7:12 p.m.: Sorry for this being late. We actually dropped our wallet at a Subway in North Huntingdon and had to run out to some good Sumaritan's house to reclaim it. By the looks of things, we only missed a minute of the Capitals game. The Rangers' scratches are Blair Betts and Colton Orr. Washington has scratched Jeff Schultz, Donald Brashear and Michael Nylander. We're not sure why suspended players like Brashear go into the roster report as scratches. Brashear is being replaced by captain Chris Clark who hasn't played since January.
7:18: Martha Stewart Christine Simpson informs us of all the security measures being taken near the Rangers' bench. Fans are taking their own measures as well with John Tortorella back from coach jail as they are sporting rain ponchos:
7:19: Nik Antropov finally helps the Penguins for once this season. After Sean Avery outworkds Brian Pothier for the puck in the corner, Brandon Dubinsky goes to the net with the puck. Simeon Varlamov poke checks it away from him but Antropov follows up on it and blasts it by Varlamov on the stick side. Dubinsky and Avery get the assists. The Rangers needed to start this game well. Rangers 1-0.
(Yeah, we know the Rangers are on the road. We just trying to have some fun.)
7:22: The scratches from the Carolina-New Jersey game have been posted. Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond and Kevin Weekes are scratched for the Devils. Carolina has scratched Drayson Bowman, Brandon Sutter, Michael Ryan, Zach Boychuk, Brett Carson, Bryan Rodney, Patrick Dwyer and Justin Peters.
7:28: Alex Ovechkin tried to make a rush up the ice but got stood up on a nice check by Dan Girardi. A little while later, Avery gets plastered into the boards in front of the Rangers bench by Ovechkin. Who are Penguins fans rooting for in that one?
7:30: We've lugged our PC from upstairs to our coffee table in our living room in order to watch the Devils-Hurricanes game which has just started.A replay of Mike Rupp's Stanley Cup-winning goal in 2003 is replayed:
7:35: So much for the Rangers' fast start. Nicklas Backstrom leaves a drop pass for Semin. Semin shoots a wrister which Ryan Callahan gets a piece of. It flutters in by Lundqvist on the glove side. Lucky goal but it counts. Backstrom and Mike Green get assists. Capitals 1, Rangers 1.
7:41: We've had a pretty long delay in the Capitals-Rangers game due to, imagine this, problems with the glass. Meanwhile in the swamps, Matt Cullen moves up the right wing, leaves a drop pass for Tuomo Ruutu. Ruutu throws a rather pedestrian wrister at the cage that beats Brodeur. A really weak goal for Brodeur to give up. Especially in a Game 7. Cullen and Dennis Seidenberget get assists. Hurricanes 1-0.
7:44: So much for goaltending ruling in New Jersey. The Devils tie it up. Travis Zajac hustles for a loose puck in the corner and leaves a drop pass behind the cage for Zach Parise. Parise move to the left of the net and zip a cross-crease pass to Jamie Langenbrunner who bangs in the easy goal. Two goals within the first three minutes of that game. Geez. Parise and Zajac get assists. Parise hasn't had a point in three games. Devils 1, Hurricanes 1.
7:49: End of period in Washington. Capitals 1, Rangers 1.
7:54: In a collision of syllables we'll likely never see again, Johnny Oduya blasts Tuomo Ruutu with a beautiful check in the neutral zone.
7:59: Instead of actually producing any of their own segments in between periods, Versus will often just used these NHL-produced clips which are actually pretty good. Tonight's was a story about Bernie Parent losing his goaltenders mask:
8:01: Not that we've ever paid too much attention to this, but have there ever been an NHL Network commercial on Versus? We can't recall any. We just saw a commercial for MLB Network. And we're fairly certain that's not the first time that commercial has been on Versus, a "partner" with the NHL.
8:02: From the left wing, John Madden dishes a nice little pass into the slot. Jay Pandolfo is there to poke it by Cam Ward and to give the Devils a lead. That really nice pass by Madden set that goal up. Madden and Brendan Shanahan get the assists. Pandolfo and Madden each record their first points of the playoffs. Devils 2-1.
8:07: The second period of the Rangers-Capitals game begins.
8:09: Henrik Lundqvist just make a huge save for New York. Alex Ovechkin rips a big wrister from the slot. Lundqvist makes the save but gives up a bad rebound. Viktor Kozlov comes in from the left wing, picks up the puck, dekes to the right and is simply robbed by a diving Lundqvist. Huge save.
8:13: End of period in New Jersey. Erik Cole gives the business to Oduya for the hit on Ruutu. Devils 2, Hurricanes 1.
8:19: Callahan get denied in tight by Valamov.
8:22: Nikolai Zherdev accidently (?) trips up Mike Green in the corner. Green takes a tumble and smacks the side of his head against the boards. That looked a little nasty. Speaking of nasty, why is it the NFL can manage to get commercials for big giant more mainstream companies like Sprint or Chunky Soup. The NHL has commercials for herpes medicine. Seriously, can you imagine a seven-year-old Rangers fan sitting at their home watching this game and having to ask their dad with herpes is?
8:31: With things slowing down and tightening up in Washington, the second period starts in New Jersey.
