April 16, 2012
Sens fans have another reason to hate Boyle
By KEN WIEBE, QMI Agency
Somehow, Brian Boyle found a way to become even more despised in the nation's capital.
The New York Rangers centre, who drew the ire of the Ottawa Senators after roughing up All-World defenceman Erik Karlsson in the series opener, was booed mercilessly throughout the game Monday at Scotiabank Place.
The catcalls only intensified after Boyle scored the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over the Senators that gave the Rangers a 2-1 series advantage.
Boyle has played an active role in the series, as he was on the receiving end of the punches that earned Matt Carkner a one-game suspension and got into a scrap with Chris Neil in Game 2.
But if the Senators were trying to intimidate Boyle, it's clearly not working. He's been extremely effective and has a goal in each of the three games to start the series.
It was an exciting night for Rangers' newcomer Chris Kreider, who made his NHL debut in Game 3. Kreider replaced Carl Hagelin, who sat out the first of a three-game suspension for the elbow he delivered to Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in the second period of Game 2.
The insertion of Kreider was so secretive that he didn't take part in any line rushes during the pre-game warmup and was apparently listed among the scratches on the lineup sheet passed out at Scotiabank Place.
Kreider, who won two NCAA championships with the Boston College Eagles and was the Rangers' first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2009 NHL draft, spent some time on the top line with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik but was limited to just over 11 minutes of ice time, recording one shot on goal.
OBAMA SUPPORTERS PLENTIFUL
Not surprisingly, many folks at the Verizon Center brought signs and pictures of U.S. President Barack Obama to the rink to try and rattle Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas. Thomas skipped his team’s customary Stanley Cup champions visit to the White House earlier this season for political reasons.
Thomas didn’t play up to Conn Smythe form, but did enough to propel the Bruins to a 4-3 victory against the Washington Capitals to give his team a 2-1 lead in the series.
That spoiled a brilliant effort from Capitals centre Brooks Laich, who scored a beauty in the third period on a partial breakaway and assisted on two others.
As time expired at the end of Game 3 between the Caps and Bruins, Washington centre Nicklas Backstrom caught Bruins forward Rich Peverley with a high cross-check.
Backstrom was given a match penalty and game misconduct, which comes with an automatic one-game suspension. The NHL will review the incident and it may be overturned.
We saw the video and the cross-check made contact with Peverley’s shield but was more of a glancing blow, so it wouldn’t be too surprising if the suspension is rescinded and Backstrom was available for Game 4.
Capitals defenceman Karl Alzner turned a few heads by gesturing that Boston's Milan Lucic was a crybaby after a third-period scrum.
We understand the Capitals are trying to get Lucic off his game, but taking on the bruising winger is not a battle Alzner would fare well in.
The St. Louis Blues’ power play was the star of the show on Tuesday, going 3-for-3 in a 4-3 triumph over the San Jose Sharks that gave them a 2-1 series advantage.
Patrik Berglund was a force for the Blues, scoring once, adding an assist and providing an important screen on the eventual game-winner from Alex Steen early in the third period.
Steen was limited to 43 games this season because of a concussion, but he’s relishing the opportunity to be back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008-09.
WHO GETS THE CALL?
Many are wondering if the Vancouver Canucks can stave off elimination after falling behind 3-0 in their series with the Los Angeles Kings and avoid becoming the first Presidents’ Trophy winner to be swept from the playoffs.
But another major topic of conversation will be who gets the call in goal from Canucks coach Alain Vigneault on Wednesday -- Roberto Luongo or Cory Schneider.
We’re pretty sure that whenever he decides to reveal his decision, Vigneault will say he couldn’t have gone wrong either way and that he has confidence in both guys.
But however you slice it, the decision is being viewed as a referendum on who is actually going to be the starting goalie in Vancouver next season.
Luongo played well in each of the first two games, but Schneider gave up only one goal in his Game 3 start, so it’s clear Vigneault has a difficult decision to make.
Our gut tells us Schneider is going to get a second chance to give the Canucks some life.
SMOKESCREEN OR SAVIOR?
Speaking of the Canucks, Daniel Sedin has been cleared to practice and will rejoin the team for a skate on Tuesday.
Naturally, people are wondering if Sedin will suit up after taking an elbow to the head from Chicago Blackhawks blueliner Duncan Keith on Mar. 21.
It makes sense for Sedin to be in California with his teammates, but while the Canucks are in dire need of an offensive infusion, he shouldn’t be rushed back in the lineup unless he’s 100% healthy.