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Five Thoughts: Caps toughness, Ryan Miller’s sass talk, Coyotes future all in focus

Apr 21, 2011, 9:00 AM EDT

Daniel Carcillo, Ryan Miller AP

A night filled with five games provided us with a lot of talking points this morning. A huge collapse in New York, a stirring shutout from Ryan Miller, a pair of double-overtime thrillers and the playoffs first team eliminated all happened last night. What are we busy thinking about today? Here’s five thoughts to chew on.

1. I realize that a lot of you will want to focus in on a handful of things from the Rangers-Capitals game. You’ll want to talk about the crowd giving it to Bruce Boudreau, you’ll want to talk about the Rangers choking on a 3-0 lead in the third period, you’ll want to pick on Marian Gaborik for having too much of a presence in the game for New York. The part that’s flying under the radar is the guts of this Capitals team.

With how the crowd was and the inspired play of the Rangers through most of that game, it’s a game most teams would fold up under the pressure of. The Caps found another gear in the third period though and fought back to tie it up and force overtime where they went on to win. Caps teams of the past don’t win that game, this year’s version is a lot different and much more hard-headed.

2. Teams in the Eastern Conference may want to start officially worrying about the Pittsburgh Penguins. We’ve talked about their toughness a lot but their offense without the likes of Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin is an issue. After James Neal scored the game-winner in double overtime last night to put the Pens up 3-1 in their series with Tampa Bay, getting that weight off his shoulders could help their offense turn the corner.

Neal’s struggles to score a goal at all over the last month (Neal hadn’t scored since March 8) had him stressing and perhaps squeezing the stick a bit too tight. Sometimes all it takes is one and Neal’s streakiness is something that could give the Pens the lift they’re looking for.

3. Ryan Miller pitched his second shutout of the playoffs and while he hasn’t been consistently awesome all year for the Sabres, his quotes after the game make him a bit of a quirky folk hero of sorts. After some reporters were challenging his play of late Miller responded saying, “I don’t need to listen to all the B.S. that’s out there from people who don’t know how to play goalie. I really don’t give an expletive.”

No, we didn’t edit his quote, he did actually say “expletive” in making sure that his soundbyte would be able to be heard by anyone without any pesky bleeps. Best part is, when Miller is playing like he did in helping the Sabres tie the series up he doesn’t need to do anything other than point at the scoreboard to show he means business. Of course, if he’s going to keep sounding off like that, we’ll give him a soapbox to stand on whenever he wants.

4. You can’t help but think the Predators feel like they really let a golden opportunity slip away by splitting their two home games with the Ducks. The Ducks went into those games without an offensive weapon like Bobby Ryan to help them out and still the Ducks piled up nine goals on Pekka Rinne in two games and now head back to Anaheim tied 2-2 in the series. With Ryan returning from his stomping suspension and Rinne playing not up to par, the confidence should be beaming from Anaheim, especially with how big Corey Perry stepped up in Game 4 with a goal and two assists in their 6-3 Game 4 win. Seeing Teemu Selanne continue to pile up goals is encouraging as well for what’s a pretty young Ducks team. The Predators have more than a few things to get figured out before Game 5 on Friday night.

5. Detroit’s domination of the Coyotes in spite of injuries (they were without Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen in Game 4) is worthy of further analysis for sure, but the shadow casting a pall over the conclusion of the series in the wake of Detroit’s 6-3 win and sweep is obvious. With the Coyotes future in Arizona in serious doubt and the NHL continuing to say that things are progressing even in the light of even further negative reports is concerning.

At the very least, prospective buyer Matthew Hulsizer was in attendance for Game 4 with a Coyotes hat and jersey on to support the team as the suits in Glendale will now work diligently to get things figured out. You can’t help but feel bad for everyone involved with the team from the players on down to the fans not knowing if this was indeed the last time they’d see them. If the team does head to Winnipeg this summer, the fans in Arizona have every right to be angry at everyone involved for screwing this deal up. Let’s hope they don’t have to move forward as bitter, angry fans with no one left to root for anymore.

  1. polegojim - Apr 21, 2011 at 9:20 AM

    True about Caps Joe, we’re just not used to seeing that kind of effort in the playoffs from them.

