UNIONDALE, N.Y. - Chris Kunitz scored his second power-play goal of the game 8:34 into overtime, off a pass from Sidney Crosby, and the Pittsburgh Penguins shook off an early deficit and a late blown lead to beat the New York Islanders 5-4 on Sunday in Game 3 of the first-round series.
The Eastern Conference's top-seeded team rode severe ups and downs in taking a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven matchup.
Pittsburgh trailed 2-0 just 5:41 in but rallied to lead 3-2 before the first period was over. The comeback started with power-play goals just 19 seconds apart by Jarome Iginla and Kunitz.
The Penguins seemed in control in the third period, but New York erased a 4-2 deficit on goals by Kyle Okposo and John Tavares.
Pittsburgh will try to take a commanding 3-1 series lead Tuesday night on Long Island.
Crosby, who had three assists in his second game back after missing a month because of a broken jaw, drew the decisive penalty against Brian Strait, who held the Penguins captain as he drove the net 33 seconds before the winning goal.
Penguins coach Dan Bylsma used his timeout to rest his power-play unit, and it paid off. Crosby fed Kunitz in the slot for a hard shot that beat goalie Evgeni Nabokov to win it.
WILD 3, BLACKHAWKS 2, OT
ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP)—Jason Zucker scored at 2:15 of overtime to give Minnesota a victory over Chicago, pulling the Wild within 2-1 in the Western Conference quarterfinal series.
Zach Parise scored for the Wild early in the third period, but Duncan Keith got one back for the Blackhawks with 2:46 left in regulation to force the second overtime in three games of this best-of-seven series. Game 4 is here on Tuesday night.
Keith's snap shot glanced off Wild defenceman Marco Scandella and past goalie Josh Harding to make the score 2-2.
But after Matt Cullen ferociously chased the puck along the end boards in the opening action of overtime, Zucker swooped in to surprise Johnny Oduya as the Blackhawks defenceman was about to fight for possession with Cullen.
Zucker's bad-angle shot slipped past goalie Corey Crawford.
SENATORS 6, CANADIENS 1
OTTAWA (AP)—Jean-Gabriel Pageau got his first NHL hat trick to lead Ottawa in a fight-filled victory over Montreal.
The teams combined for 236 penalty minutes and nine players were given a game misconduct.
The Senators have a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series and Game 4 is Tuesday night in Ottawa.
The third period started out with the Senators leading 2-1, but after Pageau's second goal of the night and a Kyle Turris goal at 7:00, emotions overflowed and a line brawl broke out at centre ice.
Pageau, who was born in Ottawa, scored his second of the game at 1:18 of the third period to give the Senators a 3-1 lead.
Turris' goal, his first of the series, at 7:00 put the game out of reach.
On the ensuing faceoff, four different fights broke out.
The Senators ended up with the man advantage and Jakob Silfverberg scored on the power play as he beat Habs goalie Carey Price up high to make it 5-1 only 8 seconds after Turris' goal.
SHARKS 5, CANUCKS 2
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture each scored twice to spoil Cory Schneider's return to the nets for Vancouver and San Jose won its third straight game to open the playoffs, beating the Canucks.
Pavelski scored the first two goals and Couture and Patrick Marleau added scores 9 seconds apart to break the game open early in the third period and give the Sharks a 3-0 series lead.
Couture added a second power-play goal early in the third to end Schneider's night and give him a playoff-best four points for the game. Antti Niemi made 28 saves.
San Jose will attempt to complete the first series sweep in franchise history at home on Tuesday night.
Alex Burrows and Dan Hamhuis scored for the Canucks.
Tomas Tatar is swarmed by his Team Europe teammates.
Author: Chris Tanouye/Getty Images
Team Europe shocks Sweden in overtime, will meet Canada in World Cup final
By: Ken Campbell
Sep 25, 2016
Team Europe looked like an awful idea early on, but Ralph Krueger's group shocked Sweden -- and almost everyone else -- by battling their way to a berth in the World Cup final.
