Alex Ovechkin shines as Capitals crush Canadiens

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Washington Capitals celebrate after a goal against the Montreal Canadiens Saturday, April 20, 2013.

Ovechkin scored twice to reach the 30-goal mark for the season as the Capitals downed the sagging Montreal Canadiens 5-1 on Saturday night.. It was Washington’s 13th win in their last 16 games.. Alexander the Great stretched his lead to three goals over Tampa Bay’s Steven Stamkos in his race for a third Rocket Richard Trophy as the NHL’s top goal-scorer.. He has 20 goals in his last 18 games.. “It’s good, I’m pretty happy I scored some goals and we won the game,” said Ovechkin.. “But we still have three games left to play and the next one is the biggest game of the year.” The Capitals (25-18-2) will be at home to face the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night with both teams battling for first place in the Southeast Division.. Washington has a three-point lead and each team has three games remaining in the regular season.. “Now we have some time to relax and refresh our bodies and our minds and be ready for the next one,” Ovechkin added.. Caps never in danger Troy Brouwer also scored twice and Nicklas Backstrom had the other as the Capitals took the early lead and were never in danger against the listless Canadiens (27-13-5).. Max Pacioretty spoiled Braden Holtby’s shutout bid with a goal with 5:09 left in regulation time for the home side, which heard some booing from the Bell Centre crowd in its final home game of the regular season. source:

NHL awards vote coming down to wire

The 12-person USA TODAY Sports power rankings panel voted on April 22 on top players for postseason awards. The results - MVP: 1. Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby led the league with 56 points and had a plus 26 rating, despite missing more than three weeks with a broken jaw. Points: 50. First-place votes: 8

The latest vote of the 12-member USA TODAY Sports power rankings shows that postseason awards could also come down to the wire.. Post to Facebook A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.. Tweeted!. A tweet has been posted to your Twitter account.. Sent!. A link has been sent to your friend’s email address.. NHL awards vote coming down to wire Mike Brehm, USA TODAY Sports12:39 a.m.. EDT April 23, 2013 Minnesota Wild defenseman Ryan Suter was tied with Montreal’s P.K.. Subban and Pittsburgh’s Kris Letang in the latest power rankings vote.. (Photo: Russell LaBounty, USA TODAY Sports) Story Highlights Sidney Crosby leads MVP vote, but Alex Ovechkin is closing in There’s a dead heat in the Norris Trophy race Sergei Bobrovsky moves atop the goalie vote More than playoff positioning is at stake in the final week of the season.. The latest vote of the 12-member USA TODAY Sports power rankings suggests that postseason awards could also come down to the wire.. Eight people on the panel are voting members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association, which will decide the Hart Trophy (MVP), Norris Trophy (defenseman) and Calder Trophy (rookie), among others. source:

Ken Dryden spearheads public debate about concussions

Hockey Hall of Famer Ken Dryden has taken to moderating public panels on sports concussions.

This is a question that needs a lot more way, a lot more answers.” Dryden hosted the event with what he jokingly called a “Johnny Carson” style.. He interviewed his guests seated on couches in front of a live audience in a university theatre after moderating similar panels in Dryden, Ont., Guelph, Ont., and Regina.. The 65-year-old won six Stanley Cups and the Vezina Trophy, the award for the NHL’s top goaltender, five times while playing for the Montreal Canadiens in the 1970s.. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983.. Post-hockey, Dryden authored several books, notably The Game, and was a Liberal Member of Parliament from 2004 to 2011.. He served as Minister of Social Development in former Prime Minister Paul Martin’s government.. Dryden believes there will be catastrophic repercussions if the sports community doesn’t get to the bottom of concussions.. “I think that this is one of those big questions like cigarette smoking was 40 or 50 years ago that we look back on now and we wonder how we could have been so stupid,” he said.. “I think this is the one, in sports, that 40 or 50 years from now, people will look back at us and wonder ‘What was wrong with them?. How didn’t they get it?. Why were they so stupid?’ “Even those who know quite a bit know that they don’t know a lot. source:

