2010 NHL playoffs: Capitals start Cup run tonight

I’m just going out on a limb here, but
I’m guessing we don’t see the amount of upsets we witnessed last night.

Washington Capitals vs. (8) Montreal Canadiens
p.m. EDT (Versus, TSN, RDS)

Series – 0-0

Capitals launch into their playoff campaign against a team that didn’t
so much as back into the postseason as they held on be their fingertips
to keep from falling off the ledge. The Capitals are an angry, hungry
team that want nothing more than to just tear through the opposition,
and there will be one hell of an atmosphere at the Verizon Center

(3) Buffalo Sabres vs. (6) Boston Bruins
7:00 p.m. EDT (CBC, NESN, MSG)

Series 0-0

Boston Bruins match up well with the Sabres, and will have more than a
legitimate chance at an upset with Tuukka Rask in net. The only question
is whether either team will be actually be able to score any goals. I’m
guessing we’ll see 20-25 shots for each side, maybe one goal a piece
and there is more than likely going to be some overtime involved.

Vancouver Canucks vs. (6) Los Angeles Kings
10:00 p.m.
EDT (Versus, CBC, RDS)

Series – 0-0

Canucks are almost like the forgotten team among all the hype
surrounding the Capitals, Penguins, Coyotes, and Blackhawks, but it’s
important that we don’t count them completely out of it. They were the
highest scoring team in the West, and finished with the second-best goal
differential. Oh yeah, and the Kings can score as well.

The Sedins hope to lead the Canucks past
the first round and beyond, but they’ll have to hope and pray that
Roberto Luongo is able to find his higher level of play. If not, this
could be one heck of a high scoring series.

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    Vigneault: ‘After three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention’

    Alain Vigneault
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    Alain Vigneault has maintained for much of the season that the New York Rangers needed to play better.

    The head coach said it a week ago, after the Blueshirts had beaten the Predators, 3-0, despite getting outshot, 31-19.

    He’d said it a couple of weeks before that, after they’d beaten the Hurricanes in very similar fashion. (Final score: 3-0. Shots: 33-23 for Carolina.)

    But as long as the Rangers kept winning, it was tough, according to Vigneault, to get the message across.

    “Sometimes, the results might be going your way, so when you’re pointing out certain things, it might be a little bit more challenging for them to understand because the results are so positive,” Vigneault said, per the New York Post.

    “But after three losses in a row, I think we’ve got everybody’s attention.”

    Derek Stepan‘s injury — he’ll miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs — has no doubt captured their attention as well. (Oscar Lindberg will center Chris Kreider and Jesper Fast tonight at home to Carolina.)

    The Rangers also play Wednesday, in Brooklyn against the Islanders (on NBCSN).

    Benn, Holtby and Galchenyuk are NHL’s three stars of the week

    Cory Schneider, Alex Galchenyuk ,
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    Stars winger Jamie Benn, Capitals goalie Braden Holtby and Canadiens center Alex Galchenyuk have been named the NHL’s three stars for the past week.

    From NHL.com:

    Benn shared the League lead in goals (4) and points (6) as the Stars (19-5-0, 38 points) won two of three games to continue their best start to a season in the franchise’s 48-year history.

    Holtby posted a 4-0-0 record with a 1.75 goals-against average, .945 save percentage and one shutout to backstop the Capitals (17-5-1, 35 points) to the top of the Metropolitan Division standings.

    Galchenyuk tied for first in the NHL with four goals and added one assist to help the Canadiens (18-4-3, 39 points) earn five of a possible six points and reclaim first place in the League standings.

    As much as the injuries to Carey Price and Brendan Gallagher have been frustrating for the Canadiens, those are short-term issues that should be forgotten soon enough. Galchenyuk’s play, in contrast, is reason for long-term optimism. The 21-year-old is trending towards becoming the elite No. 1 center the Habs have needed so badly. He’s not there yet, but when’s all said and done, he could turn out to be the best forward (or player, period) taken in the 2012 draft.

    Stepan to miss 4-6 weeks with broken ribs


    Derek Stepan is out 4-6 weeks with broken ribs, the New York Rangers announced today.

    Stepan was hurt Friday on a controversial hit by Boston’s Matt Beleskey. The Bruins’ forward did not receive any supplemental discipline for the check, despite admitting it was “maybe…a little bit late.”

    At any rate it’s a big loss for the Rangers, who suddenly find themselves on a three-game losing streak. Considering the timeline, New York could be without one of its top centers for 12-18 games, give or take.

    The Rangers host Carolina tonight.

    Related: Yep, Alain Vigneault went there — ‘I remember Aaron Rome in this building’

    Price to miss minimum six weeks, so no Winter Classic for him

    Carey Price,
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    Carey Price will miss a minimum of six weeks with a lower-body injury, the Montreal Canadiens announced today.

    That means Price will miss the Winter Classic against the Bruins on New Year’s Day. The 28-year-old goalie has only appeared in 12 games this season.

    On the bright side, the reigning Hart Trophy winner will not require surgery. And considering the Habs have already built up a 13-point playoff cushion in the standings, well, if something like this were going to happen during the season, now is as good a time as any.

    Related: The latest on Price’s injury