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 – 7:00
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)
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.
The Montreal Canadiens have signed 39-year-old defenseman Mark Streit to a one-year contract worth a reported $700,000.
This will actually be Streit’s second stint with the Habs. He started his NHL career in Montreal, all the way back in 2005.
Streit split last season between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the playoffs, he only appeared in three games for the Penguins, all of them in the Eastern Conference Final against Ottawa when Justin Schultz was hurt.
What the Streit signing means for Andrei Markov remains to be seen. Streit, like Markov, can run a power play, so it’s tempting to conclude that Streit is Markov’s replacement.
That being said, almost all of Streit’s contract could be buried in the AHL if necessary, so that conclusion may be premature. This could even be a move by GM Marc Bergevin to gain leverage and convince Markov to sign.
Markov, 38, remains an unrestricted free agent. The Canadiens want him back, but only at a certain price.
The New Jersey Devils have signed defenseman Mirco Mueller to a two-year contract extension with a cap hit of $850,000.
Mueller, a first-round draft pick of the Sharks in 2013, has only played 54 NHL games, scoring two goals with four assists. In June, after spending most of 2016-17 in the AHL, San Jose traded the 22-year-old to the Devils.
In New Jersey, Mueller should get a good chance to crack a rebuilding roster.
“Mirco is adding another piece to what we’re trying to build here,” Devils coach John Hynes said, per NJ.com. “He’s a young player, he can play with pace. He’s a very good skater. He’s got size, which is something we need on the back end. He makes a good first pass. He allows you to get out of your own zone because he can break out, he can end plays defensively, get possession, make the pass to be able to transition yourself out of defensive situations.”
The Devils have also re-signed goalie Scott Wedgewood and forward Joseph Blandisi.
The New York Rangers have locked up a key piece of their future, signing center Mika Zibanejad to a five-year deal with a cap hit of $5.35 million.
Zibanejad had an arbitration hearing scheduled for today, but that won’t be required anymore.
The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 23 assists in 56 games last season. It was his first year in New York after getting traded from Ottawa for Derick Brassard.
With Derek Stepan in Arizona now, Zibanejad is arguably the Rangers’ No. 1 center. Kevin Hayes is in that conversation as well, and perhaps Lias Andersson will be soon.
But getting Zibanejad signed long term was a top priority for GM Jeff Gorton this offseason. Hayes can become a restricted free agent next summer, but that’s a bridge to cross at a later date.
Related: Andersson to get ‘every opportunity’ to make Rangers next season
Matt Nieto won’t need his arbitration hearing on Monday.
According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, Nieto has agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract with the Colorado Avalanche.
Nieto split last season between San Jose and Colorado, which claimed him off waivers in January.
In 43 games for the Avalanche, the 24-year-old forward scored seven goals with four assists.
Nieto was the only Colorado player on this summer’s arbitration list. However, the Avs still have a restricted free agent in Nikita Zadorov, who could be off to the KHL next season.