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Kuhnhackl's 'back' goal was no accident - 05-04-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

 

Goals are usually at a premium in the postseason. Defenses get tighter and goaltenders get sharper so scores tend to get smaller come April, May and June.

As a result, the goals tend to get uglier. There aren't nearly many dangles off the left wing or tic-tac-toe passing plays leading to scores. There are plenty of ugly goals from the blue paint which hit off legs, feet, butts or other body parts.

There aren't too many "back" goals though.

Penguins rookie right winger was able to use that portion of his anatomy to score an unusual goal in Monday's 3-2 win against the Capitals in Game 3 of their second round series.

Center Matt Cullen pushed the puck up the left wing and tried to feed a pass to the crease for Kunhnhackl to score through conventional means with his stick. But Capitals defenseman Matt Niskanen managed to get a stick on the pass and block it's pursuit ... somewhat.

The puck fluttered into the air and deflected off Kuhnhackl's back past the glove hand of Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby:

It might have been improbably or even fluky. But it wasn't an accident. Kuhnhackl explained the goal after today's morning skate:

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Did you know the puck had hit your back? Could you feel it?

"I kind of saw it coming and I figured it was going to hit me. I tried to stay as calm as possible. Don't move. Make like a movement towards the puck and it went in."

So you tried to make as broad of a surface for it to hit?

"Yeah, kind of. Just tried to get as big as possible there. I'm glad it hit me."

Cullen was clearly trying to feed you  pass for you to score with your stick.

"I think he made a pretty good fake and Holtby bit on it and went down. Obviously, he tried to slide it over and it went off … I think Niskanen's stick. I'm just glad it went in."

They all count no matter how you get them to go in, right?

"I don't think anyone cares how they go in as long as they go in. There's a saying; They don't ask how. They ask how many."

Have you ever scored a goal that strange or bizarre?

"The one I scored in Boston this year where I slid in the net with the puck, that was similar to that. But like I said, I don't care how they go in."

Note: Kunhackl scored a goal with his skates in a 5-1 road loss to the Bruins Feb 24:

Did any of your teammates give you any grief over the goal Monday?

"Ha... a little bit."

(Photo: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

 

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About the Capitals - Game 4 - 05-04-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

A preview of the Capitals.

When and where: 8:10 p.m., EDT. Consol Energy Center.

TV: NBC Sports, CBC.

Leading postseason scorer: Defenseman John Carlson, 9 points (3 goals, 6 assists).

Last Game: 3-2 road loss to the Penguins in Game 3. Captain/left winger Alex Ovechkin (right) had a goal and an assist for the Capitals.

Probable goaltenders: Matt Murray (5-1, 1.78 GAA, .944 SV%) for the Penguins. Braden Holtby (5-4, 1.44 GAA, .949 SV%) for the Capitals.

Injuries: For the Penguins, center Eric Fehr (undisclosed) and right winger Bryan Rust ("lower body") are questionable. Right winger Beau Bennett (right shoulder) is out and defenseman Olli Maatta (suspected concussion) are out. Right winger Pascal Dupuis (blood clots), center Kevin Porter (right ankle) and left winger Scott Wilson (right ankle or foot) are on injured reserve. For the Capitals, left winger Marcus Johansson ("upper body") is probable.

Potential lines and defensive pairings: The Penguins' lines and pairings at today's morning skate were:

43 Conor Sheary - 87 Sidney Crosby - 72 Patric Hornqvist
62 Carl Hagelin - 13 Nick Bonino - 81 Phil Kessel
14 Chris Kunitz - 71 Evgeni Malkin - 40 Oskar Sundqvist
34 Tom Kuhnhackl - 7 Matt Cullen - 34 Tom Sestito

 51 Derrick PouliotTrevor Daley
Brian Dumoulin - 12 Ben Lovejoy
14 Justin Schultz - 28 Ian Cole

-The Capitals had an optional morning skate. Consider this a guess based on the Capitals' morning skate today:

8 Alex Ovechkin - 19 Nicklas Backstrom - 77 T.J. Oshie
90 Marcus Johansson - 92 Evgeny Kuznetsov - 14 Justin Williams
25 Jason Chimera - 10 Mike Richards - 65 Andre Burakovsky
26 Daniel Winnik - 83 Jay Beagle - 43 Tom Wilson

27 Karl Alzner- 2 Matt Niskanen
9 Dmitry Orlov - 74 John Carlson
6 Mike Weber - 4 Taylor Chorney

Notes:

-The last time the Penguins played the Capitals, this happened:

-Defenseman Kris Letang is suspended one game.

