Senators’ incredible run close to over after heartbreaking Game 3 loss

Craig Anderson lies on the ice following a goal against in Game 3 (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Sadly, the Ottawa Senators may have used up every last bit of magic just getting to the playoffs. Three games into their first-round series with Montreal, Ottawa is on the brink of elimination.

With how close the games have been to this point, it would be foolish to outright write off the Senators’ chances going forward, but their chances couldn’t look much more bleak. Whether it is the stellar play of Canadiens’ netminder Carey Price or that Ottawa had to scratch and claw to get to the post-season, it feels as though the Habs, who skated to one of the best regular season records in the league, are simply overmatching the Senators. Read more

Dale Weise buries OT winner to put Ottawa on brink of elimination

Dale Weise (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Late in the third period of Game 3, with Montreal down 1-0 to the Ottawa Senators, Canadiens coach Michel Therrien trotted out a line consisting of Torrey Mitchell, Brandon Prust and Dale Weise. With less than six minutes remaining in the frame, Weise cashed in to tie the game which sent the contest to overtime.

If the premonition to throw that line together and run them out with time winding down in the third looked brilliant on Therrien’s part, he looked like an evil genius in the extra frame. Weise took only five shifts in the entire third period, but in overtime, Therrien put his rugged winger out three times before the halfway point of the period.

As the 10-minute mark loomed, Weise picked up the puck in the neutral zone, skated into the Senators’ zone, pulled up and fired a quick wristshot past Ottawa netminder Craig Anderson: Read more

Erik Karlsson destroyed Nathan Beaulieu with a huge open-ice hit

Erik Karlsson (Andre Ringuette/Getty Images)

Forget the Battle of Ontario. The first-round series between Montreal and Ottawa is creating a fierce and incredibly physical rivalry between the Canadiens and Senators. No one has felt the effects of the opening-round matchup quite like Canadiens defenseman Nathan Beaulieu.

Early in the second period of Sunday’s Game 3, after a first frame that was the embodiment of crash and bang hockey, Senators blueliner Erik Karlsson laid a wallop on Beaulieu that his ancestors felt. The best part? It was a textbook hard, clean body check: Read more

Which Game 1 loser faces the most pressure to win Game 2?

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

If you’ve just lost Game 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs or if you’re annoyed at the header of this article, you’re likely thinking, “Sheesh, it’s one game, this is not news, mountain out of a molehill,” etc. And you’d be right in certain cases. You’d be wrong in others, however. No two series are created equal, and some Game 1 defeats were more alarming than others.

Here’s a brief rundown of the Game 1 losers, ranked from most justified in panicking to least.

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NHL gets exactly what it wants in Montreal-Ottawa series – a gong show

P.K. Subban and Mark Stone  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Well, the old-time hockey guys in the NHL’s head office must be doubling over patting themselves on the back right about now. They’ve instantly created a gong show in the first-round series between the Montreal Canadiens and Ottawa Senators. And in a league that openly admits that it sells hate, it just got exactly what it wants.

No matter that its ludicrous decision not to suspend P.K. Subban for his two-handed slash to the hand of Mark Stone has suddenly hijacked this series. Between now and Friday night for Game 2, few people will be talking about how the Canadiens fourth line depth players, who had been dormant for much of the season, rescued them in Game 1. Fewer will be talking about how arguably the two best goaltenders in the NHL going into the playoffs, Carey Price and Andrew Hammond, have to be much better in Game 2 than they were in Game 1. Read more

P.K. Subban’s slash: shock and awesome all in one

Subban2

One small whack in the playoffs, one giant gouge for playoff-kind.

P.K. Subban’s tomahawk to Mark Stone’s wrist ignited an inferno of what is so controversial and so awesome about the NHL playoffs. It was a microcosm of a hockey fan’s favorite two months of the season, all captured in a few moments of the second period of the first game of Round 1.

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Canadiens’ P.K. Subban ejected after slashing Sens star Mark Stone – did the referees get it right?

Carey Price and P.K. Subban (Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images)

You know that, no matter what else happens in every Stanley Cup tournament, there will always be at least one controversy related to NHL officiating. If it’s not a personal relationship between a referee and a particular player some fans and media focus on, it’s a debatable call that earns the ire of the public (and often, the team on the wrong end of the call). And it didn’t take very long at all for that officiating controversy to take place in the 2015 post-season: in the second period of Game 1 of Montreal’s first-round series against Ottawa Wednesday night, Canadiens star defenseman P.K. Subban was assessed a five-minute major penalty for slashing and a game misconduct.

The ejection of Subban enraged Habs fans, especially after Sens phenom Mark Stone – who, after being slashed by Subban on the penalized play, writhed around in great pain and left the game – returned to action a few minutes later. But if you think Subban was wronged to be given so harsh a penalty, don’t blame the officials. Blame the league and its philosophy of basing punishments on injury and thus encouraging players to embellish.

To be certain, Subban’s slash of Stone’s arm was (a) a two-hander; (b) vicious; and (c) could easily have caused serious damage to him: Read more