So! Day five of the playoffs, and the Bearded Ladies have already had some scheduling confusion. So you get two, two, two writers in one recap post. The first is Carolyn’s, the rest are Merrin’s, and you’re very welcome for all this stunning coverage.
Game 1 – Capitals vs Islanders
Final Score – Caps 1 – Isles 2
This is the game I had been waiting for between these two teams. The Isles looked dominant in the first period, but Braden Holtby (who missed game two with an illness) was on point, stopping everything that came his way. Kyle Okposo took a leaf out of Matt Martin’s hard-hitting book and laid a good hit on Fehr that sent him into the boards, and unfortunately off to the room. Fehr wouldn’t return for the rest of the game.
Not too long after that Cal “4th Line Best Line” Clutterbuck would try his hand, running hard into the Caps’ Johansson, who then limped off the ice. The period ended soon after, giving Washington a chance to catch their breath and hopefully recover from their 30% possession.
Things were slightly more even in the 2nd, Corsi wise anyway, but finally the Islanders efforts paid off with a good screen and tip-in courtesy of the same Kyle “I wanna be like a better Matt Martin” Okposo.
Down, but not out, the Caps finally showed up in the third period, and with six minutes left in the game, Nicklas Backstrom scored to tie it up. We’re headed to OT, folks! Better get those snacks! Put some more beer in the fridge! We’re in for the long haul!
15 seconds into OT, John Tavares does what he does best – heading straight for the net and working for that garbage goal. He bats at a rebound off of Holtby’s pads and it takes a sharp angle into the net at the far post. Isles win, and lead the series 2-1.
What we learned: Man, that Leddy kid is good. I feel sorry for the team that had to trade him. *Jim Halpert stare*
Game 2: Blackhawks vs Predators
Final score: Blackhawks 4 – Predators 2
There’s something about Scott Darling that makes me want to climb mountains and yodel down my devotion to him. He’s just so frickin good but also so frickin humble and so frickin happy to be where he is that he doesn’t really care what happens, he’s just going to do everything he can to win but also have fun and just, you know, play hockey. For more on Darling’s backstory, read this article about overcoming his demons.
I bring Darling up straight off the bat because a) I adore him and you should know and b) as mentioned in previous recaps, Crawford isn’t having the best playoffs so far and c) Darling’s game yesterday afternoon was excellent. Yes, he let in two stinkers, and one of those from Mike “Human Piece of Garbage” Ribiero, but once he got in his groove he made all the right moves. I don’t have a gif of this moment, but the multiple pad stops he made in the third while one of the Preds is actually trying to kick his pad (and the puck) over the goal line were fantastic.
However, the biggest save of the night probably goes to Ryan Ellis for keeping a shot from Patrick Sharp out of the Preds’ empty net.
Marian Hossa also had a big night. The only player on the ice who had more shots than he did was Viktor “I’ll Make You Regret It” Stalberg, and it’s almost a crime that he ended the night without a goal. (He did have two assists, and Stalberg had zero anything, so you know, whatever.) The first assist was on the first goal of the night, and I’d like to force the Dallas “Never Met a Puck I Couldn’t Dump for a Line Change” Stars to watch it over and over again. Hossa was on his way to the bench. He wasn’t even on the ICE when Desjardins buried his pass, but he read the situation going off, passed the puck to Desjardins, went off for his line change, and then watched one of his teammates participate in the hockey hug that was rightfully his. Beautiful.
The second was a beautiful drop pass to Toews who had no problem getting it past Pekka Rinne. Seriously, it was a really pretty pass.
Future Captain Brandon Saad scores the game winner to bring them ahead, and Brent “Be Still My Heart” Seabrook seals the deal. Hawks take a 2-1 lead in the series.
What we learned: The depth in goal for the Hawks (and the fact that Darling is perfectly capable of winning them some games) is going to be a huge asset moving forward. The Preds really miss Shea Weber. Merrin, however, doesn’t.
Game 3: Senators vs Canadiens
Final score: Senators 1 – Canadiens 2
So the Senators need to win four in a row to keep my bracket alive. It’s not unheard of, I suppose (looking at you, Hawks) but it is unlikely? Very unlikely. Goodbye, Merrin’s bracket. You were fun while you lasted.
The Hamburglar storyline was fun while it lasted, I suppose, but Ottawa seems to have packed their masks away in favor of veteran goaltender Craig “I Only Eat Veggie Wraps” Anderson, who did everything for the Sens yesterday but actually win the game. FORTY-NINE shots and only two goals. The Senators weren’t slouching either, they had 34 shots of their own (these two teams are like 90% offense, what a wild ride.) but hey, the Canadiens have probable Hart/Vezina (or either . . . both . . . idek) Winner Carey Price in their net.
Senators sure seem to have their PK figured out though. The Habs could have won the game on any of 6 PP opportunities they had, but couldn’t seem to get that done. In fact, the Sens came one stunning glove grab away from scoring shorthanded on the MacArthur hooking penalty.
One stunning moment that wasn’t actually a penalty but probably should have been: Erik “Owl King” Karlsson flattens Nathan “On the List of Merrin’s Boos” Beaulieu with an open ice shoulder check. Look, do I believe that Karlsson was targeting Beaulieu’s head? No, of course not. But do I agree with a couple of assessment’s I’ve seen, that this was safe and legal shoulder-on-shoulder contact? Hell no.
But you decide.
Dale “Biggest Goals in Biggest Games” Weise scores on an assist from Brandon “That Was Probably An Accident” Prust late in the third to force OT, and then again in OT for the win.
What we learned: There is a limit to my love for Karlsson.
Game 4: Flames vs Canucks
Final score: Flames 4 – Canucks 2
You guys. I can’t stop laughing over this series. It’s like a train wreck where the worst injuries are like a bunch of bruises but there’s millions in property damage. And probably an alien.
Brandon “You Read That Right” Bollig puts the Flames on the board first. BRANDON B O L L I G.
Does it really matter what happened next? The series has been won. The game is over, Canucks go home.
Except there’s still like 54 minutes of hockey to play. Matthias scores to tie later in the first, but Calgary pulls ahead again leading into the second and, wonder of wonders, actually maintains a lead. (I sound incredulous not because it’s Calgary, but because any team anywhere actually held on to a lead in this playoffs.)
No scoring in the second, the real fun was in the third.
Two minutes into the third, 18-year-old Sam Bennett scores what eventually became the game winning goal on his first career and first playoff goal. He was literally cleaning up garbage in front of the net, but hey, it’s a game against the Canucks.
Sean “look at my sweet toaster” Monahan scores to make it 4-1 and right before the inevitable fights break out, Jannik Hansen scores to make it 4-2. Whatever, Canucks. Too little too late.
Then Alexander Burrows does what Alexander “fight dirty still lose” Burrows does and boards precious rookie Johnny Gaudreau. Flames take exception to this because why wouldn’t they, and brawls ensue.
(ps I hope it doesn’t stop, it’s basically making the entire thing worth watching.)
What we learned: Brawling and playing hockey make you sweat.