Ovechkin is my hero


This was Alexander Ovechkin near the conclusion of the Capitals losing to the Hurricanes in Game Six at Carolina. His reaction was priceless.

Of course, the Capitals captain was still incensed at the refs for a controversial ruling that disallowed his tying goal in the third period. I actually knew the reason behind it. I figured it had to do with Ovechkin making contact with Carolina goalie Petr Mrazek in the crease with the puck still loose from a slick stuff in attempt by Evgeny Kuznetsov.

Based on the replays The Athletic’s Shayna Goldman showed, it should’ve been a goal, which would have tied the game. Instead, Canes captain Justin Williams tipped in a Brett Pesce shot moments later to give Carolina a 4-2 lead with 8:02 left in the third period. Dougie Hamilton added an empty netter in the 5-2 win, pushing the defending champs to a do or die Game Seven on Wednesday night.

The Metropolitan Division Semifinal has been the only first round series that’s gone according to form. The home team has won all six games. Until last night when the Capitals had leads of 1-0 and 2-1, the road team had yet to have a lead during the first five games. Washington will have to rely on its home ice advantage along with all their playoff experience to advance to a second round meeting with the Islanders. I took the Caps in seven for that reason. We’ll see if I actually get a series correct.

After tonight, I’m 0-for-5. The Stars defeated the Predators Monday night at home by a score of 2-1 in overtime. The hero was veteran defenseman John Klingberg, who took a great Alexander Radulov pass and beat a heartbroken Pekka Rinne at 17:02 of sudden death.

Dallas advances to a intriguing Central Division Final against the Blues next round. St. Louis eliminated the Winnipeg on Sunday night. They’ll have home ice against the Stars. One of those two teams will play in the Western Conference Final.

There’ll be three deciding Game Sevens. Tonight, it’s a double dip with the Maple Leafs taking on the Bruins at 7 PM in Boston. If Toronto doesn’t get it done this time, John Tavares will get a lot of blame. One empty net goal isn’t what he was signed for. After blowing Game Six at home, there’s some pressure on Pajama Boy to deliver in enemy territory.

The second game will feature the Golden Knights visiting the Sharks in San Jose at 10 PM. Right now, Vegas has to be wondering how they let San Jose back in the series. Martin Jones suddenly has become a brick wall, outplaying Marc-Andre Fleury, who still has to be in shock that he allowed Tomas Hertl’s shorthanded goal to get by him in double overtime. Mark Stone has gone quiet the last two games. Can the Sharks complete the 3-1 comeback at what will be a loud Shark Tank?

The best part of these deciding seventh games is the winner moves on while the loser goes home. This is the kind of drama that makes the Stanley Cup Playoffs the best to watch.

It’s unfortunate that we’ve already seen quite a few questionable calls impact games. Until they address the issues with rule interpretation and the replay system, it’s gonna continue. Ask any Winnipeg Jet how they felt the moment Brayden Schenn’s goal was upheld to tie up Game Five. They never recovered.

Following the Jets’ elimination, Nikolai Ehlers played with a fractured leg and Patrik Laine played through a back injury that probably affected his ability to finish.

The Norris candidates are Mark Giordano, Brent Burns and Victor Hedman. Once again, the Lightning bias shows. Hence they are regular season awards. Kris Letang got snubbed and so did John Carlson. Morgan Rielly had a pretty special season too.

It’s going to be funny when the Lightning win most of the hardware including the President’s Trophy. A lot of good that did.

About Derek Felix

Derek Felix is sports blogger whose previous experience included separate stints at ESPN as a stat researcher for NHL and WNBA telecasts. The Staten Island native also interned for or hockey historian Stan Fischler and worked behind the scenes for MSG as a production assistant on New Jersey Devil telecasts. An avid New York sports fan who enjoys covering events, writing, concerts, movies and the outdoors, Derek has covered consecutive Staten Island Yankees NY Penn League championships in '05 and '06. He also scored Berkeley Carroll high school basketball games from '06-14 and provided an outlet for the Park Slope school's student athletes. Hitting Back gives them the publicity they deserve. In his free time, he also attends Ranger games and is a loyal St. John's alum with a sports management degree. The Battle Of New York administrator and chief editor can be followed below on Twitter and Facebook.
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