Watch and listen to Flames’ Matt Stajan score series-winning goal while mic’d up

Matt Stajan (Todd Korol/Getty Images)

One of the great things about the playoffs every season is the NHL putting microphones on players to capture the audio from down on the ice. And every so often, they happen to mic up the perfect player in the perfect game. Case in point: Matt Stajan was mic’d up for Game 6 and scored the goal that clinched the series victory for the Calgary Flames late in the third period.

The goal itself is highlight enough — a perfectly placed wristshot that found the top corner behind Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller — but listening to the Flames crowd explode from ice level after Stajan’s shot hits the back of the net is outstanding. Check it out below: Read more

Canucks offense comes alive too late, Flames take first-round series in six

Sean Monahan celebrates with Jiri Hudler (Todd Korol/Getty Images)

While they weren’t huge underdogs coming into the first round, the Calgary Flames six-game series victory over the Vancouver Canucks could be considered somewhat of an upset. But it wasn’t so much the Flames that beat the Canucks as it was the Vancouver offense that let their team down.

Through the first five games of the series, the Canucks registered just 10 goals and failed to take advantage of any defensive lapses the Flames had shown. For much of the season, Calgary was a subpar possession team, finishing in the bottom five of the league, while Vancouver fared much better, placing in the top 20. If there was anything the Canucks could have relied upon to take the series, it was that eventually the run of play would tilt hard enough in their favor that goals would come.

However, over the course of a seven game series, even favorable underlying numbers couldn’t do much to rectify a Canucks attack that failed to find holes in the Flames’ goaltending when it mattered most. When this series is looked back upon, it won’t be Vancouver’s choice to start Eddie Lack over Ryan Miller that changed their fate, but rather the Canucks’ inability to capitalize on their opportunities. Read more

Blackhawks pull off yet another incredible comeback, down Predators 4-3 to take series

Duncan Keith (Bill Smith/Getty Images)

It’s not often a team pulls their starting goaltender in the first period and goes on to win the game. It’s twice as rare that a team does it twice in one playoff series and skates away with two wins, let alone the series victory. Somehow, though, that’s exactly what the Chicago Blackhawks managed.

Early in the first period, the Chicago defense crumbled under the pressure from Nashville and Scott Darling, chosen to be the Game 6 start over Corey Crawford, was bombarded with quality scoring chance after quality scoring chance, surrendering three goals on 12 shots in 11:16. After the run of goals by the Predators – they were up 3-1 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the first period – Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville yanked Darling in favor of Crawford. From that moment on, Chicago controlled the play. Read more

Patrick Kane scores with six seconds left in first period on seeing-eye slapshot

PatrickKane

Blackhawks star Patrick Kane was questionable before the first-round series between Nashville and Chicago after having missed seven weeks with a broken clavicle. Surprisingly, Kane was in the lineup when the series began and his impact has been huge.

Through five games, Kane had found the score sheet in all but Game 3. Coming into a pivotal Game 6, after Chicago has scratched back from a 3-1 deficit to make it 3-2 late in the first period, the Blackhawks were set up in the Predators’ zone with next to no time remaining in the first frame. Brad Richards won the faceoff back to Duncan Keith, who touched it along to Kane. Without hesitation, Kane leaned into a slapshot that wasted no time finding the back of the net: Read more

Decision to go with Mrazek showing Babcock’s brilliance as Detroit takes Game 5

Petr Mrazek (Scott Audette/Getty Images)

There weren’t many teams that had legitimate goaltending questions heading into the post-season. Of those that did, however, were the Red Wings, but before the first-round series between Detroit and Tampa Bay, Mike Babcock named Petr Mrazek his starter. Five games later, the choice couldn’t look much more genius.

Through the first three games of the series, Mrazek allowed six goals and had completely shut down the powerful Lightning offense in Game 3, posting a 22-save shutout in the Red Wings’ first home game of the post-season. In Game 4, for almost the entire outing, it was much of the same. However, following a few defensive breakdowns after Mrazek had shut the door for nearly the entirety of the contest, Tampa Bay found the back of the net three times in quick succession and shockingly stole an overtime win.

In Game 5, though, the 23-year-old Czech netminder posted a 28-save clean sheet, his second in five games, and almost single-handedly pushed the Red Wings to a 3-2 series lead. Read more

Red Wings’ Riley Sheahan tees off on one-timer, scores game-winning goal late in first period

Riley Sheahan (Scott Audette/Getty Images)

There will eventually be a season in Detroit where there isn’t a new, young, fresh-faced forward scoring goals when the Detroit Red Wings need it most. Unfortunately for the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2014-15 isn’t going to be that season.

Late in the first period of Game 5, with the first-round series between Detroit and Tampa Bay tied 2-2, 23-year-old Riley Sheahan set up on his off-wing on the power play. And, from the spot where big time snipers like Alex Ovechkin and Steven Stamkos usually set up to uncork one-timers with the man advantage, Sheahan received a perfect pass in his wheelhouse from Niklas Kronwall and blasted it home. Blink and you’ll miss it: Read more

Islanders refuse to quit, force Game 7 with near perfect effort in Game 6

Cal Clutterbuck is congratulated after his empty net goal. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

If Saturday afternoon’s contest between Washington and New York does go down as the final NHL game played at Nassau Coliseum, the hometown fans were treated to an incredible effort from their Islanders. And in the tradition of the once-dynastic Islanders, the game was fast, physical and ended with New York coming out on top.

Down 3-2 in a series that has been as aggressive and as heated as any in these playoffs, the Islanders came out and played the kind of game they needed to against the Capitals. Aside from a few small lapses, broken defensive plays and instances of undisciplined behavior, there weren’t many moments in Saturday’s tilt where it didn’t somehow feel as though Game 6 was going to fall in favor of the Islanders. Read more

Watch Ovechkin crush Tavares from behind, Kulemin score as play continues

Nikolay Kulemin (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Entering the third period of what could very well be the final game at Nassau Coliseum, the New York Islanders and Washington Capitals were tied 1-1. Through the first 10 minutes of the final frame, the two squads traded chances, but it wasn’t until after a massive, questionable hit by Alex Ovechkin that the Islanders grabbed the lead.

Just after the midway mark of the third, with John Tavares chasing the puck into the Washington zone and dealing with back pressure from Karl Alzner, Ovechkin finished a check on Tavares that left the Isles’ captain laying on the ice. Following the violent hit, however, the puck found its way to New York blueliner Nick Leddy who made an outstanding pass to Nikolay Kulemin who patiently waited out Braden Holtby to bury what stood as the game-winning goal: Read more