There were no fighting majors and only one goal, but both teams played with a lot of intensity. After a weak showing in the first half of Game 1, the Ottawa Senators have managed to fight on equal ground with the first seed New York Rangers. It really has been evidence that you can’t count on any first round opponent to be easy in the post-lockout era.
Still, the Rangers managed to earn a 1-0 win in Ottawa and take a 2-1 series lead. Although regular season statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, it’s worth noting that the Senators were an unimpressive 20-17-4 at home this season. In fact, Ottawa actually had a better record on the road.
Let’s get the discussion started.
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- The Senators have been using tough guy Zenon Konopka in unusual situations during the playoffs. He averaged just nine seconds of power-play ice time per game in the regular season, but he got 1:03 minutes of ice time with the man advantage on Saturday and another 1:18 minutes Monday.
- Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist posted his first playoff shutout since April 18, 2009.
- There were plenty of Rangers and Senators players on both sides that were willing to sacrifice their bodies to block a shot. The Rangers’ Stu Bickel’s blocked shot on Jim O’Brien’s attempt early in the second period might have prevented what would have been a critical goal.
- Brian Boyle has found the back of the net in each of the Rangers’ first three playoff games.
Following his stunning 41-game suspension, it looks like Raffi Torres has at least one former teammate in his corner.
We haven’t yet seen how the San Jose Sharks or the NHLPA are reacting to the league’s hammer-dropping decision to punish Torres for his Torres-like hit on Jakob Silfverberg, but Jason Demers decided to put in a good word for Torres tonight.
It was a simple message: “#FreeTorres.”
Demers, now of the Dallas Stars, was once with Torres and the Sharks. (In case this post’s main image didn’t make that clear enough already.)
Perhaps this will become “a thing” at some point.
So far, it seems like it’s instead “a thing (that people are making fun of).”
… You get the idea.
The bottom line is that there are some who either a) blindly support Torres because they’re Sharks fans or b) simply think that the punishment was excessive.
The most important statement came from the Department of Player Safety, though.
Those who feel as though the Boston Bruins may rebound – John Tortorella, maybe? – likely rest some of their optimism on the back of a healthy Zdeno Chara.
It’s possible that he’s merely limping into what may otherwise be a healthy 2015-16 season, but it’s definitely looking like a slow start thanks to a lower-body injury.
The latest sign of a bumpy beginning came on Monday, as several onlookers (including CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty) pointed out that Chara was listed on injured reserve.
As Haggerty notes, that move is retroactive to Sept. 24, so his status really just opens up options for the Bruins.
Still … it’s a little unsettling, isn’t it?
The Bruins likely realize that they need to transition away from their generational behemoth, but last season provided a stark suggestion that may not be ready yet. Trading Dougie Hamilton and losing Dennis Seidenberg to injury only make them more dependent on the towering 38-year-old.
This isn’t really something to panic about, yet it might leave a few extra seats open on the Bruins’ bandwagon.