, resulting in lengthy game delays.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s nothing the league can do about the rule right now. We have to wait until the offseason for changes to be made. And they will be made.
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: The Blue Jackets intend to make re-signing defenseman Seth Jones their top priority this summer. A contract comparable could be Toronto Maple Leafs blueliner Morgan Rielly, who recently inked a five-year, $30 million deal.
YAHOO SPORTS: After four season with the Ottawa Senators farm team in Binghamton, coach Luke Richardson is moving on. He was hoping to be considered for the Senators’ vacant head-coaching position but was told he’s not on their list.
THE PROVINCE: Travis Green, head coach of the Vancouver Canucks AHL farm team in Utica, could be getting closer to his dream of coaching in the NHL. He has an out-clause in his contract at the end of this season and could attract interest from clubs seeking a new bench boss.