Canadiens on final road trip seeking to right ship

The Maple Leafs play back-to-back at the Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Panthers on Wednesday and Thursday before returning home to face the Canadiens on Saturday.. If Montreal loses its two road games in regulation and Toronto gets a split in Florida, that final game of the season would determine home ice in a first-round series between the two clubs because the Maple Leafs hold an edge in the first tiebreaker (regulation and overtime wins).. But the Canadiens are not thinking that far ahead.. They want to figure out what has gone wrong of late and fix it starting Tuesday in New Jersey, where a victory would leave Montreal a point won or lost by Toronto from clinching home ice in the first round.. “There’s a lot of pride in this room, and I think that pride is what got us here in the first place, what we saw in the first 40 games,” Canadiens center Lars Eller said.. “That’s going to show the next three games.” The real drop-off in the play of the Canadiens can be pinned to April 11, when they became the third team in the NHL to clinch a playoff spot with a 5-1 win at the Buffalo Sabres.. Since then, Montreal lost 5-1 in Toronto, 7-3 at home to the Philadelphia Flyers, 6-4 at the Pittsburgh Penguins, won 3-2 at home against Tampa Bay on a last-minute goal by Brian Gionta , and lost 5-1 to the Washington Capitals at home Saturday.. “Our practices have been a little more sloppy,” Bourque said.. “Guys have, I don’t know, I wouldn’t say tuned out, but kind of taken our foot off the gas a little bit.. We need to get back on there and make sure we’re ready, because we can’t change the way we play at the flick of a switch.. It’s going to take a little time, and it needs to start [Tuesday] night.” Coach Michel Therrien cancelled a planned day off Sunday to put his team through an intense, 75-minute practice, and there was a similar feel to the hour-long session Monday. source:

NHL Gameday Preview: Montreal Canadiens @ New Jersey Devils – Game 46

Canadiens to watch: Michael Ryder – He has really found his game since being acquired by Montreal as he has 21 points in 24 games.. Andrei Markov – After an excellent start to the season, the veteran defenseman has just three points in his last 10 games and a -10 rating in that span.. Carey Price – Price has had a tough time stopping pucks of late as he’s allowed 22 goals in his last six starts.. Devils to watch: Andrei Loktionov – After getting off to a great start in New Jersey, Loktionov has really struggled of late recording just one point in his last eight games.. Adam Larsson – With the Devils officially eliminated from playoff contention, it makes sense to increase Larsson’s workload a little bit and see what he can do.. After playing less than 19 minutes in eight of 10 games, Larsson has played 19 or more in two consecutive games.. Alex Urbom – Urbom will be getting his first look with the Devils this season.. You can bet he’ll be looking to make a good impression and try and get the jump on a roster spot for next season.. ————————————————————————————————- source:

Montreal 0, New Jersey 0

They will play in New Jersey, Winnipeg and Toronto to close the season and are 13-6-2 as the visiting club this season.. Defenseman Josh Gorges said after Saturday’s loss it’s not a case of the club needing to get away from its home fans, but more of coming together to fix the recent struggles.. “Not necessarily the fact that we’re out of (the Bell Centre),” said Gorges, “but the fact that we can be with just ourselves for the last week and make sure that we’re as a group, for an entire three games, building so that come Game 1 of the playoffs, we’re at the top of our game.” The Devils were not at the top of their game down the stretch and that will keep them out of the postseason for the second time in three years.. That comes as a bit of a surprise after New Jersey advanced all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last season.. However, an 0-6-4 slump from March 25-April 15 put the club in a deep hole and after winning two straight, New Jersey was officially eliminated from the playoff race with a 4-1 setback on Sunday to the New York Rangers, who the Devils had bested in last year’s Eastern Conference finals.. Martin Brodeur made 18 saves and Andrei Loktionov scored the Devils’ lone goal with 6:30 to play.. “It’s difficult to take.. I think we have a great hockey team and we competed really hard all year,” said Brodeur.. “We followed the coach’s system all year, but at the end of day when you don’t score goals, or you don’t score them timely, it’s going to hurt you, especially in a short season.” New Jersey will also host Pittsburgh on Thursday before ending the season at the Rangers on Saturday.. The Devils have lost their first two meetings with the Canadiens this season, including a 2-1 home decision on March 16. source:


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