8:37: Just as things come to and end with the second period in Washington, Carolina scores. Maybe. From behind the net, Eric Staal, who has a brother we understand, dishes a feed to Ray Whitney in the slot. Whitney shoots the puck but whiffs a bit on the shot. It hits off his skate and goes under Brodeur. A really weird goal. After a brief review, the goals is upheld. Staal and Chad LaRose get assists. Devils 2, Hurricanes 2. Capitals 1, Rangers 1.
8:50: To quote Mike Emrick, "Biiig Blaasst... Sceeeeoooorrrreeee!!" Brian Gionta moves up the right wing and clunks a cross ice pass off the boards on the left wing. Brian Rolston joins the play late and blasts a one-timer basically that burns Ward. Huge slapper. Gionta and Shanahan get assists. Shanahan has two assists. Devils 3-2.
8:57: Big chance for the Hurricanes. Already killing a penalty, Shanahan hooks Eric Staal in the neutral zone. It's a iffy call at best that will give Carolina a two-man advantage for 1:08.
8:59: Play has resumed in Washington. Will killing his own penalty, Lundqvist just made an amazing toe save with his left foot on a point shot that was redirected on net. Lundqvist has regrouped after a tough couple of games.
9:00: New Jersey dodges trouble as it kills off Shanahan's penalty. Carolina really missed an opprotunity to tie the game there with a two-man advantage.
9:04: The Devils kill off another Carolina power play.
9:06: Ovechkin jumps on a loose puck in the left faceoff circle and is simply stoned by Lundqvist. We have a feeling next goal in this game wins.
9:08: Tim Gleason cracks Zach Parise in the face. Parise has a cut under his left eye. That's a four-minute power play for New Jersey. This could determine this game.
9:10: Just after Varlamov is forced to kick out a nice re-direct attempt by Markus Naslund, Cam Ward eats up a prime scoring chance by Patrik Elias from the slot.
9:13: End of the second period in New Jersey. The Devils will have 1:20 of power play time to start the third. Devils 3-2.
9:18: After Avery gets a step on him, Milan Jurcina is able to recover just enough to body Avery off the puck as he approached the net. Avery failed to even get a shot on net.
9:20: Whoa.... When did it become 1998 in here? After a nifty backhanded pass by Matt Bradley in the Capitals zone, Sergei Fedorov dusts off his skates and is off to the races down the left wing. Fedorov moves into the offensive zone with speed, pulls up, used Wade Redden as a screen and zips a simply sick wrister shot over Lundqvist on the glove side. What a shot. Bradley, the former Penguin, gets the only assist. Fire Craig Patrick. Capitals 2-1.
9:24: Lundqvist keeps the Rangers alive. Ovechkin and Semin approach the net on a two-on-one. Ovechkin deals the puck to Semin who can't really do much with it and shoots it into Lundqvist.
9:26: With just 51 seconds left, Avery limps off the ice after collison with Fedorov. Hard to feel sympathy for Avery, but Fedorov got him with a knee-on-knee hit.
9:27: The Capitals call a time out.
9:28: David Steckel generates a breakaway and can't beat Lundqvist's left foot.
9:29: End of game. Capitals 2, Rangers 1. The Penguins will face either Boston or Washington.
9:31: Poison's "Nothing But a Good Time" is played during the handshake line:
9:33: Carolina kills off Gleason's second penalty.
9:35: Versus picks up the FSN Carolina feed which is actually about 30 seconds slower than our GameCenter feed.
9:39: After giving us about five minutes of the feed, Versus dumps the Carolina broadcast citing contract obligations. Why even show it to us? That was really just stupid. What contract allows them to show us five minutes of the broadcast and that's it?
9:45: What's up with Mike Green's hair?
9:47: Ruutu got completely leveled in the corner by Patrik Elias. Ruutu's in a heap on the ice.
9:55: Elias and Joni Pitkanen each go to the box. Four-on-four.
9:57: Colin White and John Madden create a two-on-one against Seidenberg. Madden keeps the puck and shoots. Ward makes the save.
10:05: Oh geez. Where's Max Talbot? The Hurricanes just tied the game with 1:19 left. After a gutsy effort by Tim Gleason to keep the puck in the offensive zone, Pitkanen controls the play on the left wing. He zips a cross ice pass to Jokinen who cranks a shot by Brodeur's left leg. Wow. Pitkanen and Gleason get assists. Devils 3, Hurricanes 3.
10:08: Uh wow. Wow. Wow. Eric Staal just scored. He comes down the right wing and throws another rather soft wrister by Brodeur on the far side with 31 seconds left. How can Brodeur give up a tissue-soft goal that late in a Game 7. Hurricanes 4-3.
10:10: With Brodeur pulled, Elias can't beat Ward.
10:11: End of game. Hurricanes 4, Devils 3. WOW! The Hurricanes scored two goals in the final 1:19 to win this game. Amazing. Just shocking. The Penguins get the Capital sin the second round. The Bruins get the Hurricanes.
-Just amazing. We're still stunned we watched that Hurricanes game. How can the Devils have such a bad meltdown? How can the supposed best goaltender in the history of the allow two shaving creme soft goals like he did in the game, especially the goal by Staal late?
-What a complete and utter failure by the NHL to get this game on Versus, even if it was just the tale end of it. Instead of watching arguably one of the best playoff game ever, Versus had "Sports Soup." on. ESPN always manages to get complete and live looks in at any significant baseball game available. Even if it's in April. The NHL can't even find a way to get a playoff game on "national" television? Is it any wonder the NHL is still a punchline in this country? Is it any wonder the growth of this sport is stunted in this country?