If Game 7 experience matters, the Washington Capitals won’t be lacking in that department against the New York Rangers Saturday night at Madison Square Garden.
As CSNWashington.com notes, this “will be the sixth Game 7 in the playoff careers of Alex Ovechkin, Brooks Laich, Mike Green, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Semin. For Caps veteran defenseman Roman Hamrlik, it will be his ninth career Game 7.”
Yesterday, Laich waxed rather poetically about how the Capitals need to approach Saturday’s winner-take-all affair.
“You can’t get froze up by the pressure or the intensity,” he said. “You just have to let yourself be free and enjoy it and then after that whatever you are, if you’re a skater, you have to skate, if you’re a shooter, you shoot.”
Laich added: “If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me? For I must be traveling on, now. Lord knows, I can’t change.”
The Caps are 2-3 in Game 7’s in what we’ll call the Alex Ovechkin era, but that losing record means nothing when you consider it was less than three weeks ago they went into Boston and beat the defending Stanley Cup champs in a deciding contest.
A veteran of almost 800 NHL games, Ehrhoff has not fit well with Los Angeles after signing a one-year, $1.5 million deal in August. The 33-year-old has just 11 points in 40 games and is a team-worst minus-10. Though he had two assists in last night’s 9-2 win over the Bruins, he also took a careless tripping penalty in the first period that led to a Boston goal.
In a related story, the Kings are rumored to be looking for help on the back end. In fact, they were reportedly quite interested in Dustin Byfuglien, before he re-signed with the Jets.
The Maple Leafs forward made the gesture while sitting on Toronto’s bench last night in Calgary, moments after he was laid out by Flames captain Mark Giordano.
The NHL first started cracking down on the throat-slashing gesture in 2000. Former NHLer Nick Boyton was suspended twice for making the gesture, first in 2006 then again in 2010. He was banned one game for each incident.
On Wednesday, the Blues activated forward Jaden Schwartz off injured reserve, after he missed the last 49 contests with a fractured left ankle. Schwartz is expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Blues take on the Panthers in Florida.
The 23-year-old should provide an immediate boost to the lineup. Schwartz had four points in seven games before getting hurt, and that came on the heels of a successful ’14-15 campaign in which he posted career highs in goals (28) and points (63).
The Blues’ first-round pick in 2010 (14th overall), Schwartz is a 17-18 TOI per night guy, so he’ll be a big presence almost immediately. His return also inches the team back to full health, though there’s still a ways to go — Alex Pietrangelo and Jake Allen are still week-to-week with knee and lower-body injuries, while Steve Ott is out until late February following hamstrings surgery.