Michael Finewax

Hockey Daily Dose

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Dose: Capitals in Trouble

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I don’t mind when I’m doing the Dose when an Eastern Conference game goes into overtime but I do not like it out West as I struggle to stay up to watch.


But this evening, all four games went into the fourth period and as I am writing this at 1:15 AM ET, I wish I were in bed now (As per James O'Brien, cue the violins).


But I’m not and there was plenty of great action on a busy Monday in the NHL.


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The Washington Capitals are in trouble. They have been known as the team who plays great in the regular season but fold in the playoffs. This could be their toughest season yet.


The Capitals won the President’s Trophy going away this season and had what seemed to be the easiest opening series as they faced the upstart Maple Leafs. The Leafs just squeaked into the playoffs and with eight rookies in their lineup most nights, were likely to be thought of as just happy to get to the dance.


Well Toronto has played them very tough and all three games including Monday’s have gone into overtime. The teams split the games in Washington and when they came to Toronto, the Capitals struck early and hard in the first.


Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin gave the  Capitals a quick 2-0 lead by the 4:49 mark of the first and that certainly quieted down the Maple Leafs crowd who were seeing only their fourth playoff game in the last 13 years.


But the crowd was right back in it later in the first when Auston Matthews, the Calder Trophy favorite, cut the lead in half with his first career playoff goal


The Capitals restored their two goal lead in the second when Evgeny Kuznetsov scored on the short side at 5:39.


But cue the comeback. Nazem Kadri made it a one goal game and William Nylander scored with less than 40 seconds to go in the second to tie it at 3.


There were plenty of chances in the third but no scoring. The game would change near the end of the period when Lars Eller took a high sticking penalty that would crossover into the overtime.


Tyler Bozak became the hero in Toronto when he tipped a pass from Kadri past Braden Holtby and into the cage giving Toronto a 2-1 series lead and sending the Capitals back to their hotel in shock.


Frederik Andersen gave up goals on the first two shots he saw but settled down to make 23 saves on the final 24 shots for the win.


Braden Holtby made 24 saves in taking the loss.


The Leafs outhit the Capitals 42-31 but Washington blocked 24 shots to Toronto’s 11.


Washington had 10 giveaways with Kevin Shattenkirk being credited for five.


OTTAWA 4 BOSTON 3 (Overtime)


Bobby Ryan had a horrible regular season with only 13 goals but all that was forgotten on Monday when he scored the overtime winner on the power play, to give the Senators a 4-3 victory and a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven-series.


The Senators jumped all over the Bruins and took a 3-0 lead by the 3:42 mark of the second.


Mike Hoffman got it started with what may be the prettiest goal of the playoffs as Erik Karlsson sent a 100-plus foot saucer pass that ended up on Hoffman’s stick as he had a breakaway from the blueline in. He tucked the puck past Tuukka Rask on a goal you have to see to believe.


Derick Brassard made it 2-0 25 seconds later and Hoffman scored his second of the game and playoffs and it looked like a rout was on.


But the Bruins struck back with three goals before the end of the second period as Noel Acciari and David Backes scored 42 seconds apart while David Pastrnak with his first, tied the game on the power play at 13:51 of the second.


There was no scoring in the third as Boston outshot Ottawa for the only time in the game, 9-7.


Craig Anderson made 17 saves for the win while Rask stopped 28-of-32 shots in taking the loss.


Charlie McAvoy picked up his first NHL point of his career as he set up Pastrnak’s goal. Do not forget about him next season at your fantasy draft.




You think the Capitals are in trouble? Wait until you see the Blackhawks. They finally were able to score after being shutout in both games at home.


The first period was scoreless and Dennis Rasmussen scored the first Chicago goal of the playoffs 1:05 into the second. Patrick Kane followed suit a bit over 10 minutes after that and it seemed that the Blackhawks were on their way.


But it was the Filip Forsberg show in the third period as he scored both goals to tie the game at 2 and send it into overtime.


Kevin Fiala was the overtime hero as he scored with 3:16 left in the first overtime to give the Predators a commanding 3-0 lead over the top seeded Blackhawks.


It was nice to see Mike Fisher’s wife, Carrie Underwood, sing the national anthem.


Pekka Rinne was outstanding as usual with 34 saves while Corey Crawford was not too shabby as well in the Chicago net as he made 46 saves to keep the Blackhawks in the game. He gave them every chance to win and cannot be blamed for the Chicago misfortunes.


ANAHEIM 5 CALGARY 4 (Overtime)


It certainly looked like an easy Calgary win with a minute to go in the second period as the Flames led 4-1. But the Ducks stormed back and got the game into overtime where Corey Perry became the star of the Ducks, something that has not occurred a lot this season.


John Gibson got the start for the Ducks but he gave up all four goals on only 16 shots before he was replaced by Jonathan Bernier who stopped all 16 shots that came his way for the victory.


Sean Monahan, Kris Versteeg, Sam Bennett and Michael Stone scored for the Flames who are down 3-0 to Anaheim and have lost seven of their last eight games to the Ducks at the Saddledome and haven’t won in 27 contests in Anaheim. It sure looks like an uphill battle.


Kudos if you took Shea Theodore late in the draft as he potted a couple of goals and now has five points in the Ducks first three games. He only had nine points in 34 games this season so if you saw this coming, you were probably his parent.


Nate Thompson and Nick Ritchie also scored for the Ducks. Thompson had two assists as well, as did Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm


T. J. Brodie also had two assists for Calgary.


Corey Perry was a plus-five on the night and he chipped in with an assist as well.


Brian Elliott took the loss as he managed to make only 22 saves.

Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
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