Flames lose cool; on edge of elimination
Right back in their series with the Ducks trailing two games to one, the Flames dropped a crucial Game 4 at the Saddledome Friday, 4-2, to slip to the brink of elimination. Calgary bounced back from an early first-period deficit to jump ahead on a pair of goals 67 seconds apart, the first off a great individual effort by Johnny Gaudreau, finished off by Sean Monahan.
Tied at 2-2 near the end of the second period, the game turned on this double minor penalty assessed to the Flames' Joe Colborne for high sticking, as he drew blood from the Ducks' Francois Beauchemin.
The Ducks opened the third period with a four-minute power play and took a little over a minute for Matt Beleskey to pot a rebound after Ryan Kesler screened Flames' goaltender Karri Ramo.
Patrick Maroon's empty-netter finished off the scoring. Game 5 is Sunday in Anaheim.
Rangers survive in overtime
Now that was cutting it close! The Rangers won for a ninth consecutive time when facing elimination at Madison Square Garden, but they narrowly averted being knocked out of the playoffs before defeating the Capitals 2-1 at 9:37 of overtime on Ryan McDonagh's goal.
The Capitals were leading 1-0 late into the third period and were about to dispatch the Rangers when Chris Kreider fired in the tying goal with 101 seconds left and Rangers' goaltender Henrik Lundqvist headed to the bench for an extra attacker. It turned out all they needed was Kreider's well-placed shot that beat Braden Holtby on the far side.
That got the Rangers into overtime and Derek Stepan looked ready to shoot, but dropped a pass to the onrushing Ryan McDonagh for the game-winner. Last year the Rangers trailed the Penguins three games to one when they returned to Madison Square Garden for Game 5. They won that game and the next two to move on to the conference final and eventually the Stanley Cup Final.
Keith Olbermann, rocking a vintage 1994 Glenn Healy game-worn jersey, did a between periods interview with Hockey Night in Canada and obviously brought his Rangers the luck to continue the series, Sunday at Washington.
Capitals miss chance
It figured to be another one-goal game and the Capitals' Braden Holtby was prepared to face a desperate Rangers team, on the Rangers' home ice. Once again, Holtby came up huge, making 41 saves in all, but it proved to be not quite enough to finish off New York.
In the second period of a scoreless game, Holtby made a huge save off the ever-dangerous Martin St. Louis.
Late in the middle frame, the Capitals thought they opened the scoring, but Joel Ward's effort was ruled no goal due to goaltender interference.
Washington finally notched the first goal on a Curtis Glencross breakaway at 10:54, as he chipped his rebound off Lundqvist into the net.
That stood to be the winner until Kreider's life-saver for the Rangers and the McDonagh series-extender.
Canadiens on deck
Have the Canadiens discovered the secret to beating Ben Bishop and the Lightning? After seven straight regular season and playoff losses to the Bolts the Canadiens jumped on a shaky Bishop and won Game 4 with a 6-2 outburst to send the series back to Montreal. Watch it Saturday(CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET).
Yes, the odds are against the Canadiens to be able to pull off four straight victories over the Lightning, but it has been accomplished four times in the past, including last year by the Los Angeles Kings.
The Lightning, on the other hand, have won the last five times the Canadiens have visited.