Peter Laviolette says the Capitals didn't rest anybody against the Flyers. Everybody who was out had lower-body injuries.

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Russian Machine Never Breaks 08 May, 2021 - 11:02pm 9 views

Did the Penguins clinch the division?

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Penguins have won the MassMutual East Division. With the Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers matchup going to overtime on Saturday night, regardless of the outcome, the Penguins will win the division. CBS PittsburghPenguins Clinch MassMutual East Division Title, Win First Division Championship Since 2014

Flyers vs. Capitals - Game Recap - May 8, 2021 - ESPN

ESPN 09 May, 2021 - 04:20am

Conor Sheary sends the Capitals past the Flyers with a goal in overtime.

WASHINGTON -- — Unable to dress the usual 18 skaters because of injuries and other absences, the Washington Capitals rallied for one accomplishment with the playoffs on the horizon but fell short of another.

Lars Eller tied it with 39.8 seconds left in regulation, Conor Sheary scored the overtime winner and the short-handed Capitals beat the Philadelphia Flyers 2-1 Saturday night to guarantee they'll open the playoffs at home.

Failing to win in regulation gave the East Division title to the rival Pittsburgh Penguins. The Capitals locked up the No. 2 seed in the East and home-ice advantage in the first round but lost star winger T.J. Oshie to injury and got quite the scare with Tom Wilson going down in pain.

“I don’t know how we pulled it off, to be honest," said Eller, who played a career-high 27:06. “I can’t remember ever missing so many guys and guys dropping during the game. Really a lot of guys showed a lot of character today and stepped up in different ways."

Winning this game was quite the accomplishment given Washington’s recent run of injuries and drama surrounding key players. The Capitals couldn't ice a full lineup because they didn't have the salary-cap space, were missing four of their best players and handed the net over to the oldest goaltender to start a game in franchise history.

Oshie's injury was just the latest twist in a nightmarish couple of weeks. He was injured late in the second period when he got tangled up with Philadelphia’s Nicolas-Aube Kubel, didn’t put weight on his left foot skating off, limped down the tunnel and did not return.

“It’s kind of like a ‘here we go again,’" said Sheary, who scored with 59.4 seconds left in overtime. “That’s kind of the way it’s been the last few games. ... It’s never fun to see that this late in the year.”

The Capitals went into the game without captain and leading goal scorer Alex Ovechkin, top two centers Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov, No. 1 defenseman John Carlson and goalie Ilya Samsonov. Ovechkin, Backstrom and Carlson are each considered day to day with a lower-body injury, while Kuznetsov and Samsonov were unavailable because of NHL COVID-19 protocol.

“Everybody — everybody — is a lower-body injury," coach Peter Laviolette said. “We didn’t rest anybody. If we had guys that were up to where they need to be to play, we would have pushed. The lineup would have been different. We dressed all the available players for us.”

Playing that short-handed did no favors for 39-year-old Craig Anderson, who was making his first start since Feb. 23. Anderson finished with 26 saves, allowing only Scott Laughton's goal 3:42 into the third.

Philadelphia's Alex Lyon made 35 saves, falling seconds short of his first NHL shutout.

“Just super frustrating,” Lyon said. “As good as you play, you still give up a goal in the last 40 seconds and then you give one up in overtime and you lose the game.”

As if Wilson wasn't already the talk of hockey after his actions during a scrum Monday at the New York Rangers, he was in the spotlight again when he collided leg-on-leg with Aube-Kubel in the first period. Wilson grabbed at his right knee and put no weight on that leg while he was helped off but returned at the start of the second.

This was the Capitals' first regular-season or playoff game without any of Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov or Carlson since Jan. 31, 2006.

Ovechkin has missed seven of the past eight games with a lower-body injury and played a total of 39 seconds over the past two weeks. His seven games out with injury and 11 total are the most of any season in his 16-year NHL career.

The Capitals' injury problems extend all the way to Hershey. Defenseman Michal Kempny, on injured reserve all season after surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendo, left a rehab game with the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears because he collided with a member of the ice crew.

“I don’t think it’s too, too bad,” Hershey coach Spencer Carbery said. “Chalk that up to the weird, weird things of this year. He actually (made) incidental contact with one of the ice scrapers, believe it or not, which I’ve never seen before."

Garrett Pilon made his NHL debut for the Capitals, giving Zdeno Chara the ability to say he played with father and son. Chara, now 44, played parts of three seasons with Garrett’s father, Rich Pilon, when he broke into the league with the New York Islanders.

Flyers: Host the New Jersey Devils on Monday in each team’s season finale.

