Archive for April, 2015

Capitals and Rangers going at it again in playoffs (The Associated Press)

By at 29 April, 2015, 3:11 pm

The New York Rangers and Washington Capitals are becoming one of the NHL’s annual spring attractions. The last two have gone seven games, with the Rangers winning both in 2012 and ’13. ”It’s just a rivalry between the two teams, facing each other,”…

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Did Islanders, Senators blow it by not pulling goalie fast enough? (Puck Daddy)

By at 29 April, 2015, 9:48 am

The Ottawa Senators and New York Islanders were facing elimination in their first-round series when good fortune finally smiled upon them late in the third period, trailing by a goal.  For the Senators in Game 6, Jacob de la Rose of the Montreal Canadiens was called for tripping at 16:46 of the third. For the Islanders in Game 7, John Carlson of the Washington Capitals took (quite hilariously) the only penalty of the night, a roughing call at 17:06. In both cases, the Senators and Islanders had a question to face: If and when to pull their goaltender. The Senators were facing a locked-in Carey Price, who remained locked-in as the Canadiens won Game 6 by a 2-0 count. The Islanders were facing their own fatigue and offensive ineffectiveness, as the Capitals were en route to a 2-1 win and an NHL record for fewest shots allowed in a Game 7 with 11. But neither Dave Cameron nor Jack Capuano pulled their goalies to start the power plays, or early on in them. Cameron had an extra skater out for at least the last 30 seconds of the power play. Capuano let nearly the entire man advantage go without pulling Jaroslav Halak. “We considered pulling him. Good thing we didn’t because they would have scored in about a minute. We had our chances. For the whole series, we couldn’t get [the power play] going,” he said. Capuano’s precognitive abilities being what they are, these scenarios have always made us mental: Why are some coaches so timid to pull their goaltenders late in the game? Sure, you have some wack-a-doo guys like Patrick Roy who would probably pull his goalie three minutes into the first if it meant getting a 6-on-4, but most of them are like Cameron and Capuano – even with their backs against the wall, they play it safe. Yes, we know: No icing on penalty kills. And frankly, pulling your goalie doesn’t work far often than it does. In the 2014-15 regular season, teams pulled their goalies 1,282 times. They scored 135 goals with an empty net, and gave up a goal 292 times for a goal differential of minus-157. (This includes situations with a delayed penalty on the opposing team.) But still: 135 times, a team scored a goal with six attackers. It works, even without the benefit of a power play.  A research paper by David Beaudoin and Tim Swartz of Simon Fraser University on the 2007-08 season found that teams playing 6-on-5 score a goal every 8.5 minutes, which is far better than the 28.6 minutes for home teams and 26.2 minutes for road teams at 5-on-5.  From the Boston Globe, another study: Indeed, mathematical studies indicate that the extra-man gambit works often enough to justify it. Andrew Thomas, who studied data from four NHL seasons during the past decade for an article in the Journal of Quantitative Analysis, found that 30 percent of the goals scored with the cage empty were tallied by the attacking side. War On Ice, the brilliant NHL stats site, ran 100,000 simulations to see whether the trailing team ties the game before the leading team scores another goal into an empty net. They found that the probability the trailing team ties the game is at its apex at 180 seconds remaining in the game when compared to the probability that the other team scores.

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New York Islanders are Brooklyn-bound following Game 7 loss (The Associated Press)

By at 28 April, 2015, 2:55 pm

It’s time for the New York Islanders to lower the Hall of Fame and Stanley Cup banners from the rafters, and pack up their pucks and sticks. The Islanders are leaving behind their boisterous and ”Yes! Yes! Yes!” chanting fans at Nassau Veterans Memo…

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Isles defenseman Hamonic reveals he tore left knee ligament (The Associated Press)

By at 28 April, 2015, 2:50 pm

UNIONDALE, N.Y. (AP) — New York Islanders defenseman Travis Hamonic says he sustained a torn left knee ligament that forced him to miss the team’s first-round playoff series against Washington.