Organizers of the World Cup of Hockey might want to get some kind of anthem together for Team Europe. You know, just in case.
Chances are, even after Europe’s 3-2 overtime win over Sweden in the World Cup of Hockey semifinal Sunday afternoon, the team with no country will not be able to beat Team Canada twice to take the title next week. But given that almost nobody predicted it would get this far, well, you never know.
Who would have thought that eight days after the tournament began, Team Europe would be in the semifinal and Tomas Tatar would score at the 3:43 mark of overtime to send it to the final? Just shows that anything can happen in this game, and sometimes does.
Give Team Europe its due credit. It was taken to the woodshed by Team North America in its first pre-tournament game, then found itself behind 5-1 to the kids after the first period of its second pre-tournament game. But since then, Team Europe has been a consistent, if unspectacular, force in the proceedings.
Against Sweden, Team Europe played the way it had to in order to be successful. It played a cautious style, waiting for its opportunities to create offense off the transition. And it worked, with Marian Gaborik tying the score 1-1 in the second period, then Tatar scoring the winner just 12 seconds into the third period.
The Swedes, on the other hand, have no excuse for the way they played. This is a squad whose senior advisors are Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson and Nicklas Lidstrom. It has some outstanding offensive talent and an explosive defense corps. And it played a style that was passive and boring and, ultimately, destined to fail. And when it happened, anyone who enjoys the more creative side of hockey should have cheered. Loudly.
During an intermission interview with Scott Oake of Hockey Night in Canada after the first period, Gabriel Landeskog summed up the Swedes’ approach to the game, along with pretty much everything that is wrong with hockey. “We kind of stood around waiting for each other,” he said. “But this is the semifinal of the World Cup of Hockey. You’re not going to give them anything just to play a beautiful game.”
It was anything but a beautiful game, but it was enough to send Team Europe to the final of a tournament and put itself in a position almost nobody thought it would be when the tournament started.
Mark Stone sidelined with concussion, ‘will be evaluated daily’ by Senators
By: Jared Clinton
Sep 25, 2016
Ottawa is already without Curtis Lazar in training camp due to mononucleosis, and now the Senators are going to be without Mark Stone due to a concussion. There’s no timeline for the 24-year-old’s return, either.
The Ottawa Senators caught a bad break ahead of training camp when young pivot Curtis Lazar came down with mononucleosis, and the breaks aren’t getting any better.
Senators coach Guy Boucher announced Saturday that Mark Stone has been diagnosed with a concussion, and the 24-year-old winger will be on the shelf day-to-day. Boucher said Stone’s health and his recovery progress will be evaluated daily, but, currently, there’s no timetable for his return. There’s also no word on how exactly the injury occurred, either.
Concern for Stone first arose during the opening day of Senators’ training camp Friday. He was part of the skate early on, but left the ice before the skate was over and did not return. Because of the injury, Stone didn’t take part in Saturday’s practice, and there’s no certainty when he’ll be able to rejoin the Senators.
The only good news in all of this — if you can even call it that — is that the Senators still have nearly three weeks to go before the start of the regular season, and there’s no need to rush Stone back into action. Thankfully, Stone doesn’t have a history of head injuries, either.
Outside of Erik Karlsson, Stone has arguably become the center of Ottawa’s attack in just two short seasons. This past campaign, Stone notched 23 goals and 61 points as a sophomore, finishing behind only Karlsson in scoring for the Senators. It was the second consecutive season Stone surpassed the 20-goal, 60-point plateau, and he appears primed to take another step forward this coming season.
Stone took over a top line role in 2015-16, averaging upwards of 20 minutes per night, and he was one of the top 50 scorers in the entire league at 5-on-5. Stone’s 12 goals and 34 points ranked 48th in 5-on-5 scoring, and his 22 assists ranked 39th among at 5-on-5.
The Hurricanes are going in the right direction, but unless their youngsters step up and they get better goaltending, the playoffs are out of the question this year.
THN is rolling out its 2016-17 Team Previews daily, in reverse order of 2015-16 overall finish, until the start of the season.
