The Chicago Blackhawks have drawn even with the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference final thanks to the double-overtime heroics of one-time healthy scratch Antoine Vermette.
Vermette, who sat out Game 3, returned to the lineup to score the 5-4 game-winner 5:37 into the second overtime period on Saturday night.
Patrick Sharp and Teuvo Teravainen did the dirty work on Vermette’s goal, working the puck along the Anaheim boards so Vermette could get wide open and take a swipe at the net from the slot. The Ducks blocked the first shot but Vermette corralled the puck and managed to flip it over Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen from the side of the net, bringing the marathon game to a close.
Three goals in 37 seconds is pretty impressive, but three goals in 10 minutes is just as good.
The Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks combined to score three goals each in a wild third period of Game 4, as the two teams traded leads before pushing the game to overtime.
The period began with a 1-1 tie but Chicago quickly took the lead on a Jonathan Toews goal made possible by hard work from Marian Hossa. Hossa gobbled up his own rebound in the slot and fed Toews to the left of Frederik Andersen, where the Hawks captain was wide open and ready to bury it in the net.
The Chicago Blackhawks were all over the Anaheim Ducks in the first period of Game 4, but it wasn’t until the Hawks went down shorthanded that they managed to break the game open with a thrilling shorthanded tally from Brandon Saad.
The 22-year-old forced a turnover in the Chicago zone and caught the Ducks flatfooted, darting past a fallen Francois Beachemin and fending off a diving Ryan Kesler swipe before beating Frederik Andersen blocker side with under two minutes remaining.
They were the misfit toys of the NHL – a group with green jerseys and white skates, with an owner that wanted orange pucks, flew his players first class and slapped their names on the back of the jerseys. But even if the California Seals were an NHL oddity, documentary filmmaker Mark Greczmiel loved them all the same.
That’s why when he realized that someone needed to do their due diligence and tell the Seals story, Greczmiel stepped up to the plate. The Seals are the perfect team for a documentary, too, because in a way, their time in the NHL is almost akin to if Slap Shot’s Charlestown Chiefs somehow gained entry to the league.
“There’s a gentlemen named Brad Kurtzberg who I interviewed, he wrote a book about the Seals called ‘Shorthanded,’ which is great. His quote was, ‘This was a franchise that could possibly go wrong, did go wrong.’ They were never boring, they lost a lot of games, but they were never boring on or off the ice.” Read more
Lost amid news of the Toronto Maple Leafs hiring Mike Babcock were reports of the Boston Bruins hiring a new GM. Over a month after firing Peter Chiarelli, the Bruins promoted assistant GM Don Sweeney.
The Boston media wasted little time dreaming up “to-do” lists for Sweeney. Along with re-signing restricted free agent defenseman Dougie Hamilton and deciding if Claude Julien stays or goes as head coach, The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa and the Boston Herald’s Stephen Harris agreed a decision must be reached over left winger Milan Lucic’s future with the Bruins. Read more
He lines up on the blueline, but make no mistake about it: Keith Yandle’s job is to score points.
He’s been doing exactly that for the Blueshirts lately, fulfilling the high expectations that came with him when he was acquired from Arizona at the trade deadline. GM of the Year candidate Glen Sather paid a hefty price for Yandle in the form of two prospects and first- and second-round picks, but that deal is paying off in this third round of the playoffs.
Yandle scored a goal and added two assists in the Rangers’ 5-1 win against the Lightning on Friday, adding to an already impressive point streak. The 28-year-old now has a goal and five points in his last two games and nine points overall in the playoffs. That’s decent in itself, but the fact he’s scoring now is what matters most.
Connor McDavid provided scouts, fans and NHL GMs with plenty of eureka moments throughout his draft year. But none compared to what he did April 10 in a playoff game against the London Knights.
McDavid calmly, casually assaulted the OHL’s most prestigious franchise with five goals, leading his Erie Otters to a 7-3 victory. He wasn’t the first mega prospect to score five in a playoff game, but the way he did it bugged many eyeballs out of many skulls. It was just so…easy for him. He scored on a laser wrister through a self-designed screen. He blew past three Knights on a 1-on-3 rush to create his own breakaway. He picked a defenseman’s pocket and stuffed home a puck in the blink of an eye. He even scored accidentally when a Knight pokechecked the puck into his own goal, for Pete’s sake.
The performance carved McDavid once and for all into an echelon above Jack Eichel as the surefire No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft. McDavid, by all accounts, is a generational talent, the most hyped player since Sidney Crosby, following in the footsteps of Eric Lindros, Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky. But how do we know McDavid’s game will translate into NHL superstardom? What evidence can we glean by looking at prior generational talents?
The best expertise comes from those who rubbed shoulders with the greats, so we turned to two of them for help: Hall of Famer and Carolina Hurricanes GM Ron Francis and probable Hall of Famer turned Pittsburgh Penguins player development coach Mark Recchi.
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Matt Carle will be watching Friday’s Game 4 from the sidelines following a hit he took in Game 3 from New York Rangers center Derek Stepan.
Carle, who has suited up in each of the Lightning’s post-season games during their current run, left Game 3 following the hit from Stepan and did not return to action Wednesday night. In total, Carle skated 1:36 before he was said to be out with an undisclosed injury. Now, heading into Game 4, it appears that he could be out for longer than Tampa Bay would have hoped. Read more