Capitals: Await the Bruins' result Monday against the New York Islanders to see if their game Tuesday has any meaning for Boston.

Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno

Sid’s Take on the Rangers vs. Capitals Brawl

Breakfast Television 09 May, 2021 - 04:20am

Tom Wilson leaves game after leg-on-leg collision with Flyers player

Russian Machine Never Breaks 09 May, 2021 - 04:20am

By Peter Hassett

 4 Comments

Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson left Saturday night’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers with an apparent knee injury.

Wilson collided leg-on-leg with Boston forward Nicolas Aube-Kubel in the neutral zone.

Wilson’s injury happened halfway into the first period. It appeared to be accidental contact.

Tom Wilson had to be helped off the ice after going knee to knee with NAK. #Flyers pic.twitter.com/fn3mPp9HKL

— Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) May 8, 2021

Wilson went to the locker room while Aube-Kubel returned to the Capitals bench.

The Washington Capitals were already without forwards Evgeny Kuznetsov, Alex Ovechkin, and Nicklas Backstrom. They are again down to ten forwards. #weirdyear

Oh no. Tom Wilson and Nicolas Aube-Kubel collided accidentally knee on knee. Wilson needs help off ice. pic.twitter.com/bALvrd17KL

— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 8, 2021

On Wednesday, Wilson also left the Caps-Rangers game early after suffering an upper-body injury in the first period.

Update: Tom Wilson returned for the start of the second period. He gingerly took a lap around the rink before taking a PK shift a few minutes into the period. He finished the game with 16:42 of ice time but did not look totally himself.

Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.

Third string goaltenders may determine who wins the East Division tonight

Russian Machine Never Breaks 09 May, 2021 - 04:20am

By Ian Oland

 1 Comment

The Washington Capitals have a chance of winning their sixth straight division title, but they will need some serious help from an unpredictable source.

The Capitals, who have a game in hand, sit two standings points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins coming into Saturday’s games.

* If they defeat the Buffalo Sabres in regulation AND the Washington Capitals do not defeat the Philadelphia Flyers in regulation;

* If they defeat the Sabres in any fashion and the Flyers defeat the Capitals in any fashion;

* If they get one point vs. the Sabres and the Flyers defeat the Capitals in regulation AND the New York Rangers defeat the Boston Bruins in any fashion.

The Penguins play the Sabres at 3 PM. In such a hugely important game, the Penguins will start Maxime Lagacé, their third-string goalie. It’s not because they want to, but because Tristan Jarry and backup Casey DeSmith are both out due to undisclosed injuries. The Sabres will also go way down their depth chart and start Michael Houser, who gave up eight goals to the Penguins on Thursday.

Meanwhile, in Washington’s game against the Flyers, third-string goaltender Craig Anderson will get the nod with starter Vitek Vanecek playing Friday night and Ilya Samsonov on the COVID-19 Unavailability List. The Flyers will turn to third-stringer Alex Lyon after Brian Elliott helped lead the Flyers to a 4-2 victory the night before.

The East Division title and home ice for the first two rounds is at stake today. The goalies? Maxime Lagace, Michael Houser, Craig Anderson and Alex Lyon.

— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) May 8, 2021

If there’s any evidence that this is the Weirdest Year, this is it. Home ice is at stake, and some of the least heralded goalies in the NHL are playing in the decisive games.

Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.

The Bruins will begin the 2021 playoffs on the road

98.5 The Sports Hub 08 May, 2021 - 10:42pm

It was comical how little help the Bruins got from those they asked for a favor on Saturday.

Beginning in Pittsburgh, the Bruins’ hopes for the No. 1 seed in the East relied on the Sabres beating the Penguins. (That alone means it was probably doomed the start.) But the door wasn’t completely shut on the Sabres’ hopes for an upset, as the Penguins gave this start to Max Lagace for what was his first NHL start in over two calendar years. The Sabres lost 1-0.

In Washington, and after their aforementioned loss on Garden ice, the Bruins needed a Capitals loss to keep hope for a push for the No. 2 seed alive. The Bruins were 40 seconds away from getting it, too, but the Capitals tied things up with 40 seconds in regulation and then squeaked an overtime winner through the Flyers’ Alex Lyons. Nice.

Then, on Long Island, a Devils win over the Islanders would’ve locked the Islanders into the No. 4 seed. The Devils kept up with New York for the first half of this contest, too, but then MacKenzie Blackwood — yes, the same MacKenzie Blackwood who looked like Ken Dryden against the B’s this season — surrendered four goals in a 15:09 stretch en route to a 5-1 loss.

It was like the Bruins were in a group project with three kids who stopped going to school four months ago, and then took a sick day anyway. Just a brutal day for ’em.