THN's Prediction: 7th in Metro
Stanley Cup odds: 68-1
Key additions: Lee Stempniak, RW; Teuvo Teravainen, LW; Bryan Bickell, LW; Viktor Stalberg, LW
Key departures: James Wisniewski, D; Riley Nash, C; Nathan Gerbe, LW; Brad Malone, C
-Can the young defense keep it together? The Hurricanes found their form once rookie blueliners Noah Hanifin, Brett Pesce and Jaccob Slavin took on bigger roles last year, and they’ll need to continue their ascent if Carolina has any shot at the playoffs. Justin Faulk is still the main man on the back end, but all the Hurricanes’ young defensemen have a coach in Bill Peters who believes in them. They already played without a safety net once, so they’re bound to improve. Will there be hiccups along the way? For sure. But the Canes have more work to do up front, so the defense can grow organically without worrying about hurting the result.
-Does Cam Ward have anything left? Although he showed glimpses of his old self in 2015-16, Ward, 32, also got beat up on the scoreboard just as often, if not more. Taking a big pay cut may put his mindset in the right perspective, but there likely won’t be another NHL contract in Carolina for the veteran goaltender once his new two-year pact expires. If anything, he becomes a solid mentor once Alex Nedeljkovic gets a chance to see his first action in an NHL arena.
-Who will step up at center? Jordan Staal and Victor Rask are pencilled in, but the Hurricanes need a youngster to step up, too. Teuvo Teravainen, Elias Lindholm and Sebastian Aho have all played center and wing in their careers, so none can be considered a true NHL pivot just yet. Lindholm must get stronger first, while Aho hasn’t played a shift in the league, so give the inside track to Teravainen. He cut his teeth in Chicago and has the Stanley Cup ring (and scoring heroics) to prove his worth. If none works out, there’s always the 2017 draft class to check out.
Player projections are based off a three-year version of Game Score (which you can read about here) weighted by recency and repeatability and then translated to its approximate win value (Game Score Value Added or GSVA). Team strength was derived from the combined value of every player’s GSVA on a team. The season was then simulated 10,000 times factoring in team strength, opponent strength and rest.
From a statistical perspective, the Carolina Hurricanes are a very interesting team. Last season they finished 11th in score-and-venue adjusted Corsi with a mark of 51.4 percent, and 29th in PDO at 98.3.
Some people are optimistic about Carolina’s chances because of those numbers. The first suggests they do a good job at controlling play, a genuine sign of talent and potential future success, while the second suggests they were a bit unlucky in converting that territorial advantage into results.
While that may be true, it’s likely that the Hurricanes are one of the few exceptions to the rule. One look at their roster and you’ll see why, as this team is pretty low on scoring talent and goaltending ability.
In net is the biggest area of concern as the team inexplicably re-signed Cam Ward, whose .915 save percentabe ranks 49th of 52 goalies who have played 2,500 or more minutes over the last three seasons. That’s not good, and one of the biggest reasons the team has consistently low PDO.
Up front isn’t much better. Over the last three seasons, Carolina has been below seven percent shooting in each season. Their last three seasons rank 77th, 88th and 81st overall respectively. Other than Jeff Skinner, there really isn’t a pure goal scorer on this team and while shot volume is great, the puck needs to go in once in a while.
Only six players on the team have an above average shooting percentage relative to their position. Two of them, Lee Stempniak and Bryan Bickell, are new additions interestingly enough.
There’s some reason for optimism though. The aforementioned Skinner is still young, as are Elias Lindholm, Victor Rask, and Sebastian Aho, three kids with offensive potential ready to blossom. Newly acquired Teuvo Teravainen should greatly help the cause too.
The D is stock full of potential too with fifth overall pick Noah Hanifin as well as last season’s breakout defensive stalwart Jaccob Slavin. With the underrated Justin Faulk as the No. 1, and the young guys ready to step up, the D-corps should be very strong for years to come.