-The Penguins recalled left winger Tom Sestito and defenseman Steve Oleksy from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.

-Head coach Mike Sullivan described Fehr, Maatta and Rust as game-time decisions.

-Capitals defenseman Brooks Orpik is suspended for two more games.

-Capitals defenseman Mike Weber, who has been a healthy scratch for three consecutive games, left today's morning skate much earlier than defenseman Nate Schmidt.

-The referees are (No. 4) Wes McCauley and (No. 23) Brad Watson. The stand-by referees are (No. 11) Kelly Sutherland and (No. 15) Jean Hebert. The linesmen are (No. 93) Brian Murphy and (No. 71) Brad Kovachik.

(Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)

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A hello

Written by Brian Batko on .

 

Greetings, Dukes fans.

It’s a pleasure to let you know I’m taking over for Craig Meyer on the Duquesne men’s basketball beat, as he heads up the road to Oakland to cover Pitt.

It had become something of a dream of mine to be a full-time reporter writing about a college basketball team, and I intend to match your passion for Duquesne basketball with a passion for knowing as much as I possibly can about Duquesne basketball.

I’m a born and bred Pittsburgher, growing up in and going to high school at Shaler, then attending college at Pitt. So I’ve been familiar with Duquesne for a long time; I’m not coming in cold. I’ve attended games as a paying spectator, I’ve covered the City Game and I look forward to being at a heck of a lot more. This past season, I started covering our district college football teams, as well, which meant much chronicling of the Dukes’ historic season on the gridiron.

But to be honest, you could probably say I’m just about addicted to hoops, so that makes this even more special. Certainly at the college level, but also high school (which is another area of my coverage here at the P-G), the pros and hey, I’ll go watch JV and junior high games if I have family playing. It’s my favorite sport — easily — and the only one I played myself in high school (and still play pick-up now at 24).

I can’t promise you an Atlantic 10 championship or NCAA tournament berth, but if either of those things happen, I’m along for the ride. And regardless, I plan to have some fun, because sports are supposed to be fun. Feel free to follow me on Twitter @BrianBatko, and my email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you ever want to get in touch. I've gotten quite a few new Twitter followers and tweets already, so I certainly appreciate that. (There's also a comment box below this post if you want to "join the conversation.")

Hopefully I can pick up where Craig left off and continue the great work he did on the Dukes. Beyond the game itself, I want to get to know the people/personalities/characters Duquesne basketball comprises and their stories, then help you get to know them better, too. Thanks for reading, and don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, comments, complaints, etc. Now I’m probably headed to go watch, play or think about the basketball ring.

 

 

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Empty Netter Assists - Penguins recall Oleksy, Sestito - 05-04-16

Written by Seth Rorabaugh on .

Playoff Stuff
Penguins - Capitals

-The Penguins recalled defenseman Steve Olesky (above) and defenseman Tom Sestito from Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL. Olesky, 30, appeared in 63 AHL games this season and had 19 points (two goals, 17 assists) and a team-leading 123 penalty minutes. Sestito, 28, has played in 41 AHL games this season and had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) and 104 penalty minutes, second most on the team. In four NHL games this season, he had one assist and 19 penalty minutes.

-EN Says: With defenseman Kris Letang suspended and right winger Bryan Rust possibly sidelined due to a "lower-body" injury, these are interesting would-be replacements. Both players clearly bring an element of toughness to the table and have seemingly been recalled as some sort of response to the Capitals' antics through the first three games of this series. Still, it's hard to see either of these limited players actually getting into the lineup. Head coach Mike Sullivan likes both players but we can't see him trusting either of them with substantial ice time.

-Letang was suspended one game for interference against Capitals forward Marcus Johansson in Game 3

-How do the Penguins possibly replace Letang?

-“That’s fine. I haven’t played in a month now. What’s important is us winning. Matty’s giving us a chance to win every night he’s been in there. I’ll stay ready. I’ll encourage him. It’s not a personal game. It’s a team game.” - Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury on serving as a backup to goaltender Matt Murray.

-Johansson missed practice due to an "upper-body" injury.

-After the Jump: The Lightning take a 2-1 series lead.

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47 Stops

Written by Rob Rogers on .

These Stanley Cup playoffs are pretty exciting. The Capitals outplayed the Penguins on Monday night. If not for one rookie goalie, all hope would have been lost. Now the rest of the team has to step up. GO PENS! 

20160504 47 Stops

 

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