Staal travels with Rangers for first time this season

From the “Hmm, interesting” file: New York Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, who has not played this season due a post-concussion syndrome, traveled for the first time as the Blueshirts made their way to Florida this afternoon.

The Rangers will face the Panthers on Wednesday before flying back up to Washington for a date with the Caps on Friday.

Staal isn’t the only injured Ranger making the trip. Forwards Mike Rupp (knee) and Wojtek Wolski (hernia) are also on IR and flying down to the Sunshine State, according to Blueshirts United.

Couple ways to look at this.

Option A: Teams often fly injured players on road trips as they’re good opportunities for team-building and whatnot. (By team-building we mean making rookies drop $13k on dinner, then getting bottle service at the Lotus Lounge.) It’s what the Flyers did a couple weeks ago in Naples, for example. The problem with this theory is the Rangers are only in Florida for one game and don’t have much down time between contests.

Option B: Injured players sometimes travel with the team to get back “in the groove” (for lack of a better term) prior to returning. It’s a way to get reacquainted with time zone changes, sleeping in different hotel beds and the joys of airport security. While this might be the case for Rupp and Wolski, it’s not for Staal. He only recently received medical clearance to begin light workouts and is a ways from returning to game action.

Option C: It’s pouring rain in New York right now and they simply wanted to catch some rays. I could totally see Wolski showing up at JFK in Bermuda shorts and sunglasses, with zinc oxide on his nose.

Brad Marchand wins it … on a penalty shot … in overtime

Boston Bruins' Brad Marchand celebrates after scoring on a penalty shot during the overtime period of the Boston Bruins 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres in an NHL hockey game in Boston Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
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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.

Crosby kills the Cats: Penguins end Panthers’ winning streak

Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby (87) collides with Florida Panthers' Connor Brickley (86) during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Pittsburgh, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

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.

Video: Mika Zibanejad’s check to Tyler Bozak’s head

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Saturday’s been unkind to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and not just on the scoreboard (where it’s 3-0 early on against the Ottawa Senators).

The Maple Leafs lost Tyler Bozak to an apparent upper-body injury thanks to a questionable hit by Sens forward Mika Zibanejad.

You can judge that check (which drew a minor penalty for illegal check to the head) in the video above. Again, Bozak will not return to tonight’s game.

It’s unclear if Bozak will miss time beyond this contest.

Update: It didn’t get much better going forward; the Senators beat the Maple Leafs 6-1.

Malcolm Subban hospitalized after taking puck to throat

Malcolm Subban

Scary stuff on Saturday: multiple reporters (including the Maine Hockey Journal’s Chris Roy) note that Malcolm Subban was taken to a hospital after a puck struck his throat during warm-ups.

There’s no word yet on Subban’s condition beyond that he was taken away in an ambulance.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins seem like they’ve been left scrambling for a backup goalie in Subban’s absence.

Subban stated days ago that he’s taken some significant steps forward during the 2015-16 season.

Update: This seems fairly positive.