This is what happens, Larry. This is what happens when you snap after a loss and berate your teammate on the ice. Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals were again humbled by the Boston Bruins on Friday night and are now staring into the abyss. Connor McDavid’s Lemieux-like regular season will mean nothing if he doesn’t start scoring in the playoffs, as the Winnipeg Jets now lead that series 2-0, and the Pittsburgh Penguins would like some clarity on the lost helmet rule.
McDavid will win the Hart Trophy, possibly unanimously, but to be an all-time great, you’ve got to win in the playoffs. There isn’t a choice.
Boston Hockey Now: The Capitals completely collapsed and no-showed in Game 4. The Boston Bruins have escorted the Washington Capitals to the brink and lead the series 3-1.
Is this your homework, Larry?
Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Penguins defenseman John Marino was angry in Game 3 after his helmet was knocked off and he had to leave the play. He tried to pick it up on the first pass but didn’t get it, so he raced to the bench. Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan said the team would like clarity on the rule.
You can bet a few more helmets will be knocked off in Game 4 on Saturday afternoon. Jason Zucker had the best quote about the Penguins strategy.
“We don’t want to sit back and get on our heels. We want to try to keep pushing forward and press on with our game. And we know if we push with that pace and that tempo that we can play with (anybody) and we’re going to be hard to handle. So we want to make sure that we’re doing that every shift. And whether they score, we score, doesn’t matter. We just want to make sure we keep pushing…”
NYI Hockey Now: The Penguins put up five goals on the New York Islanders in Game 3. Combined with the softy on Game 2, the Islanders may have to go back to Ilya Sorokin in goal.
Boston Hockey Now: Head coach Bruce Cassidy called the officiating a “head-scratcher” in Game 3. Dmitri Orlov’s hit on Kevan Miller was high and late, but the penalty was downgraded from a five-minute major to a double minor after review. Boston defenseman Kevan Miller was sent to the hospital.
Washington, despite being dominated, got seven power plays (and still couldn’t score more than a goal).
The Capitals roster is about to undergo a dramatic overhaul. And thank you to Ilya, our Russian-issues interpreter who explained what Ovechkin really yelled to Samsonov after Game 3. Let’s just say it was worse, much worse, in a Russian context than the PG-13, Americanized version we were publicly told.
“If you call someone that three times in Russia, be prepared to fight,” Ilya said of Ovechkin’s name-calling to Samsonov.
NHL Playoffs & More National Hockey Now:
Colorado: Nazem Kadri won’t play for a while. The NHL suspended him for EIGHT games following his blindside hit to the head on Justin Faulk.
Eight games in the postseason are akin to 20 games in the regular season. That’s huge.
Sportsnet: The Winnipeg Jets shut down and shut out the vaunted Edmonton Oilers for a 2-0 series lead.
ESPN: The Carolina Hurricanes lost Game 3, and head coach Rod Brind’Amour said his team is fighting Nashville AND the referees.
TSN: You probably saw the John Tavares injury on Thursday night. You may have seen the backlash from professional journalists across Canada who scolded the Toronto Sun and Journal de Quebec for using a shocking photo on their front page. But Tavares was released from the hospital on Friday and urged his teammates to win game 2.
Florida: Goaltending has been one of the big discussions in the Florida vs. Tampa Bay series. Is “Big Game Bob” back for the Florida Panthers and ready to lead them?
Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Islanders. Game 4 is a 3 p.m. start.