Tale of the Tape: Rangers vs Capitals

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On Saturday, the New York Rangers will host the Washington Capitals in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal (3:00 pm ET, NBC). Here’s a look at recent history between the two clubs.

Leading scorers

New York: Brad Richards (2G-3A-5PTS) | Washington: Alex Ovechkin (2G-3A-5PTS)

Starting goalies

New York: Henrik Lundqvist (4-3, 1.70 GAA) | Washington: Braden Holtby (4-3, 2.00 GAA)

Nov. 25,2011 – Rangers 6, Capitals 3. This was one of Bruce Boudreau’s final games before he was relieved of his duties as the head coach of the Washington Capitals. After a scoreless 20 minutes, the Rangers came out strong in the second period. Marian Gaborik, Artem Anisimov, and Ruslan Fedotenko each scored a goal by 7:55 of the frame.

Washington battled back with goals from Troy Brouwer and John Carlson roughly four minutes apart in the second. That narrowed the Rangers lead to just one goal, but that’s as close as the Capitals ever got.

Ryan Callahan stood out with three assists in the contest and broke a streak of being handed a penalty in four straight games.

Dec. 28, 2011 – Capitals 4, Rangers 1. Washington got a bit of revenge a month later. Alexander Semin, who was just beginning to break out of an early season funk, led the charge for the Capitals with two goals. Alex Ovechkin recorded two assists as part of his season-high seven-game point streak.

On the Rangers end, Brandon Dubinsky was the only one that managed to beat Washington goaltender Tomas Vokoun. Ryan Callahan assisted on the goal to bring him up to four points in two games against the Capitals.

Feb. 12, 2012 – Rangers 3, Capitals 2. Alexander Semin netted another goal against the Rangers, but it wasn’t enough this time around.

New York’s Brandon Dubinsky had a big game with two assists and Brandon Prust’s shorthanded goal proved to be the game-winner. Ryan Callahan provided the first goal of the game to once again be a factor against Washington.

April 7, 2012 – Capitals 4, Rangers 1. With the Capitals still fighting for playoff positioning going into the final day of the regular season, it’s not surprising that they managed to win this contest.

Washington was hot out of the gate, with early goals from Alex Ovechkin and Mathieu Perreault. John Carlson got one past Henrik Lundqvist with the man advantage to give the Capitals’ a 3-0 lead going into the first intermission.

This was the first and only time that the Rangers faced Washington goaltender Braden Holtby in the regular season. They outshot the Capitals in every period, but Holtby made 35 saves to led the Capitals to victory.

Injuries

New York: Brian Boyle (concussion), Steve Eminger (ankle), Mats Zuccarello (wrist), Michael Sauer (concussion)

Washington: Tomas Vokoun (groin)

Devils give Jimmy Hayes a shot with PTO

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The New Jersey Devils have made dramatic moves to improve their forward group over the last few years, but even with Taylor Hall, Marcus Johansson, and Kyle Palmieri in the mix, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

With that and the Devils’ recent struggles in mind, it only makes sense for GM Ray Shero to be open-minded to “reclamation projects.”

Perhaps that will be the case with towering forward Jimmy Hayes, then. The Devils announced that the winger has been invited to training camp on a PTO.

Look, there’s no doubt that Hayes has frequently struggled to make a difference at the NHL level. Not that long ago, he broke a 35-game pointless streak.

Still, it’s probably fair to give him an incomplete grade instead of a failing mark from 2016-17. After all, there are only so many players who can produce much offense when they’re receiving 9:14 TOI per game.

Hayes went from averaging 15:09 per contest in his best season (2014-15, when he scored 19 goals for Florida) to 13:50 TOI with Boston in 2015-16 and then that new low last season.

So, no doubt about it, Hayes’ stock couldn’t get much lower.

We’ve seen fringe guys become valuable assets after getting clean slates, including with bigger forwards. Zack Kassian resurrected his career following some significant struggles, just to name a recent example.