It’ll take time for this team to become one of the East’s best, but they’re on the right path. This year looks to be another difficult one unless the goaltending situation gets figured out, or the team solves it’s scoring woes. They’ve got a solid process down, it’s time to turn it into results.
Down Goes Brown: Five times a team avenged a round robin loss at the World Cup
By: Sean McIndoe
Sep 21, 2016
The history of the World and Canada Cup tournament is filled with surprising round robin results that ended up getting flipped, so don't worry just yet. Unless you're Team USA.
We're two games into the round robin portion of the World Cup, and we've already seen a handful of upsets, with favorites like Russia and the United States already tasting defeat, and in the case of the Americans, already being eliminated. With one game to go and some of the four playoff spots still up for grabs, fans around the world are no doubt panicking over the games their teams let get away.
But while the round robin is obviously important – you have to make the playoffs to win the whole thing – it's worth remembering that the results of individual games don't necessarily tell us much as much as we might think about what will happen in the playoff rounds.
In fact, the history of the World and Canada Cup tournament is filled with surprising round robin results that ended up getting flipped down the line. So in an effort to calm some nerves, here are five times that overreacting to a round robin result would have steered you wrong once the eliminations games began.
1976: Czechoslovakia 1 – Canada 0
In the first ever round robin game in Canada Cup history, Canada made a statement by crushing Finland 11-2. They went on the beat Sweden and the U.S., and they closed out the round with a win over their arch-rivals from the Soviet Union, winning those three games by a combined score of 11-3.
But in between, they dropped a surprising decision to Czechoslovakia. Vladimir Dzurilla outduelled Rogie Vachon at the Montreal Forum, turning aside all 29 shots he faced in a 1-0 win. The game was an instant classic, described at the time as one of the best ever played.
The two teams finished at the top of round robin standings, setting up a best-of-three final. But there was no repeat of Dzurilla's heroics – Team Canada blitzed him for four goals in the first period of the opening game, sending him to the bench and paving the way for a lopsided 6-0 win. Game 2 was more entertaining, with Canada jumping out to a 2-0 lead just three minutes in before a Czechoslovakian comeback set the stage for Darryl Sittler's tournament winner in overtime.
1981: Canada 7 – Soviet Union 3
By 1981, the Soviet Union was coming off a relatively rough stretch of international play. They'd won their usual Olympic gold in 1972 and 1976, but been upset by Team USA's Miracle on Ice squad in 1980, lost the 1972 Summit Series, and failed to even make the final of the 1976 Canada Cup.
When they met Canada in 1981 in the final game of the round robin, both teams were undefeated and battling for first place. The game was tied at 2-2 heading into the third, but Canada erupted for five straight goals in what ended up being a 7-3 laugher. Even with star goaltender Vladislav Tretiak sitting out due to illness, the result was an embarrassing one for the Soviets.
Both teams won their semifinal game to advance to a one-game winner-take-all final in Montreal. With Tretiak back in goal, most fans expected a closer game. Instead, they got an even bigger blowout. But this time, it was the Soviets who ran up the score, earning an 8-1 win and handing Canada what still stands to this day as its most embarrassing international loss.
1984: Soviet Union 6 – Canada 3
Three years after their impressive win, the Soviets looked even more dominant through the round robin portion of the 1984 tournament. Heading into a final game showdown against a struggling Team Canada, they were sporting a 4-0-0 record and looking to wrap up the tournament's top seed. They went on to smother their rivals in an impressive 6-3 win, finishing the round robin with a perfect record and dropping Canada down to fourth place.
That set up another meeting between the two nations in the tournament semi-final, held just three days later in Calgary. After being held to just 17 shots in the round robin, Canada exploded for 41 in the rematch. But Soviet goaltender Vladimir Myshkin stood on his head, and had his team in position to win with a 2-1 lead late in regulation. It took a late goal by Doug Wilson to set up overtime, where Paul Coffey's lunging breakup of a Soviet 2-on-1 set the stage of Mike Bossy's sudden death winner.
Canada went on to sweep Sweden in the final to claim the tournament. It marked the third straight time that the eventual Canada Cup champion had avenged a round robin loss on the way to their title.