It’s also left the Bruins in a situation where the Isles are knocking at their door entering the final two games of the season.

With the Isles just two points behind the B’s after Saturday’s action, the Monday head-to-head between the sides now means something, and has put the 71-point Bruins are in a spot where a two points over the final two games of the 2021 season is a must if they’re to stay in the third seed over the 70-point Islanders.

The simple math is that if the Bruins defeat the Islanders on Monday night, the Bruins will max out at 73 points at the very worst while the Islanders would be capped at 70. That would lock the Bruins into a first-round date with the Capitals.

A loss to the Islanders on Monday, however, and the Bruins are looking at a must-win in Washington to avoid a first-round date with the Penguins. Given the way the Bruins have handled the Capitals in 2021 (4-1-2) compared to the Caps’ success over the Islanders (6-2-0 this year), that could turn that game into what’d feel like a must-win from D.C.’s point of view.

That would also force the Bruins into a situation where they’re maybe sacrificing rest in the name of postseason seeding and/or looking to end the season on a high note versus three straight defeats.

In other words, the Bruins gotta handle their business on Monday. For the full 60, too.

Ty Anderson is a writer and columnist for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Yell at him on Twitter: @_TyAnderson.

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PENGUINS WIN EAST DIVISION; 3-4 Seeds Still Unsettled

Pittsburgh Hockey Now 08 May, 2021 - 08:38pm

PENGUINS WIN EAST DIVISION; 3-4 Seeds Still Unsettled

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The enemy of my enemy is my friend. And so the Pittsburgh Penguins and Penguins fans found themselves in an awkward position on Saturday night. After the Penguins beat the Buffalo Sabres 1-0 in regulation on Saturday afternoon, the Penguins needed a little bit of help from the Philadelphia Flyers to win the MassMutual East Division.

If the Flyers beat Washington Capitals or took them to overtime, the Penguins would win the division and the important first seed in the East Division.

And Philadelphia did just enough. The Flyers held Washington scoreless for 59 minutes. Washington tied the game with 39 seconds remaining but could not get the regulation winner.

The Penguins were watching. After the Penguins beat Buffalo, Mike Sullivan said:

“Well, we wanted to gain home-ice advantage, and we were thrilled that we were able to do that. Having said that, we know we’re going to get a difficult opponent. All the teams that advance are really good hockey teams. We know we’re going to get a difficult opponent. We’ll watch the games, but we’re more focused on our team, quite honestly, and trying to make sure that that we put our best game on the ice.”

Also on Saturday night, the Penguins (or most) received their second COVID vaccination shot and will be a “fully vaccinated team” in 14 days.

The Penguins finished the 2020-21 campaign with a 37-16-3 record, good for 77 points. The Penguins .688 points percentage this year is the third-best in team history.

Washington won in OT, 2-1 but even if Washington beats the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, the Penguins will win the ROW tiebreaker.

So, the Pittsburgh Penguins won the East Division and will forever be the ONLY MassMutual East Division champion because the league will revert to the Metropolitan Division next season.

Washington was without five of their top scorers. Alex Ovechkin is still nursing a lower-body injury. Top-line center Evgeny Kuznetsov is currently in the COVID protocol for the second time this season. T.J Oshie was injured in the second period against the Flyers. Defenseman John Carlson and center Nicklas Backstrom are out with lower-body injuries.

Washington also started third-string goalie, 39-year-old Craig Anderson.

The Flyers also continued their recent spirited play. They split with the Pittsburgh Penguins earlier in the week and beat Washington 4-2 on Friday.

Despite the Penguins winning the division crown for the first time since 2013-14, the East Division seedings are not yet settled.

Boston lost to the New York Rangers on Saturday, 5-4, and missed their chance to lock up at least third place. Boston is three points ahead of the New York Islanders and four behind Washington for second place.

UPDATE: Washington locked up second place with the comeback win. PHN changed our original headline to reflect the updated situation.

The NHL has not yet set the playoff schedule. The final regular-season game is May 19 because of the COVID outbreak, which hit the Vancouver Canucks organization and paused their season. However, the NHL may begin the playoffs before the end of the Canucks season for scheduling and TV purposes.

It has been a unique 56-game season with multiple-game sets to reduce travel, reworked divisions because Canadian teams couldn’t cross the border into the U.S. (and vice versa). And it ended, at least in Pittsburgh, with Penguins fans cheering for the Philadelphia Flyers.

Penguins Report Card: More Struggles Up Top, More Carter Goals | PHN+

Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Caps locked up the 2 seed with the OT win.

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