While it seemed like a long shot from the get go with Chris Pronger coming back from knee surgery, he skated this morning with the team to see if he might, in fact, be able to start tonight against the Penguins. As it turns out, Pronger will need more time to get the knee healthy and will miss out on the season opener in Pittsburgh. Mike Morreale of NHL.com gets the update.
Pronger was one of the last players off the ice following the team’s afternoon skate at Consol Energy Center, a signal that his surgically repaired right knee remains a bit bothersome.
“I guess we’ll see how it feels tonight, but I think it needs to get stronger to play in an NHL-caliber game,” Pronger told the media after his skate. “I’ve only had two good practices and I’ll need a little more of that. Obviously, I’ll gauge how it feels. Some days I’ll rest and do strength training and other days we’re going to practice and try to get out there as much as I can.”
Morreale reports that Pronger would’ve joined the Flyers on their road trip to Pittsburgh and St. Louis no matter what and that testing his knee out is all part of the process. The Flyers enter tonight’s game against Pittsburgh without Pronger, Michael Leighton and will start rookie Sergei Bobrovsky in goal. The Flyers are certainly going out of their way to be accommodating to the Penguins as they open the season in the brand new CONSOL Energy Center in Pittsburgh.
Former Flyer Arron Asham will not suit up for Pittsburgh, however, as he’s been placed on injured reserve by the Penguins. At least the Flyers won’t have to possibly deal with an important role player from their Eastern Conference championship team getting back at them in the first game of the season. Moral victories like that are fun. Or would that be a Pyrrhic victory? I’m not a scholar.
Teams drop the puck at 7:00 pm and the game will be carried nationally on Versus.
Raanta rewards Rangers for starts over Lundqvist by blanking Blackhawks
If someone told you that the New York Rangers started a goalie on back-to-back nights, and that goalie wasn’t Henrik Lundqvist, you’d probably wonder if he was hurt or retired.
Nope. It just so happens that Antti Raanta is playing at an incredibly high level, Alain Vigneault noticed, and that decision paid dividends on Friday night. Raanta won both nights of a back-to-back, allowing a single goal (with the Rangers protecting him, being that he only needed to stop 43 of 44 shots during that span).
Raanta and the Rangers blanked the Chicago Blackhawks with a 1-0 overtime win, at least briefly climbing to first place in the massively competitive Metro Division:
1. Rangers – 39 points in 29 games played
2. Penguins- 37 points in 27 GP
3. Blue Jackets – 36 points in 25 GP
4. Capitals – 35 points in 26 GP
5. Flyers – 35 points in 29 GP
Nick Holden ended up scoring the only goal of the game:
Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost but at least salvaged a standings point and it seems like Patrick Kane is OK after this injury scare:
Raanta improved to 7-1-0 on the season, allowing two goals or less in all but one of his appearances so far this season. That’s the kind of work you’d expect to see if you’re going sit a guy who’s, you know, a living legend.
Blue Jackets remain in thick of things in Metro on tough night for Red Wings
As the Columbus Blue Jackets keep rolling, the Detroit Red Wings are probably just happy to get Friday behind them.
For the second straight game, the Blue Jackets beat their opponent 4-1.
They’re now on a five-game winning streak, and like the climbing St. Louis Blues, things look great if you go back a little further. They’re 10-1-2 in their last 13 games and 13-2-3 since November began.
The New Jersey Devils have been incredibly difficult to beat at home. Lately, the St. Louis Blues have been on a roll just about anywhere.
On Friday night, the Blues were the hotter team, handing the Devils their first home loss in regulation in 2016-17. And it wasn’t particularly close, with St. Louis winning 4-1.
It’s a convenient time to note that the Blues rank among the hottest teams in the NHL. Most recently, they’re 5-1-1 in their last seven games, but they’ve been especially impressive since they flirted with .500 at 7-6-3. Beginning with a 4-1 win against the Buffalo Sabres on Nov. 15, the Blues are on a 8-2-1 tear.
This leaves them second in the Central with a 16-8-4 record.
That’s impressive stuff.
This 4-1 win was quite the showcase for Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Tarasenko, in particular. Tarasenko collected three assists while Fabbri scored two goals on Friday night. His second goal was particularly slick:
The Blues are right in saying that this was a pretty fitting opportunity to drop a “Holy Jumpin.”
Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk has been the most difficult goalies to score against this season. Leave it to a high-level player like Leon Draisaitl to make it look this, well, “easy.”
Draisaitl scored his 13th goal of 2016-17 by capping this pretty give-and-go play with Benoit Pouliot. You can see the frustration from Dubnyk at the end of the tally, as if he was saying “How was I supposed to stop that?” (though probably with more colorful language).
Draisaitl came into Friday with five goals and three assists in his last five games, so he’s been almost unstoppable lately.