Chris Drury isn’t known as someone who says things just to stir the
pot. So when he calls out his teammates and his team, chances are
there’s some truth and meaning behind his words.
From Dan Martin of the New York Post:
“Immaturity,” he said. “We’d better grow up fast or we’re
going to be watching [the playoffs].”
This was Drury’s statement when asked what the reason was behind a
disappointing effort in a 3-1 loss to the Montreal Canadiens. The
Rangers are fighting for a playoff spot, and as they chase the Boston
Bruins every point becomes more and more important. Are the Rangers
immature? Well, their incosistent play and failure to rise to the
occasion certainly leans in that direction.
John Tortorella is quick to shoot that notion down, however.
“I think that’s the wrong word to use by [Drury],”
Tortorella said following a short practice in advance of tonight’s game
against St. Louis at the Garden (7:00; MSG, ESPN 1050 AM). “We’ve ironed
that out in the locker room.”
The Rangers are facing
a critical juncture in their fight for a playoff spot, as they have a
good chance at pulling within a point of the Bruins prior to Sunday’s
showdown. They could also fall five points back tonight, if they are
unable to beat the St. Louis Blues tonight. Winning is the only option
tonight, as a crucial two points is important in just keeping up with
Maturity? Well, that will be tested tonight. The Blues
are a beatable team, but they’re no pushover. If the Rangers consider
themselves playoff contenders, then tonight’s game should be the most
important game of the season.
Of course, the game against Montreal was the most important game of the season and the Rangers didn’t exactly rise to the occasion then. Perhaps if the Rangers keep coming out flat in big games, falling even further behind the Bruins for 8th place, then Torts won’t keep squashing the public thoughts of his team captain.
It’s said that variety is the spice of life, yet it seems to be the spite of the Minnesota Wild.
As head coach Mike Yeo said, this struggling team appears to find a new way to lose virtually every night. That couldn’t have happened once again on Saturday, when they fell 4-1 to the St. Louis Blues, could it?
If you ask Jarret Stoll, the latest problem was the penalty kill.
Honestly, Stoll may have been too specific, likely trying to throw his own unit under the bus. Instead, it might be more accurate to say that Minnesota’s special teams let them down.
Indeed, the Wild struggled to limit the Blues’ power play, which went an unsettling 3-for-6. That said, Minnesota had a chance to trade blows with St. Louis. Instead, the Wild managed one power-play goal on seven opportunities.
The silver lining is that the Wild believe that they showed more fight than this fragile bunch had been generating before.
On the other hand, with Jonas Brodin on IR and Jared Spurgeon apparently hurt, that silver lining may not be so easy to see.
Worry (if you’re pulling for the Stars) or gloat (if you’re a Blackhawks fan) all you want, but the bottom line is that the Central Division’s No.1 spot is clearly in Chicago’s control after Saturday night.
The Blackhawks earned a decisive 5-1 win against the Dallas Stars, giving them a five-point standings lead over Dallas for the Central Division lead.
You may feel like that’s more of the same, but consider this: things would look a lot closer if Dallas won or gained points, as they hold three games in hand on the ‘Hawks.
At least one Blackhawks player admits this game means a little more than your average W.
Indeed, while Antti Niemi was pulled from the game and Kari Lehtonen faced his own struggles in Dallas’ net, Corey Crawford ranked as one of the big reasons why the score was so lopsided.
(Artem Anisimov had a big say in that, too.)
As a wise coach with 1,000+ games of experience would do, Joel Quenneville didn’t go overboard in assessing the victory.
Was this a statement game? Who knows, but a certain statement is that the Blackhawks now have a five-point standings lead.
Looking at the standings, beating the Buffalo Sabres was pretty important for the Boston Bruins. The Atlantic Division’s run for spots appears particularly congested out East.
Of all the Bruins to get a chance to win it all, the team might have wanted Brad Marchand to have that opportunity. He’s on pace to destroy his previous career-highs for scoring, and Marchand’s been particularly hot lately.
Either way, Marchand came up big indeed, scoring the rare overtime game-winner on a penalty shot. Check out the drama below:
That can be a big extra point and ROW (regulation/overtime win) when the regular season is finished.
Note: Many believe that Marchand should not have received a penalty shot on the play.
For quite some time, it looked like the Florida Panthers would keep the Pittsburgh Penguins under wraps.
Florida nursed a 1-0 lead into a 2-0 margin almost halfway through the third period, looking to win its sixth consecutive game. That looked great … and then Sidney Crosby + Kris Letang happened.
Let’s put it this way: this GIF of Crosby being frustrated is amusing, yet it doesn’t exactly tell the story of Saturday’s 3-2 overtime win for the Penguins:
Instead, Crosby grabbed his 900th point assisting on a Letang goal, and finished the night with 902 by collecting the game-tying goal and grabbing a helper on Letang’s overtime game-winner.
Crosby crossing that barrier is indeed special, even if it prompts “What if?” questions about No. 87’s health.
The resurgence of Crosby and Letang already played a big role in the Penguins going from disjointed and frustrating to sneaky and scary, so it shouldn’t be that surprising to see them play so well. Doing so in such brisk order is a little bewildering, however.