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Maple Leafs, Senators even series; Flames burned, Predators up 2-0

April 16, 2017 7:11 AM
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Maple Leafs, Senators even series; Flames burned, Predators up 2-0

Kasperi Kapanen of the Toronto Maple Leafs celebrates after scoring the game-winning goal against the Washington Capitals to give the Leafs a 4-3 double overtime win in Game Two of their Eastern Conference first-round series on Saturday in Washington, DC.

The Toronto Maple Leafs took the league’s best regular-season team, the Washington Capitals, to double overtime in Game 2 of their series, this time coming out on top on a Kasperi Kapanen goal, evening the series at one game apiece. In Ottawa, a former Leaf, Dion Phaneuf, was the hero, scoring in overtime to knot the Senators’ series with the Bruins at one.

The Calgary Flames were doused by the Ducks in Anaheim, not a friendly place for the Alberta squad. The Ducks now lead that series by two games. The Chicago Blackhawks, meanwhile, put themselves in a tough spot when they were pounded by the Nashville Predators, also going down two games to none.

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The Washington Capitals came out hitting with a vengeance, and there were many flashes of brilliance from their top stars, Alexander Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, but in the end it was the youthful, precocious Leafs - and their decidedly non-star-laden fourth line - that came out on top.

Rookie Kasperi Kapanen scored for Toronto in double overtime, on a seeing-eye pass from fourth-line-mate Brian Boyle, to win the game for the Leafs and knot the series at one game each. Kapanen had scored earlier in the second period to tie the game 2-2.

Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Kasperi Kapanen scores the game-winning goal on Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby in the second overtime in Game 2 in Washington Saturday night.

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As in the first game, Toronto goaltender Frederik Andersen was superb. But this time there was no overtime whiff with his glove, just a smooth, 47-save performance. “He was outstanding in Game 1 and obviously he was no slouch tonight,” Leafs defenceman Morgan Rielly said. “He’s been the backbone of this team all year. He’s been outstanding night in and night out.

In playoff hockey, however, the bad often comes with the good. The bad here was the loss of defenceman Roman Polak, who caught his skate in a rut after taking a hit from Washington’s Brooks Orpik. He didn’t return to the game after being helped to the dressing room, and head coach Mike Babcock said after the game that Polak is finished for the season. With Nikita Zaitsev already out, this was the worst kind of news for the team.

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The second game between the Ottawa Senators and the Boston Bruins was much like the first, except the teams played opposite roles. This time, the Bruins stormed out and took control of the game, taking a 3-1 lead into the third period, but the Senators came right back late, evening things up and winning in overtime on a goal by defenceman Dion Phaneuf.

Boston Bruins goalie Tuuka Rask makes a save on a shot from Ottawa Senators centre Derick Brassard in the third period of Game 2 of their first-round NHL playoff series in Ottawa on Saturday.

The first Senators goal produced an emotional moment, scored as it was by Clarke MacArthur on a power play to tie the game at one. MacArthur missed most of the last two seasons battling back from a series of concussions. The goal was his first since April 19, 2015. “When he raised his arms I think the whole city did at the same time and I think it was very special,” head coach Guy Boucher said.

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Goals by Chris Wideman, through a traffic jam in front, and Derick Brassard, on a beautiful setup from Erik Karlsson, set the stage for Phaneuf’s heroics in overtime, a strong display of resiliency from a team that looked like it was going to go down 2-0 in the series.

“Adversity builds you or destroys you,” Boucher said. “We choose to see it as a builder.”

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Nothing ever seems to go right for the Calgary Flames in Anaheim. And, once again, the Flames came away from a California game against the Ducks with a loss. Probably an unfair one, because it was a game Calgary, which carried the play most of the night, should have won, only losing on a fluke goal by Ducks’ captain Ryan Getzlaf, whose cross-ice pass was redirected by the foot of Calgary’s Lance Bouma into his own net.

Anaheim Ducks centre Ryan Getzlaf collides with Calgary Flames goalie Brian Elliott and is called for goaltender interference during the second period of Game 2 in Anaheim, Calif.

Anaheim survived a second period in which they were outshot 15-6 and badly outplayed to sneak out yet another victory over the visiting Flames. Calgary last won in Anaheim on April 25, 2006. They’ve lost blowouts and heartbreakers in that time, with Saturday’s loss falling squarely into the latter category.

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The Flames fell behind 2-0 in this one, but battled back, with Mikael Backlund scoring a short-handed goal and Sean Monahan tying the game on a nice pass from Johnny Gaudreau. Calgary thought it had taken the lead on a tally from Alex Chiasson, but the goal was waved off for goaltender interference.

Flames’ defenceman Dougie Hamilton was in the penalty box for holding Corey Perry’s stick when Getzlaf scored the winning goal.

Flames coach Glen Gulutzan was unhappy with the officiating, saying in his mind “the standard changed in the last six minutes. Clearly, I think people at home who watched a great game could see that when get a defenceman [Hamilton] skating forward and a forward that interferes with him a little, there’s going to be an exchange sometime there.”

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Nashville’s Pekka Rinne made 30 saves to shut out Chicago for the second consecutive game as the Predators took a 2-0 lead in their series with the Blackhawks Saturday night. After Chicago controlled much of Game 1, this one was all Nashville.

The Predators humbled the Blackhawks 5-0 on goals by Ryan Johansen, Ryan Ellis, Harry Zolnierczyk, Colton Sissons and Kevin Fiala. Chicago was shut out in consecutive playoff games for the first time since it was blanked in three straight in April, 2002, against St. Louis.

The sellout Chicago crowd of 22,175 booed as the final seconds of the second period ticked off, and there were more jeers in the third.

Chicago coach Joel Quenneville shuffled his lineup for Saturday’s game, inserting rookie Vinnie Hinostroza and Dennis Rasmussen and benching veteran Jordin Tootoo and John Hayden. But it was more of the same for the Blackhawks in this one, who once again looked out of sync against the Predators’ defence.

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