The Devils could use another NHL-caliber forward, particularly with valuable center Travis Zajac slated to miss a chunk of 2017-18. Maybe Hayes can be part of the solution.

No need for Flyers to rush Nolan Patrick after injury-plagued year

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This post is part of Flyers day at PHT…

It wasn’t long before Nolan Patrick began lighting up the Western Hockey League.

Two years before he was even selected second overall by the Philadelphia Flyers, he had scored 30 goals in his first full season with the Brandon Wheat Kings. A year later, he had 102 points, vaulting him into the position as the likely No. 1 overall pick for the 2017 Entry Draft.

Dating back more than a year, however, Patrick has been sidetracked by injury.

He underwent sports hernia surgery last summer. He played in only 33 games for Brandon this past season and couldn’t play for Canada at the World Juniors. In June, just prior to his selection by Philly, he had another operation — an abdominal surgery, the Flyers later announced — with a window of four to six weeks before he could resume full activity.

The Flyers had only a 2.2 per cent chance of winning the first overall selection, yet they still made a massive move up the board when the lottery had concluded. The first pick would come down to Patrick or Nico Hischier, who worked his way into the conversation for No. 1 overall as his QMJHL season continued.

In the end, the lottery-winning Devils took Hischier and Patrick fell right to the Flyers.

In Patrick, the Flyers get a center that stands at 6-foot-2 tall and 198 pounds, and is capable of producing significant numbers offensively — at least that’s what he showed in junior. Even if his 2016-17 season was hampered, Patrick still managed 20 goals and 46 points.

“And then playing and not being a 100 percent. I didn’t play one game this year feeling [like] myself. I’ve got the summer to get where I need to be,” said Patrick, per CSN Philly.

“My skating was kind of bugging me throughout the season. I needed to get my conditioning back to where I wanted it to be. I did as much as I could, but I wasn’t pouting about it.”

Patrick turns 19 years old next month during training camp and will look to make the Flyers for this upcoming season. Given everything he’s dealt with over the last several months, it would be, despite the talent that made him a top prospect in the draft, unreasonable to place lofty expectations on him right away, as he makes the transition into the NHL.

Having him healthy and ready for camp is a good start, but there really is no need to rush him along, particularly if it’s at the expense of future gains.

“We’re looking at the big picture here,” said general manager Ron Hextall earlier this summer, per the Courier-Post. “We’re not looking at next season. We’re looking at hopefully the next 10 to 15 seasons. We will do what’s best for Nolan long-term.”

Report: College free agent Alex Kerfoot opts to join Avalanche

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The wait appears to be over.

College free agent Alex Kerfoot has reportedly made his decision, choosing to join the Colorado Avalanche, according to Darren Dreger of TSN.

The news comes days after it was reported the New York Rangers were among the finalists to land the Harvard product, which would’ve provided a boost in depth at center for that club.

The 23-year-old center was also targeted by the Vancouver Canucks, which is hardly surprising given Kerfoot is from that area and played his junior hockey in nearby Coquitlam.

Kerfoot, originally drafted by the New Jersey Devils, was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award this past season, after scoring 16 goals and 45 points in 36 games with Harvard.

He decided not to sign in New Jersey, becoming an unrestricted free agent on Aug. 15.

Islanders add Terreri as goaltending development coach

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The New York Islanders made a coaching move Wednesday, naming former NHL puckstopper Chris Terreri as a goalie development coach and goalie coach for the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

“Chris has a vast amount of knowledge and experience, both as a player and a coach,” said Islanders general manager Garth Snow. “We’re excited for him to work with our goalies at every level, as well as assist in our scouting process and to make his mark on this crucial position.”

Terreri appeared in 406 NHL games between 1986 and 2001, spending most of his career with the New Jersey Devils.

He then transitioned into coaching, spending the last eight years working as a goalie coach with the Devils.

Related: Under pressure: Jaroslav Halak