    Regarding Coyotes – I hear you, but the fans are just as much to blame.

    Support the team ENMASSE, sell out, buy Coyote gear…and then nobody wants to leave.

  2. ginnitti - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:08 AM

    The debate in Buffalo most of the season is the worth of having a goaltender who makes 6+ million a year, in a time where teams are winning cups with a few on the cheap young goalies. This Round 1 series should quiet this debate. Miller has been in olympic form as the Sabres look to carry out the upset this weekend. Miller is under contract for 4 more years in Buffalo – http://www.spotrac.com/nhl/buffalo-sabres/ryan-miller/

    • spiffy53 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:37 AM

      kidding right? the sabres won’t get the calls they have been getting in Buffalo in Philly. Miller has been good (lousy in game 2 and 3). he was great last night. the refs were terrible. absolutely terrible last night. did i mention they were terrible?

      • ginnitti - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:51 AM

        Outside of a phantom 5 minute elbow from Richards, you clearly have not watched this series. The teams are a combined 5 – 33 on the powerplay, philly has a 3-2 goal edge there. The referees, good or bad, have had no bearing on the outcomes.

      • spiffy53 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:53 AM

        no bearing? are you new to hockey? it needs to be called both ways. period. last night it was not.

      • ginnitti - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:01 AM

        Carcillo interferes – Stafford gets a phantom interfence call 50 seconds later. Carcillo runs Miller, they both get 2:00. Myers gets 2 minutes for being 7 ft tall and having an elbow in a 5 ft tall players face. Richards should’ve only received 2. Yesterday was called fairly if not too much. The Sabres barely entered the scoring zone during the 5 minute powerplay. I can’t be responsible for Carcillo being a DB and getting called for it regularly.

      • spiffy53 - Apr 21, 2011 at 11:09 AM

        and Kaleta and Gerby aren’t DBs? how about brierre getting knocked to the ground 20 seconds after the whistle? richards getting pulled across the ice by meyers? a phantom call against carcillo and a no call when he gets mugged? you could have put a camera on carcillo and the ref and it would be a clinic on how not to ref a game. the sabres fans jobbed the refs. now it is in philly for 2 of the 3 games. lets see how that goes.

      • ru4real4real - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:11 PM

        Spiffy, stop being an ignorant Philly fan! 10 powerplays for Philly in one game is rediculous! Philly’s getting more phantom calls there way than any other team! Miller now shutout your garbage team 2 times now…get over it!

        We’re better than you, na na na na bo bo! Yes I said that even though you have the refs on your side!

      • spiffy53 - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:18 PM

        you got me you “rediculous” funny gal.

      • ru4real4real - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:35 PM

        Don’t be angry…seriously! It’s a game…stop complaining about the refs when they’re def helping Philly out WAY MORE than Buffalo! Why did you call me a “Gal” when you’re the one wearing the dress? It’s ok that you don’t know the game!!

        And you Philly fans are girls, we know you’re talking trash behind our backs, but not to our face, under your breath, to yourself! Little girls! Why do you act this way? And as soon as someone calls you out, you put your tail between your legs and back down! Girls!

      • spiffy53 - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM

        i said you got me there tough guy. my side is splitting from reading your quips. please, stop. no, please stop.

      • ru4real4real - Apr 21, 2011 at 1:21 PM

        As soon as someone calls you out, you put your tail between your legs and back down!

        Check…my mission here is complete! Nothing more to say…

      • spiffy53 - Apr 21, 2011 at 1:26 PM

        back down to what? tail between legs? your a legend in your own mind there Brock Lesnar.

      • ru4real4real - Apr 21, 2011 at 2:03 PM

        Just call me the champ! Oh I’m sorry, just call all us the champs when we win this series!

  3. balewsquare - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    I think the smiley face in #2 came from Joe trying to close his parenthesis…:)

  4. jsarge99 - Apr 21, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    The only thing more agonizing then watching a power play in a philadelphia vs buffalo playoff game, is watching the new york rangers trying to score a goal anytime.

  5. jaybaileys - Apr 21, 2011 at 12:03 PM

    You guys obviously haven’t seen the Pens on a PP lately. That is excruciating to watch!

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