The Winter Classic is just over a week away and tonight’s Flyers-Rangers battle at MSG is the last time these two teams see each other until then. Tonight’s game figures to be a big part of HBO’s next episode of 24/7 to set the table for January 2 and that means plenty of chatter. We’ve got five players we’re rooting to be wired for tonight’s game in hopes of hearing some of the goods.
Not only is what he says fun to listen to in the locker room, as we saw in the first episode, but with all the cameras tuned in on this game for HBO, what are the chances we get a fun goal celebration should he score? Probably slim with the watchful eyes of John Tortorella on the bench, but we can dream, can’t we?
We saw the possibility of Harry Z becoming a breakout personality in the second episode where he talked about playing as Jagr on Sega Genesis and chatting with Ilya Bryzgalov about Siberian huskies and women. He was a big talker on the ice in college at Brown University, it’d be fun to hear what he’d say to the Rangers on ice.
If you need a reason why we want Avery miked up, you’ve missed a lot of hockey over the years. Even if he’s just in the press box tonight, we still want him wired for sound. We haven’t heard a lot from him so far during 24/7 aside from awkward photo shoots. Let’s see a little more of the league’s most divisive player.
We’ve only heard Jagr talk about why he came to Philly and to tell Bryzgalov to leave him alone when he was eating, but we’re curious to know just what kind of chatter he throws out on the ice. Does he talk trash? Does he sling jokes out there? Is he just all about the game and calling out direction? These are things we want to find out.
Prust is proving to be one of the more fun personalities on the Rangers to get to know through the series. He and Brian Boyle are the “Odd Couple” of the team and Prust hasn’t been shy on the ice before. With how he duked it out with Wayne Simmonds during the first episode, let’s see if there’s more going on there and what he’s got to say about it.
Matthews, Leafs get last laugh in OT vs. Laine and the Jets
Hockey fans tend to get their radars up about over-hyping things, particularly promising rookies.
Is it hasty, then, to wonder if there’s something to a rivalry between Auston Matthews (and the Maple Leafs) vs. Patrik Laine (plus the Jets)? If nothing else, the two have come up big in two very exciting games.
Back in October, Laine generated a hat trick as the Jets beat the Maple Leafs 5-4 in overtime. This time around, it was another 5-4 overtime decision … only Matthews and the Maple Leafs took this round.
This isn’t to take anything away from Laine’s performance, mind you. He scored two goals on Tuesday, becoming the rare modern rookie to muster 30 goals. He reminded hockey fans that he only needs the smallest window to make you pay with his deadly, world-class shot.
But Matthews wouldn’t be denied, either, and fittingly did so in a quieter fashion. (Virtually everyone seems a little quieter when Laine’s around, it seems.)
The Maple Leafs’ outstanding rookie managed three assists in this game, giving him 52 points in 59 games. He also has six points in a three-game run and eight in his past five.
Laine? He now has 54 points in 55 games, extending is own point streak to five games (seven goals, three assists).
In other words, it’s really close … just like the games when these two budding stars (and their young, promising teammates) meet.
You might even be tempted to believe the hype.
Serious performance: Blackhawks gain on Wild thanks to Toews’ five points
If the Chicago Blackhawks are going to make up some serious ground and overtake the Minnesota Wild for the Central Division title, they’ll need wins like these.
It’s only fitting that “Captain Serious” Jonathan Toews did the heavy lifting, generating a hat trick and two assists as the Blackhawks beat the Wild 5-3 on Tuesday.
Yes, Toews was involved in every goal. And yes, the Blackhawks won this one in regulation after beating the Wild in overtime last time around. It’s a nice swing for Chicago:
Central Division title chase
1. Wild – 84 points in 59 games (39 wins, 36 ROW)
2. Blackhawks – 79 points in 60 games (37 wins, 35 ROW)
Yeah, that’s still a substantial edge for Minnesota … but this is a significant swing.
Even beyond the name recognition that comes with Toews & Co., the Blackhawks’ push shouldn’t be surprising. They’re red-hot in February so far, going 7-1-0 despite playing seven of eight on the road (strangely losing that lone home contest).
The Wild have played reasonably well in their own right, yet this loss sends them into a bye week with some frustration … and maybe some questions about whether they can hold the Blackhawks off.
Price didn’t just play for Habs; he made the difference vs. Rangers
It’s one thing for Carey Price to shake off that Paul Byron shot in warm-ups. And, honestly, that bump from Shea Weber during the game. But to play like, well, Carey Price? That would be something else.
Well, you probably saw this one coming … but Price had some absolutely great moments against the New York Rangers in an eventual 3-2 shootout win.
He was the main difference-maker, although it must be said that there’s some comic relief in Byron scoring the shootout-winner.
Price vs. Rick Nash felt like a subplot of the overall story.
On one occasion, Price made a resounding stop on a Nash breakaway:
It was quite the night for the aging power forward, however, as he nailed his other opportunity.
Some might be a little sad that Nash vs. Price didn’t go against each other in the shootout, but hey, maybe the two teams could save that for next time?
The Canadiens needed this win more than the Rangers. The Ottawa Senators actually briefly went ahead for first place in the Atlantic Division, but now Montreal has 72 points to Ottawa’s 70 … while the Sens hold two games in hand.
This tweet might only live for a few minutes, but the Ottawa Senators are in first place in the Atlantic Division.
It’s been a nice milestone night for young Jets scorers, as Nikolaj Ehlers also scored his 20th goal of 2016-17.
That 30th goal came less than 30 seconds after Leo Komarov‘s second goal of the contest, putting Winnipeg up 4-3 heading into the third period. For all we know, the Jets might need even more from Laine tonight.