Hall Of Famer Rod Langway thinks the Caps are close to being a Stanley Cup winner

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When you’re a Hockey Hall Of Fame member, your opinions tend to carry a bit more weight than the regular guy. When you’re Rod Langway and you’re talking about the Washington Capitals’ chances of winning the Stanley Cup, you’re going to command a bit more attention than that still.

Such is the case as Langway was asked about what he felt about the team during a charity function in Baltimore. Langway, a former Capitals star in his own right, can sympathize with the misfortunes of the current Caps team as Langway never got to play in the Stanley Cup finals while playing in Washington, something these Caps have yet to do as well.

So what does Langway see as the problem? You’d better not be pointing the finger at coach Bruce Boudreau as CSNWashington.com’s Chase Hughes found out.

Langway said the problem isn’t Bruce Boudreau and defended the coaching staff as a whole as “excellent.”  He instead said the problem is a lack of playoff experience and general health when the playoffs come around.

“I think it’s wear and tear on a lot of players playing a lot of ice. When you have Ovechkin and players like [Mike] Green, I think the last two years they’ve been hurt or injured and playing hurt. You can’t play in the playoffs with your best players just playing on one leg or having to really struggle to get through the game,” he said.

“They’ve got to be healthy going down the stretch, and experience really helps in the playoffs because it is a whole different game.”

Health? That’s a new one.

Langway says he likes the moves the team made in the offseason including landing Roman Hamrlik to help on defense and, of course, getting Tomas Vokoun to play goal. That veteran experience is the exact sort of thing that Langway was talking about the team needing to help them get to the Stanley Cup finals. The additions of Joel Ward and Troy Brouwer as well will be a boost to their forward units and Brouwer brings with him the recent experience of winning it all with the Blackhawks in 2010.

Will Langway’s Hall Of Fame smarts prove to be correct for the Capitals when it comes to the playoffs? We’ll find out, but with the way Washington is built now you have to like their chances of being able to win it all a bit more heading into the season.

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.

WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.

As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.

While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.

Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.

It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.