NHL

NHL playoffs: 4 stories from Thursday night

The opener of the Round 2 matchup between the Ducks and Flames wasn't even close, while the Capitals stole one from the Rangers with a very late goal at Madison Square Garden. Here are four stories from Thursday night's NHL playoff action.

Anaheim destroys Calgary, Washington beats New York on late goal

Anaheim beats Calgary 6-1. 0:28

The opener of the Round 2 matchup between the Ducks and Flames wasn't even close, while the Capitals stole one from the Rangers with a very late goal at Madison Square Garden.

Here are four stories from Thursday night's NHL playoff action.

Ducks ice Flames

Although the Calgary Flames avoided getting shut out, the first game in their second-round series against the Anaheim Ducks was a complete disaster. 

Anaheim scored early and often on its way to a laughable 6-1 victory over the visiting Flames. 

Ducks winger Corey Perry scored twice and had his second four-point night of this year's playoffs. He also scored the goal that would chase Flames goaltender Jonas Hiller from the net in the second period. 

Flames rookie Sam Bennett scored the lone goal for Calgary, his third of the playoffs, and that was the only good news in a night that saw the early exit of top scorer Jiri Hudler.

Additionally, Flames forward Micheal Ferland absorbed several big hits in the first period and did not return to the game.



Unhappy homecoming

Hiller did not get the result he was looking for against his former team. 

The 33-year-old netminder, who played seven seasons with Anaheim before coming to Calgary via free agency over the summer, got the hook early in the second period after allowing three goals on 14 shots. 

This is the second consecutive game that Hiller needed to be replaced. He was pulled in Game 6 of his team's first-round series against the Vancouver Canucks after allowing two goals on three shots. The difference in that game was Calgary was able to rally and eliminate the Canucks. 

Hiller was only pulled twice in 44 regular-season starts for the Flames. Unfortunately, things didn't exactly improve for Calgary after Karri Ramo took his position. 



Ward wins it for Washington

The Washington Capitals took Game 1 against the New York Rangers with a 2-1 victory at MSG. 

It was a close game that was decided with only 1.3 seconds remaining. Capitals winger Joel Ward played the hero for his team by burying a feed from captain Alex Ovechkin.

Ward's goal earned him a measure of redemption for a very similar missed opportunity earlier in the game. 


Ovechkin had a two-point night, opening the scoring in the first with the kind of flair only he could pull off. 

The game-winning goal was not without some controversy. The play responsible for the go-ahead goal was an ugly-looking hit by Nicklas Backstrom, who laid out Dan Boyle. No penalty was called.


Holtby has hot hand

Capitals netminder Braden Holtby was nearly perfect, keeping the Rangers scoreless until the 15:21 mark of the final frame, and stopping 31 shots in the process. 

The 25-year-old goalie had a strong performance, but it was a tough night at the office. New York showed its frustration with him in a familiar manner. 

Holtby had a run-in with Rangers winger Chris Kreider, who is a repeat offender when it comes to interactions with goalies. 


Fortunately, Holtby seemed unscathed by the incident and no one was entirely surprised by Kreider's play. 

With files from The Canadian Press

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