There are probably a lot of emotions flowing through the New York Rangers locker room right now, but one of the definite ones must be “relief.” Yet of all the players, Marian Gaborik might be the most grateful to wave goodbye to the pesky Ottawa Senators after a 2-1 Game 7 victory and 4-3 series win.
In seven games, Gaborik scored one goal and two assists for three points and a -1 rating. Those aren’t outright disastrous numbers, but for a guy who carries a $7.5 million cap hit – not to mention some of the most dazzling wheels and dangerous hands in the NHL – it’s worrisome. If the Rangers were booted tonight, he might have been fitted with the largest goat horns.
The most troubling part might not be his production. Instead, it might be the lack of assertiveness. After firing 276 shots on goal this season (about 3.37 per game), he averaged less than two shots per game in the first round (13 in seven contests). Shots on goal aren’t meant to be a Bible of confidence, yet it provides a window into a sniper’s soul more often than not.
So, the question is: can he get it together?
Looking at his split stats against the Capitals from the regular season, it doesn’t seem like a guarantee. He only managed a single goal and zero assists in four contests against Washington in 2010-11.
Much like the first seven games of the playoffs, that’s a small sample size, though. Gaborik knows as much as anyone that puck luck can be at its cruelest in the postseason. He’ll get a clean slate just like everyone else when that semifinals series starts and if he runs with it, the Rangers will be that much tougher to beat.
Do you think he’ll do it, though?
To say that the Kings haven’t been lucky this season would be an understatement.
Earlier this month, they lost starting goaltender Jonathan Quick for three to four months and now, they may have lost his backup too.
On Saturday, Jeff Zatkoff suffered a groin injury during the team’s morning skate and needed help coming off the ice.
“He stopped a shot, and his groin tightened up,” head coach Darryl Sutter said, per lakingsinsider.com. “We’ve seen it in a game, and now we’ve seen it in practice.”
Even with him in goal, the Kings had been struggling mightily since Quick went down.
Zatkoff has an 0-3 record with a 4.37 goals-against-average and a .839 save percentage in 2016-17.
Expect Peter Budaj to make this second consecutive start. He should be backed up by former first rounder Jack Campbell, according to beat reporter Jon Rosen.
Coming into this year, Budaj had made just one NHL start over the last two seasons.
There is a silver lining in all of this mess.
With Campbell being recalled from AHL Ontario, it means that Los Angeles’ minor league goalie coach, Dusty Imoo, will be the backup for his son Jonah in Ontario’s game against the San Jose Barracuda.
The New York Islanders may have won their home game against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night, but at least one player wasn’t happy with his home rink.
Cal Clutterbuck wasn’t pleased with the quality of the ice and he made it known after the game.
“From about the 5-6 minute mark of the second, you knew it was one of those nights,” Clutterbuck said, per Newsday. “You basically couldn’t string three passes together, the ice was unplayable. But we found a way.”
This is hardly a surprise and it’s not the first time a player has called out the quality of the ice in Brooklyn. Last March, Kyle Okposo mentioned that the ice was “awful”.
We know the ice is bad, but why is it so bad?
Chris Botta reports that the piping system at the Barclays Center isn’t up to NHL standards. The only solution, according to Botta, is to ‘tear up’ the floor of the arena to put in the proper pipes, which is something that should have been done during the off-season.
New York’s next home game is Sunday night against Minnesota.
Hockey players are known for their toughness, but Daniel Winnik is taking it to a whole new level.
The damage was done after Winnik blocked a shot against the Florida Panthers on Thursday night.
After the game, Caps head coach Barry Trotz said his forward had lost a piece of his ear, but it sounds like that wasn’t totally accurate.
“I wouldn’t say I lost a piece of it,” said Winnik, per the Washington Post. “I mean, it’s really chewed up, and obviously some scabs and all of that, but no visible missing piece…The puck hit basically half ear, maybe a little more ear than helmet. Very fortunate it wasn’t way worse.”
He didn’t need any stitches, but they did have to use some glue to patch him up.
To watch how his ear got “chewed up,” click here.
It doesn’t sound like the injury did enough to scare Winnik into putting on a visor or an earpiece.
“I mean, my face has been banged up a lot over the years, and I still haven’t worn a visor. I mean I’ve probably broken my nose like 15 times or something. I just can’t wear it, and the earpieces, I think you’re just used to wearing it for so long without it. I mean you take them out you’re like, ‘Why the hell was I wearing earpieces in the first place?’ But I guess this is kind of an indication on why guys do.”
Here’s a story you don’t see everyday.
Nashville Predators GM David Poile might have to scramble to put a roster together for tonight’s game against Pittsburgh because a few of his players are dealing with food poisoning.
During yesterday’s game against the Red Wings, both Ryan Johansen and Craig Smith were forced to exit early because of illness.
Now we know that the illnesses were caused by something the players ate (Poile believes it was chicken soup that caused this).
We still don’t know exactly how many players have been affected by this.
Playing two games in two nights is hard enough, but it sounds like it’ll be even tougher for the Preds tonight.
James Neal, Roman Josi and P.K. Subban are all fine, according to Brooks Bratten.
More details to come.