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Rangers gearing up for physical series with Capitals (The Associated Press)

By at 28 April, 2015, 2:49 pm

The New York Rangers know exactly what to expect from the Washington Capitals in the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. It’s going to be physical, and it’s going to take another big defensive effort such as the one the Rangers got against Sidne…

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‘New era’ for DC’s NHL, NBA teams? Caps coach Trotz says so (The Associated Press)

By at 28 April, 2015, 12:35 am

There they were, right in the front row, wearing red hockey jerseys, pounding on the glass just like any fan might, and urging other spectators to cheer loudly for the NHL’s Capitals in Game 7: Paul Pierce and a trio of other players from the NBA’s Wiz…

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Dose: So Long Island (Rotoworld)

By at 28 April, 2015, 12:30 am

Tuesday’s Hockey Dose covers the Capitals topping the Isles and Tampa Bay pushing Detroit to Game 7.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov, Capitals’ Game 7 hero, ‘has the joy in his game’ (Puck Daddy)

By at 27 April, 2015, 10:22 pm

WASHINGTON, DC – He’s not jaded, nor overwhelmed by the expectations and disappointments that eventually crush the confidence of the Washington Capitals in seemingly every postseason. Maybe Evgeny Kuznetsov didn’t realize Game 7 is where the Capitals’ journeys end, where their Stanley Cup dreams wither and die. Or maybe he’s just too new, too fresh and too blissful to know better. “He has joy in his game. Joy in playing, joy in being at the rink,” said coach Barry Trotz of Kuznetsov, who sent the Capitals to the Metro Division finals against the New York Rangers with a Game 7 goal that eliminated the New York Islanders, 2-1.  “We always grow up and lose the boy in us, but he’s got the boy in his game and his attitude, and he’s got the maturity of a good young man.” His game-winning goal captured that dichotomy. There was Kuznetsov on the right wing boards. A veteran player might not think to just flip on the jets and skate to the middle of the ice like he’s being controlled in a video game, the middle of the ice where few players had room to operate all night. But Kutznetsov went there. A veteran player might have fired from the slot, hoping to beat the seemingly unbeatable Jaroslav Halak while square to him. But Kuznetsov kept the puck on his stick. “More patience that 95 percent of the guys in the league [in that spot],” said defenseman Brooks Orpik. He waited, until Halak was sprawled in his crease, until Johnny Boychuck had toppled to the ice in desperation. He waited to find the room to fire the puck where he wanted to put it – top corner. “I saw the room between goalie and post. I saw Boychuck go down. That’s why I shot high,” he said. It was a perfect shot, at the perfect time: 12:42 of the third period, breaking a 1-1 tie, and eventually serving as the game-winner. And it was a move out of the mind of a 22-year-old player, with the poise of a scorer mature beyond his years. “It’s just the way he creates. Some guys give up the puck earlier. He’s just got so much confidence right now. He creates time and space. He’s probably the most improved guy from start of the season until now,” said Orpik. This is the first Stanley Cup postseason for Kuznetsov, who was drafted No. 26 overall in the 2010 Entry Draft but only debuted with the Capitals last season. He spent a few seasons in the KHL, where he earned big money and some viral video fame with a collection of goal celebrations that ranged from playing dead to rowing an invisible kayak. Some assumed he’d be a showboat in the NHL. Trotz said that’s been anything but the case. “Kuzy’s one of those guys that loves to laugh, but he’s very, very humble. He wants to learn. He’s a student of the game,” he said. His improvement through the season has lead to dynamic start this his playoffs: Three goals and an assist in seven games against Jaroslav Halak and to the Islanders.He briefly played with Halak last season when the goalie joined the Capitals via trade, and learned a bit about his tendencies. “He always asked us to shoot as hard as we could in practice. To simulate a game shot,” said Kuznetsov. “I understand that this is a good goalie. But [Braden] Holtby played better. And this is why we have Holtby.” It appeared it might be “same old Capitals” after Holtby gave up a soft goal to Frans Nielsen to tie the game. But Kuznetsov is the kind of difference maker all of those other Capitals teams that failed to win Game 7s – they were 1-4 on home ice in them since 2008 – lacked. “He’s so good with the puck and not scared of making plays either. Beautiful goal there,” said center Nicklas Backstrom. “He’s a young guy. He’s learning every day about the system and the game over here. He’s taken a lot of steps since last year. We need everyone on board, everyone to produce.” In the most important moment of the season, that’s what Kuznetsov did, in front of friends and family that came to watch him at Verizon Center. And now, they have a chance to watch him battle the Rangers in Round 2, perhaps even traveling to Madison Square Garden for Game 1 later this week.  “I know tickets are very expensive,” said Kuznetsov. MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS  

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Kuznetsov’s goal leads Capitals past Isles 2-1 in Game 7 (The Associated Press)

By at 27 April, 2015, 10:02 pm

Unburdened by the catastrophes of past Game 7s littering the Washington Capitals’ playoff history, rookie Evgeny Kuznetsov delivered a breathtaking, series-clinching goal that got Alex Ovechkin’s seal of approval. ”Pretty sick,” Ovechkin declared. …

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