Ahhh, the NHL. The most beautiful league in professional sports, yet a walking car accident at the same time. Honestly, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Do we bitch about the NHL Department of Player Safety? Do we bitch about the Penguins’ defense committing too many costly turnovers? Or do we bitch about the fact that the NHL still doesn’t count a puck that’s shot off the post as a shot on goal? Why not all three!
First off, fuck Tom Wilson. All six Capitals fans in D.C. are gonna defend him by saying this is a shoulder to shoulder hit, but let’s call a spade a spade. Tom Wilson’s a piece of shit.
Regardless of whether or not the principle point of contact is Zach Aston-Reese’s head, facts are facts, Tom Wilson delivers far too many of these borderline hits. At the end of the day, Aston-Reese didn’t return to play while Wilson didn’t even receive a penalty. I’m not quite sure what it’s going to take for the NHL to get its head out its ass once for all (no pun intended), but things need to change fast before something catastrophic happens. Is it gonna take somebody dying on the ice? Or is it going to take a gigantic lawsuit from former players (much like what happened in the NFL) who will likely find themselves drinking meals out of a straw in their 60s? Either way, it’s not looking likely that anything is going to change in the near to intermediate future. Because the NHL.
By the way, in case you wondering, Aston-Reese only received a broken jaw and a concussion from the hit. No big deal. Clean hit, though.
As for the game, well, fuck it. We’re going straight to the notes:
- Let’s not beat around the bush. Matt Murray has looked shaky for most of this series. We all know his glove hand is his main weakness, but there were far too many shots tonight where Murray just didn’t look comfortable. In fact, it almost looked like he was fighting the puck at times. The Penguins are gonna need Murray to regain his playoff form or else the Capitals might actually *gulp* win this series. Also, tonight was the second time in Murray’s career that he’s lost back-to-back games in the postseason (last time being Games 3 and 4 in last year’s Stanley Cup Final).
- Phil Kessel has been relatively quiet this postseason. Pens are gonna need more production out of him (1G, 4A in nine games) if they’re gonna go anywhere this postseason. My gut feeling is he’s dealing with some sort of injury.
- The Capitals had approximately 247 2-on-1 opportunities in this one. The Penguins’ defense needs to play a little smarter instead of being overly aggressive 99% of the time. Also, only three shots on goal in the 3rd (should’ve been four since Malkin hit a post) isn’t gonna cut it.
- On a positive note, Crosby and Guentzel are playing out of their minds right now.
- The Pens are still going to win this series. Mark that down.
And that’ll do it for Game 3. Stay tuned for the full recap in the am from Geoff (@G_Off817) per usual.
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