Following up on this morning’s post about the Rangers getting healthier, some big news: Marc Staal was not only cleared for contact today, but also made it through his first practice sans yellow jersey.
“I totally felt fully confident going on the ice and taking some hits,” Staal told Andrew Gross of the Bergen Record. “There was no doubt in my mind it was the right thing to do.”
There’s still no definitive timetable for Staal’s return. He did participate in battle drills during practice, but said his conditioning needs work in order to prepare for playing 25 minutes a night.
“It will take a bit to get my timing back,” Staal told BlueShirts United. “Like everyone says, you can work out all summer as hard as you want, the moment you get into a corner and start pushing ans shoving and hitting, it just drains you. So it will be good to get that back.”
That 25-minute comment is key given the current state of New York’s blueline — head coach John Tortorella is going almost exclusively with four defenseman given injuries to Steve Eminger and Jeff Woywitka. In New York’s last game against Philadelphia, the top-four of Michael Del Zotto, Dan Girardi, Ryan McDonagh and Anton Stralman all played over 24 minutes.
Here’s hoping that you didn’t take a poorly-timed break in the second period.
For much of Game 7, the Ottawa Senators have been able to slow down the Pittsburgh Penguins, resulting in a contest that went scoreless for what sometimes felt like ages.
Chris Kunitz changed that, long after missing on a golden opportunity shortly after Mike Sullivan decided to put him on Sidney Crosby‘s line. Kunitz finished a nice rush play to make it 1-0 9:55 into the second. Check out that goal below.
Guy Boucher didn’t have to deploy “attack mode” very long, as Mark Stone stunningly tied it up 1-1 just 20 seconds later. That surprising tally can be seen in the clip above this post’s headline.
We finally know the lineups for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Ottawa Senators in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Final.
Pittsburgh’s tweaks are most interesting, which isn’t a huge surprising considering the consistent inconsistency bred by their injury issues.
The Penguins will get Conor Sheary and Justin Schultz back in the mix. Despite showing a lot of energy warming up, Patric Hornqvist isn’t good to go. Here are the full Penguins personnel notes; also realize that this is Matt Murray‘s birthday.
Ottawa places Chris Kelly back in, getting the nod over Tommy Wingels and Colin White. Kelly’s had some experience in these scenarios.
You can watch Game 7 live on NBCSN. The game can also be viewed online and via the NBC Sports App. Here is the livestream link.
The Buffalo Sabres announced the signing of defenseman Victor Antipin* on Thursday, confirming rumors that surfaced more than once this month.
Antipin, 24, enjoyed a solid season in the KHL with Magnitogorsk Metallurg. Even so, the signing might be interesting if it serves as an appetizer for the Sabres bringing in Antipin’s teammate from Metallurg, Chris Lee.
On one hand, Lee is 36 and couldn’t make the jump fromt he AHL to the NHL in previous opportunities (most reently with the Penguins’ farm system in 2009-10). On the other, he had an eye-popping 2016-17 season in the KHL: 65 points in 60 games as a defenseman.
Lee’s previous numbers aren’t as outrageous, but still quite good, at least form a scoring standpoint.
While Lee’s possible addition is a situation to watch, there’s some excitement about Antipin.
“Victor is a well-rounded defenseman who has played in all situations at the pro level,” Sabres GM Jason Botterill said. “His mobility and puck-moving skills make him a perfect match for what we’re hoping to build with our defense corps next season.”
Granted, there’s some debate about his ceiling.
Still, for a Sabres team that badly needs help on the blueline, this addition – or eventually these additions – could provide a nice boost.
* – The Sabres’ releases feature his name spelled “Victor.” Other outlets, including hockeydb, have it as “Viktor.”
Will it be the Ottawa Senators or Pittsburgh Penguins against the Nashville Predators in the Stanley Cup Final? We’ll find out after tonight.
Yes, it’s that time: a Game 7 to see who advances to the final round. The winner will also hold home-ice advantage in the Stanley Cup Final.
Could Erik Karlsson, Craig Anderson, and the rest of the Senators pull off an upset on the road, winning the franchise’s first Game 7? Can Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins give Matt Murray a birthday present with another Game 7 win?
Find out on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ottawa Senators vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (series tied 3-3)
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Network: NBCSN (Stream live here)
Check out the highlights from Ottawa’s 2-1 win in Game 6
—Pretty or not, Sens aim to play their game vs. Pens in Game 7
—Penguins prepare for another Game 7, this time as favorites
—Modern-day Senators have never won a Game 7
—It’s “reasonable” to expect Schultz and Hornqvist will play Game 7