Capitals/Penguins preview

The Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins will face off in round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs. Captains Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby will reignite a big rivalry.  The Capitals come off a 6 game series with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Penguins beat the New York Rangers in 5 games.  This will be the second time the 2 captains played in the playoffs against each other with the Penguins winning in 7.  Washington goalie Braden Holtby leads the postseason in save%, GAA, and shutouts.  The Penguins starting goalie is rookie Matt Murray who was dominant vs New York.  The Penguins have the best powerplay and goals/game this postseason although the Capitals lead in GA/game.  Both teams have good defensive cores.  The Penguins have Kris Letang, Olli Maatta and Trevor Daley as their best 3 blueliners.  The Capitals have John Carlson, Matt Niskanen and Karl Alzner.  The Penguins offense has help from rookies Conor Sheary, Tom Kuhnhackl and Bryan Rust as well as from veterans Patric Hornqvist, Carl Hagelin, and former Capital Eric Fehr.  The Capitals have Justin Williams, Mike Richards, and Jason Chimera.  Finally, we have the X factors.  It\’s T.J. Oshie for the Capitals and Phil Kessel for the Penguins.

Islanders/Lightning round 2 preview

    After John Taveres\’ goal in 2OT on Sunday, April 24, the New York Islanders will face off in round 2 of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Both teams will play without key players.  The Lightning will play without former Rocket Richard winner, multi-time all star and captain Steven Stamkos and defenseman Anton Stralmon.  Stralmon lost in the Stanley Cup finals to the Los Angeles Kings as a member of the New York Rangers in 2014.  The Lightning do have Ryan Callahan and Bryan Boyle who were with Stralmon in 2014 with Callahan being the captain.  The Islanders are missing Mikhail Grabovski, Anders Lee, and goalie Jaroslav Halak.  With the Stamkos injury, red hot Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson will play an important role.  The Islanders will have help from rookies Shane Prince and Alan Quine.  Thomas Greiss will be in net for New York.  When Islanders captain John Tavares was the first overall pick in 2009, defenseman Victor Hedman was number two for Tampa Bay.  To close out the preview are the X factors.  They are Brock Nelson for the Islanders and Nikita Kucherov for the Lightning.

Hanks for Nothing! King pulled again as Rangers seasons ends 4/24/16

     On Saturday, the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New York Rangers 6-3.  After the 2nd period, goalie Henrik Lundqvist was pulled for the second consecutive time in the postseason.  Penguins rookies Bryan Rust and Conor Sheary combined for 3 goals in the second in the win.  Fomer Ranger Carl Hagelin also scored in the win.  The Penguins will play the winner of the Washington Capital and Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.
     While the Rangers lost in New York, the New York Islanders were playing in game 5 of a 2-2 series in Sunrise Florida.  The Islanders were playing the Florida Panthers.  The game had started on Friday and goals by Islanders\’ Frans Nielson and the Panters\’ Aleksander Barkov had the game tied 1-1 going into overtime.  When the Islanders\’ Calvin de Haan threw the puck from the crease, Barkov has an OT penalty shot which Thomas Greiss saved.  The game went to double overtime and Islanders rookie Alan Quine scored a powerplay goal to end the game.  It was the second longest game is Islanders history.  The series will shift to Barlcays Center in Brooklyn at 7pm as the Islanders have a chance to win the series and play the Tampa Bay Lightning in the second round.