1987: Czechoslovakia 4 – Canada 4; Sweden 5 – Soviet Union 3
The 1987 Canada Cup marked the first time that the eventual champion went undefeated through the round robin. That would be Canada, who beat the Soviets in a three-game classic punctuated by Mario Lemieux's historic winner.
But while Canada didn't have any losses to avenge on their way to the title, they weren't perfect in the round robin. And the first blemish came in their opening game, when a rusty Canadian squad blew a third period lead on their way to a 4-4 tie with Czechoslovakia. That was a disappointing result against a team that had gone 0-4-1 in the previous tournament, and raised questions as to whether Canada could defend their crown. Meanwhile, the tournament's other favorite had a disappointing opening of their own, as the Soviets gave up three goals in the first eight minutes while dropping a 5-3 decisions to Sweden.
Both powerhouses recovered well, with each winning three straight before facing each other in the round robin finale and skating to a 3-3 draw. That set up a pair of semifinal rematches, with Canada facing Czechoslovakia and the Soviets drawing Sweden.
This time, the favorites took care of business. Canada started slowly but pumped home four straight goals to take a 5-3 final, while the Soviets jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before eliminating Sweden by a 4-2 score. That set the stage for a final that still stands as perhaps the best international hockey series ever played.
As a side note, the Czechoslovakian goaltender for both of those games against Canada was a 22-year-old kid that most North Americans had never heard of. He eventually made it to the NHL three years later, and turned out to be pretty good. He even got some revenge against Canada at an international tournament over a decade later.
2004: Russia 3 – USA 1; Sweden 4 – Czech Republic 3
Canada didn't have to avenge any round robin losses on their way to the 1991 title, and the United States likewise was a perfect 3-0-0 under the new World Cup format before winning it all in 1996. Canada repeated that feat in 2004, making it four straight Canada/World Cups that have been won by a team that didn't suffer a loss during the round robin. Yes, that's right – it's now been 32 years and counting since a team lost a round robin game and still managed to win this tournament. Wait, this is supposed to be about giving teams that lost in the round robin hope. Forget everything I just mentioned.
But we can still find a couple of revenge games in the 2004 round robin, thanks to that year's, um, interesting format. The tournament featured eight teams, and the playoff round featured… eight teams. Yes, everyone made the playoffs in 2004, with the round robin settling the seeding and nothing else.
That format actually gave us a few interesting moments, like top-seeded Finland needing a goal in the dying minutes to edge winless Germany 2-1. And it also set up a pair of interesting rematches. In the round robin, the defending champion Team USA had dropped its first two games, to Canada and Russia. In the latter game, they fell 3-1 while being outshot 45-21. The 0-2 start didn't hurt their playoff hopes, because of the whole "everyone makes it" thing, but it certainly put a dent in their confidence.
Meanwhile, the Czechs dropped their opener 4-0 to Finland, then fell behind by the same score to Sweden. They came back to at least make that game a respectable 4-3 final, but other than running up the score on Germany in the finale, they didn't come out of the round robin with much room for optimism.
But in the opening round, both teams got a chance at payback, and both took it. The Czechs looked like a different team, shelling Mikael Tellqvist and Team Sweden in a 6-1 win. The Russia/Team USA rematch was a closer affair, with both teams going back and forth, but the Americans held on for a 5-3 win.
Both teams went on to lose in the semifinal, although the U.S. blew a late lead against Finland and the Czechs took Canada to overtime. Canada beat Finland in the one-game final, the year-long NHL lockout began the next day, and the World Cup hasn't been seen since. Twelve years later, we're finally getting another look at the tournament, and another chance to see a tough round robin loss avenged in the playoffs.
At least, that's what teams like Russia, Finland and North America are hoping.
Sean McIndoe has been writing about the NHL since 2008, most recently for ESPN and Grantland. He spends most of his time making jokes on twitter, where you may know him as @downgoesbrown. He appears weekly on TheHockeyNews.com.