Welcome to Hockey After Dark, a nightly recap of the NHL playoffs made possible by insomnia, playoff anxiety, and my BFF caffeine. Come for the topical social commentary, and stay for the sporadic in-depth analysis littered with obscure pop culture references. If you enjoy the snark, feel free to follow me at @DXTraeger
Karma is sort of like a Baskin-Robbins: it can come in many different flavors.
In hockey, fans wish that the Department of Player Safety would deliver karmic retribution toward the league’s serial offenders, but as Homer J. Simpson taught us, karma can only be portioned out by the cosmos, thereby neutering the DoPS.
Still, it was mildly rewarding to see the DoPS lower the hammer on Nazem Kadri:
Colorado’s Nazem Kadri has been suspended for eight games for an Illegal Check to the Head on St. Louis’ Justin Faulk. https://t.co/5rg2ZPVm5P
— NHL Player Safety (@NHLPlayerSafety) May 22, 2021
The DoPS may find itself busy in the Washington/Boston series tomorrow, and shockingly, the infraction didn’t come via Tom Wilson or his protege, Garnet Hathaway, but from unassuming defenseman, Dmitry Orlov.
Bad Orlov hit on Kevan Miller pic.twitter.com/WxCnrkR90b
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 21, 2021
In order to reach Miller’s head, Orlov had to go full Mike Tyson’s Punch-out, an effort that may earn Orlov a one or two game suspension.
Game 4 between the Capitals and Bruins had some other delicious karmic hits of the legal variety.
First, there was Alex Ovechkin sending Rat Marchand flying:
Alex Ovechkin with a big hit on Brad Marchand. pic.twitter.com/O88HAbHcGz
— Conor Ryan (@ConorRyan_93) May 22, 2021
Later, Ovechkin found himself dumped twice in rapid succession by David Pastrnak and Marchand (and the crowd went wild):
Ovechkin gets dumped by Pastrnak and Marchand pic.twitter.com/0dd3Ox0LP4
— Brady Trettenero (@BradyTrett) May 22, 2021
The Capitals might have won the “Dirty Hit” contest, but they lost the hockey game, 4-1, and now trail the Bruins 3-1 in the series.
Both Marchand and Pastrnak scored for Boston, with Washington’s lone tally coming off of the (broken) stick of Ovechkin.
The Capitals look like a wounded animal, and the Bruins will have the opportunity to eliminate Washington on Sunday night.
Nashville Predators defeat the Carolina Hurricanes, 5-4 in OT (Carolina leads the series, 2-1)
The down-and-out Predators drew energy from their sold-out barn, and clawed their way back into the series with a double-OT win.
Matt Duchene finished a breakaway midway through the second extra session, giving the otherwise outmatched Predators some life.
MATT DUCHENE, WHAT A GOAL!#Preds | #StanleyCup pic.twitter.com/7zWIrLjtJm
— NBC Sports Hockey (@NBCSportsHockey) May 22, 2021
Sebastian Aho continued his tour de force of a post-season with a goal and two assists in defeat, and Filip Forsberg found the twine to go along with his helper.
The Predators will try to replicate their results on Sunday when the teams meet again.
Winnipeg Jets defeat the Edmonton Oilers 1-0 in OT (Jets lead the series, 2-0)
REMEMBER HOW CONNOR McDAVID SCORED OVER 100 POINTS IN THE REGULAR SEASON?!
The Canadian division just ended their regular season two days ago, but McDavid’s regular season exploits already seem like ancient history.
Both McDavid and teammate Leon Draisaitl have been held completely in check through two games, and the Oilers find themselves in a 0-2 series hole.
— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) May 22, 2021
Both teams have enjoyed excellent goaltending, but the Jets have found a way to manufacture a hair more offense while stymieing McDavid.
The Winnipeg Jets will now return home with the 2-0 series lead and will look to place a new title upon the presumptive Hart/Ted Lindsay Trophy winner:
Colorado Avalanche defeat the St. Louis Blues, 5-1 (Avalanche lead the series, 3-0)
St. Louis entered Game 3 minus two of their starting defensemen (Justin Faulk, injured by Nazem Kadri, and former Penguin Robert Bortuzzo), and their already-uphill climb became nigh impossible following yet another beatdown at the hands of the Avalanche.
Colorado entered the playoffs as the sportsbook favorite to capture the Stanley Cup, and nothing thus far seems to suggest otherwise.
I have nothing positive to say about the Blues’ chances, so here’s a robot feeding a bottle to a (thankfully) fake baby:
Penguins vs. Islanders Game 4 Thoughts:
- The Penguins better come out disciplined this afternoon, because the Islanders are going to toe the line of dirty play, and then Matt Martin and Co. are going to go full Rick James:
- The Penguins simply can’t be baited into retaliation, and they can’t willingly sacrifice their best players to the penalty box just to uphold an outdated “code.”
- Pittsburgh needs to score first. The Islanders are a much better team when playing with the lead. To that same end…
- The Penguins shouldn’t abandon their style of play if they take the lead, as retreating and packing the house in front of Tristan Jarry actually benefits the Isles’ style of play. The Pens need to attack and maintain their forecheck.
- It’s an eternal running gag with the Penguins and their fans, but the Pens need to shoot the puck. Crazy things happen when the puck is sent toward the goalie, and Pittsburgh has the skill to capitalize on lucky bounces.
And finally…your moment of shirtless DM hockey Zen: