Just about any player carries pressure with him when he puts on that beautiful Montreal Canadiens sweater. Still, it’s say to say that Blake Geoffrion will probably feel the boom of fireworks more than most when he makes his Habs debut tomorrow.
The Canadiens colors run deep for him and – let’s be honest – this an incredibly cool moment. Geoffrion is the first fourth-generation player in NHL history and a member of each generation spent at least some time for the Montreal Canadiens:
Howie Morenz (great-grandfather) – Won three Hart Trophies, died at age 34 due to complications from a broken leg suffered during his final NHL game.
Bernie “Boom Boom” Geoffrion (grandfather) – Popularized the slap shot, won six Stanley Cups and one Hart Trophy.
Dan Geoffrion (father) – Played 32 of 111 career NHL games with Montreal.
So to review: his grandfather and great-grandfather both had their numbers retired, with Morenz’s No. 7 being the first Habs sweater to receive that honor. (At least his dad eased the pressure a bit by not being a Hall-of-Famer, though.)
Geoffrion’s lineage makes it a truly special story, but Blake has a chance to make a mark of his own. It’s not like he’s just some guy with a famous last name, either. The Nashville Predators made him the 56th choice (second round) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft before packaging the young player in the Hal Gill deal.
It’s a great story that could get even more fascinating if he makes an impact in more direct hockey terms. At 24 years old, he still has plenty of time to do just that.
(Meanwhile, Louis Leblanc was sent down to the AHL. Judging by his last name, he probably knows his fair share of scrutiny in Montreal, too …)
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.